Professional Culinary Arts Immersion: California

From basic knife skills through every station on the line, ICC’s trademark Culinary Arts course provides hands-on, real-world knowledge for you to succeed in a culinary career in just six to nine months. The course is divided in six 100-hour levels, explained in detail in our Level Chart below.

Essential Building Blocks

ICC was founded as The French Culinary Institute in 1984. Indeed, classic French techniques are the very foundation upon which all Western cuisines have been built—the knife skills, stocks and sauces, plating and pastry methods—and from which talented chefs can then improvise. Our Total ImmersionSM curriculum is organized into levels structured to prepare you for the pace and rigors of the restaurant kitchen. We teach you:

  • the French techniques of master chefs, along with the fundamentals of how to think about cooking
  • how to cook with diverse ingredients, from traditional vegetables, grains and proteins to specialty ingredients and game meats (including using the entire pig in your charcuterie class)
  • high-volume cooking, valuable for catering/buffet and a la carte businesses
  • the keys to assess food costs

Real Restaurant Experience

During the last two months of your training, you’ll put all the skills you’ve learned at International Culinary Center to the test during an externship in a restaurant. Our staff will work with students to find a suitable match where students can really cook the cuisine they’re passionate about. At the end of the externship, the chef will give our staff an assessment of our students, which we will translate into a grade.

Graduate at Carnegie Hall

After you finish all six levels, you receive your Grand Diplôme, a credential that is respected and recognized by the top establishments around the globe! The annual commencement ceremony takes place at NYC’s iconic landmark, Carnegie Hall. There, parents, friends and teachers as well as alumni will mark your achievement as they cheer on your class: the next generation of talents.

Find out about our legendary deans, small class size and alumni network here.

See information about college creditfinancial aid and scholarships.

Tuition Includes

  • 600-hour total program (400 hours on-site, 200 hours’ paid externship*)
  • 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio
  • Culinary Business workshops
  • Application fee, uniform, tool kit, books and supplies
  • "Family meal” prepared by students
  • Carnegie Hall commencement
  • Career Services counseling

*Only students authorized to work in the US will be paid for their externships.  


What You’ll Learn

The Professional Culinary Arts Work Experience curriculum is organized into four levels structured to prepare you for the pace and rigors of the restaurant kitchen.

course information
12-02-15 - 05-26-16 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
01-08-16 - 10-27-16 6:00pm-11:00pm 9 months M, W, F $29,900
01-19-16 - 07-11-16 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
05-02-16 - 10-19-16 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
05-18-16 - 03-15-17 6:00pm-11:00pm 9 months M, W, F $29,900

For more class dates throughout the year, please contact Rachel Thompson at

  • Level 1

  • Level 2

  • Level 3

  • Level 4


INTRODUCTION TO CULINARY TECHNIQUES Here the standards are set. You'll begin learning the techniques and discipline that will serve as the foundation, not just for your time in class, but for your entire culinary career. You'll become oriented with equipment and tools, and the brigade system of organization and teamwork, which is at the heart of every serious kitchen.

Learn to Cook:

  • Vegetables
  • Salads and vinaigrettes
  • Potatoes
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb

Additional Techniques:

  • Poach
  • Grill
  • Fry
  • Blanch
  • Glaze
  • Bake
  • Purée

Learn the Basics:

Knife Skills:
Learn which knives are best for which jobs, and proper care for them. Through talliage (cutting vegetables into even sizes and shapes), you'll learn different techniques, such as émincer (thin slice), batonnet (small sticks), brunoise (small dice) and paysanne (tile-shaped).

Food Safety:
General rules of hygiene as well as comprehensive food handling and safety issues for a kitchen environment. You’ll also gain the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification.

Ingredient Identification and Classification:
Use all your senses as you identify and classify a wide range of proteins, vegetables, starches, grains, herbs and spices.

Stocks and Sauces:
Learn how to combine humble ingredients, such as bones from chicken, beef, veal or fish, with aromatic vegetables and herbs to create brown, white, fish, marmite and vegetable stocks—and how to marry stocks with binding elements, such as starches and proteins, to create the five “mother” sauces: velouté, Espagnole, hollandaise, béchamel and tomato, as well many of their derivatives.

Food Preservation:
Brining, pickling, confit and dehydration used to prevent food from spoiling in pre-refrigeration days; today, we rely on these methods for the complex flavors they infuse into dishes.

Expand upon the knowledge you developed in Level 1 as you continue to practice cooking, butchering and knife skills. Your chef-instructors will encourage you to think critically about the composition of your plates—a skill that will be increasingly important as you move closer to cooking in L’Ecole.

Learn to Cook:

  • Veal
  • Game
  • Offal and Forcemeats
  • Eggs
  • Grains and Pasta
  • Doughs and Tarts
  • Mousses and Soufflés
  • Desserts
  • Crêpes
  • Tempered Chocolate

Additional Techniques:

  • Braise
  • Stew
  • Stuff
  • Truss

Lesson Topics Include:

Seasonality, Sustainability and Nutrition:
A modern chef needs to connect to the source of his/her ingredients, harnessing the optimal flavor of seasonal and sustainable products. Also covered: nutrition basics and the principles for healthy, balanced meals.

Cheese, Wine and Spirits:
Gain insight into the cheese-making process, as well how to classify a vast assortment of cheeses, sample, select and serve the correct portion size, along with how wine and spirits complement and enrich the dining experience.

Food Costing and Menu Planning:
For all the creativity that goes into being a chef, it’s essential to understand the financial health of your operation. You’ll learn about recipe development and costing, menu development and pricing, as well as how to determine the costs that go into food prep and service to make wiser business decisions.

Menu and Plating Design:
Explore how composition, garnishes, sauces and color add to the diner’s enjoyment of a dish. You’ll also spend time looking at the bigger picture, learning how aesthetic choices and practical issues factor into menu composition.

BUFFET, CHARCUTERIE, VOLUME COOKING AND SIMULATED RESTAURANT Level 3 is broken down into two sections, which will give you and your classmates the opportunity to continue to sharpen your techniques as you grow your skills in organization, time management and teamwork.

Buffet and Charcuterie:

  • Budget and Execute Themed Buffet for 50 Guests
  • Butcher a Pig
  • Buffet Includes:
    Companion Condiments
    Carving Station
    Side Dishes
  • Manage Station and Serve Guests

Additional Techniques:

  • Sous-vide
  • Low Temperature Cooking
  • Build on Butchery, Filleting and Boning

Simulated Restaurant Environment:

  • Make Complex Dishes in a Timely Manner
  • Rotate through All Stations—Garde-manger, Poissonnier, Saucier, and Patissier

SKILLS FOR CONSISTENCY AND REFINEMENT Level 4 introduces you to the organization of the French brigade, a system of kitchen organization prevalent throughout the restaurant industry. (Says graduate Bobby Flay upon first coming to cooking school, "I liked the kitchen. I liked the fact that it was a brigade. I liked the fact that I was accomplishing something.") Students are required to deliver dishes both on time and consistently to chef instructors. You’ll receive valuable feedback that can be applied to future lessons.

You’ll Rotate Through:

  • Garde Manger (salads and cold preparations)
  • Poissoner (fish and seafood)
  • Saucier (sauces and meat)
  • Pâtissier (pastry and desserts)

Dishes You’ll Make Include:

  • Sautéed Skate Wing with Brown Butter, Capers, Lemon and Croutons
  • Grilled Salmon with White Wine Herb Sauce
  • Beef Bourguignon with Fresh Egg Noodles
  • Pork Chop with Green Peppercorn Sauce
  • Cream Puffs with Chantilly Cream
  • Pots de Crème with Tuiles
  • Lemon Tart

EXTERNSHIP: Now comes the moment when you'll put all the skills you've learned to the test by cooking in a real-world setting: Your externship. The externship program will provide career culinary students with vocational experience in established restaurants in the food industry. Students will receive course credit and a grade for this mandatory externship segment of our Professional Culinary Arts with Work Experience program. You’ll be tested to adapt classic techniques to modern dishes, to interact with other cooks, and to take direction well. The chefs at your externship will be keeping a close eye on how efficient, clean, and well you cook. And by the end of the program, they’ll share an assessment of you with our staff, which will be translated into a grade.

CA Externship sites include:

  • Alexander’s Steakhouse
  • Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel
  • Bon Appetit @ Google
  • Boulevard
  • Chez TJ
  • Cockscomb
  • Delfina Restaurant
  • Gabriella Café
  • The Harker School
  • Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
  • Pebble Beach Company
  • Plumed Horse
  • Quince
  • Rich Table
  • Rosewood Sand Hill / Madera
  • The Village Pub
  • Wente Vineyards

business workshops

Knowing how to cook is one thing; understanding how to develop a business plan is another skill set. That’s why we’ve introduced a portfolio of online Culinary Business workshops, from business plan 101 to culinary careers outside the kitchen. Take one or all these optional offerings during your time at school or post-graduation to boost your business IQ. Click on current workshops below for more information. Workshops are scheduled in a rotation of topics, and are available online through the student/alumni portal.


Discover a broader scope of opportunities in the culinary world, from restaurants to specialty food stores to food trucks. Understand the measure of a successful food business including developing a concept, feasibility, organization, resources and tools.

This class provides the background, guidance and templates needed to start writing your own business plan—an essential document to secure funding and open a business. All phases and components of the business plan are covered, from executive summary and financials to market analysis and marketing.

Learn how to understand and use financial statements, including profit and loss statements, to build and scale your business. The class encompasses the basics of P&L statements, balance sheets, factors of revenue, types of expenses and financial definitions to help give you a firm grasp of the numbers.

An ICC graduate gives the keys to starting your own private chef enterprise. The class highlights business basics like billing, rates and expenses, as well as food sourcing, menu development and private event planning. Learn how to conduct business in a private home, impressing your clients while maintaining a sense of professionalism.

Learn about the importance of a beverage program and how it can be instrumental in the profitability of your food business. Wine list design, beverage program management, purchasing, costing and inventory are covered, along with the challenges and benefits of building a beverage program.

Aspiring chefs need to be as comfortable in front of the camera as behind a stove. Learn tricks of the trade from Executive Chef of the Food Network (and ICC grad), Robert Bleifer, now Adjunct Dean of Food Media at ICC.

Join Irene Hamburger, Vice President of Blue Hill and Blue Hill of Stone Barns for a Marketing 101 Workshop. Irene will discuss how to develop an identity and establish key relationships. This is a great introductory Marketing course for all students interested.

Learn about the importance of a wine program and how it can be instrumental in the profitability of your food business from Scott Carney, Dean of Wine Studies at ICC. Topics include wine list design, program management, purchasing, costing and inventory along with the challenges and benefits of building a beverage program.

Develop your craft.  Learn about recipe development from inspiration through to the various testing methods that make sure your recipe works every time from Executive Chef of the Food Network (and ICC grad) Robert Bleifer.

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter...FOOD is one of the hottest things on social media. Whether you are promoting yourself as a chef or restaurateur, your restaurant, or just yourself as an excellent human, you need to know what motivates people to engage on social media. Learn how to use these platforms for building your brand from the founders of the wildly popular restaurant-reviews-by-the-people site and app The Infatuation.

What is branding and why is it so important? Douglas Riccardi of MEMO—New York City-based design studio specializing in restaurant branding and marketing—outlines the foundations of branding and the 5 keys to developing a robust brand identity.

The ICC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The full-time day program is open to enrollment by M-1 nonimmigrant students. In accordance with US Department of Education requirements, the International Culinary Center discloses certain educational, labor, and financial statistics related to this program. View disclosure for daytime and evening schedules.

Interview with David...

An interview with Dean David Kinch in the San Jose Food Blog.   "I had the honor of watching Chef...  Read More  

Featured Video

ApplY to ICC Now
Apply Now