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.
- 600-hour Diploma program (400 hours on-site, 200 hours’ paid externship*)
- 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio
- Culinary Business workshops (online)
- Application fee, uniform, tool kit, books and supplies
- "Family meal” prepared by students
- Carnegie Hall commencement
- Career Services counseling
Nearby housing is offered at both campuses. Housing fees are separate from the cost of program tuition.
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*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.
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:
- Salads and vinaigrettes
Learn the Basics:
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).
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.
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.
BUILDING CULINARY FOUNDATIONS
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:
- Offal and Forcemeats
- Grains and Pasta
- Doughs and Tarts
- Mousses and Soufflés
- Tempered Chocolate
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 AND VOLUME COOKING You’ve made it through the midway point and are ready to tackle new challenges in the kitchen! Level 3 is comprised of two volume-cooking 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.
- Budget and Execute Themed Buffet for 50 Guests
- Pork Shoulder Fabrication
- Charcuterie: Sausages, Pate, Galantines, Balantines, Gravlax, Head Cheese
- Companion Condiments
- Platter Design and Presentation
- Manage Station and Serve Guests
- Action Stations Day
- Professionalism Workshop
- Preparing Daily “Family Meal” for Students and Staff using creative license, while practicing techniques learned to-date
- Seasonal and International Dishes
- Meal Planning
- Portion Sizing
- Kitchen Math Skills
SKILLS FOR CONSISTENCY AND REFINEMENT Level 4 introduces you to the French brigade, a system of kitchen organization prevalent throughout the restaurant industry. Students are required to deliver dishes both on time and consistently to chef-instructors. You’ll receive important feedback that can be applied to future situations.
You’ll Rotate Through:
- Garde Manger (salads and cold preparations)
- Poissoner (fish and seafood)
- Saucier (sauces and meat)
- Pâtissier (pastry and desserts)
- Low-temperature Cooking
- Build on Butchery, Filleting and Boning
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
- Chez TJ
- Delfina Restaurant
- Gabriella Café
- The Harker School
- Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
- Pebble Beach Company
- Plumed Horse
- Rich Table
- Rosewood Sand Hill / Madera
- The Village Pub
- Wente Vineyards