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 method teaches 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

Learn by Doing

The goal is consistent performance, replicating a dish until it becomes second nature. For example, Level 4 includes a “mock restaurant” where students rotate through all the stations of a classical French brigade. Each student presents four plates of each dish and is timed and tested by the chef.

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.

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

See information about college creditfinancial aid and scholarships.

Tuition Includes

  • Application fee, uniform, tool kit, books and supplies
  • "Family meal”(weekdays)
  • Student skills workshops in key areas such knife work
  • Chef demo series with volunteer opportunities
  • Carnegie Hall commencement with two guest tickets
  • Financial Aid and Career Service advising


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
4/20/2015-10/7/2015 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
5/18/2015-3/9/2016 6:00pm-11:00pm 9 months M, W, F $29,900
7/22/2015-1/14/2016 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
8/17/2015-6/8/2016 6:00pm-11:00pm 9 months M, W, F $29,900
8/20/2015-2/16/2016 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
10/1/2015-3/29/2016 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
10/21/2015-8/12/2016 6:00pm-11:00pm 9 months M, W, F $29,900
11/2/2015-4/16/2016 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900
12/2/2015-5/26/2016 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $35,900

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.

Level 3 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

You’ve made it through the midterm and are ready to tackle new challenges in the kitchen. Level 4 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

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:

  • The Village Pub
  • Cotogna
  • flour + water
  • Quince
  • Mayfield Bakery & Café
  • Spruce
  • Café des Amis
  • RN74
  • Dio Deka
  • Salumeria
  • Madera
  • Hay Market
  • The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
  • Michael Mina
  • Viognier
  • Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

Applicable fees are not included The International Culinary Center 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.

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