Professional Pastry Arts: California
Be on your way to becoming a pastry chef, cake designer, baker, chocolatier, sugar artist or other rising pastry professional in as little as six months. Under the the guidance of Dean Emily Luchetti, our Total Immersion teaching method, comprised of 600 hands-on, instructional hours, provides the training you need to realize your pastry dreams.
600-HOUR PASTRY ARTS PROGRAM AT A GLANCE (HOVER OVER TIMELINE):
Your introduction to the professional kitchen: basic doughs that comprise the "families" of cookie types.
Tarts and Pies
Learn the basics of pastry components by mastering classic tart and pie doughs, along with sweet and savory fillings.
Pâte À Choux
Practice techniques of mixing, piping and baking this dough to further sharpen your skills and build toward more complex desserts.
Master the various techniques to perform turns and folds that are vital steps to create this laminated dough.
Learn basic mixing methods to yield different cake styles, as well as classic buttercreams to be used as fillings and frostings.
Bread and Viennoiserie
Understand the mechanics of organic leavening, from pre-ferments to complex, laminated doughs.
More ambitious cakes, mousses and advanced decorating using fondant and marzipan are achieved at this level.
Refine many of the techniques taught earlier in the program to create these bite-size, beautiful presentations.
Measure your ability to multi-task several recipes, as you are evaluated by chef-instructors on the completion of a finished product.
Begin with a general lesson on chocolate production, selection, structure and tempering of chocolate.
Individual Dessert Basics
Draw from your knowledge thus far—and your imagination—to present classic, signature plated restaurant desserts.
Mold fruit and other shapes out of marzipan, make and work with pastillage and nougatine, and form your own sugar-paste flowers.
Learn advanced chocolate techniques used for dipping and molding candies and bonbons, as well as constructing your own inventive chocolate sculptures.
Pour, pull and blow hot sugar to make exquisite decorations.
Engage in one of the most impressive projects for aspiring pastry chefs: the 3-tiered wedding cake.
Individual Desserts Advanced
Learn the steps to complex and dynamic plated desserts, planning and executing an original menu for an outside audience.
Show off all of the pastry skills you’ve learned at ICC to a panel of professional guest pastry chefs, who critique your work and offer valuable feedback.
Why Choose ICC?
ICC combines core classical pastry techniques with the keys to becoming a dynamic, modern professional pastry chef, unlocking students’ creativity. What makes ICC’s professional program a standout:
- Signature instruction puts you in the kitchen from day one.
- 600 hours of class time, generous kitchen space and support.
- Low student-to-teacher ratio.
- 140 hours of advanced chocolate and sugar work.
New subjects such as pies, entremets, coffee, wine, gluten-free baking and elements of design join modern techniques such as sous-vide and hydrocolloids.
HIGH-CALIBER, FAST-TRACK LEARNING
ICC has trained such creative professionals as James Beard Award winner Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, Nick Bonamico of Bouchon and Rebecca DeAngelis of Babbo. From spun sugar to three-tiered wedding cakes, ICC’s highly respected pastry program prepares students for a lasting career. An extensive “Chef Demo” program featuring luminaries like ICC Dean Jacques Torres and Guest Master Chef Ron Ben-Israel provides both instruction and volunteer opportunities.
“You get a great foundation for your own creativity.” –Pastry Arts graduate
A PASTRY PREVIEW: WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
A pastry chef must be ready to handle any project on any given day. From understanding the precision of chocolate tempering to achieving the perfect rise and crumb in a génoise (warm foam cake) to pulling hot sugar into delicate flowers and ribbons, our accomplished chef-instructors will help you blend technical skill with artistry.
You begin by learning the fundamentals of pastry components, then build on this knowledge with more complex recipes. The focus then shifts to individual showpieces and plated desserts, using advanced techniques. Along the way, you’ll encounter “culinary math”—food costing, baker’s percentage, portion yields—to boost your business acumen.
After completing the levels (outlined below), you receive your Grand Diplôme, a credential that is respected and recognized around the globe! The annual commencement takes place at NYC’s iconic Carnegie Hall, where parents, friends and instructors mark your achievement as they cheer the next generation of talents.
A SCHOOL FOR CULINARY ENTREPRENEURS
Knowing Pastry Arts 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 to round out your education. See more below.
- 600 hours diploma program
- 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio
- Application fee, uniform, tool kit, books and supplies
- "Family meal” prepared by Culinary students
- Culinary Business workshops (online)
- 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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Your introduction to the professional kitchen is the basic doughs that compromise the "families" of cookie types.
BUILDING BLOCKS YOU'LL LEARN
- Dropped, Piped, Rolled, Molded and Bar Cookies
- Flooding Technique
THE ITEMS YOU MAKE INCLUDE:
- Vanilla Crescents
- Checkerboard Sablée
- Royal Icing
- Measuring and Precision: The successful execution of any pastry recipe requires knowing how to properly scale ingredients and portions.
- Tools of the Trade: How to handle the tools commonly used by pastry chefs.
- Food Safety: General rules of hygiene as well as comprehensive food handling and safety issues for a kitchen environment. You’ll also gain the valuable National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification.
Learn the basics of pastry components by mastering classic tart and pie doughs, along with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. These will serve as the building blocks of future, more complex pastries. Focus techniques include knife skills, dough rolling and piping.
Building Blocks You'll Learn
- Pâte Brisée
- Pâte Sucrée
- Pâte Sablée
- Fruit Compotes
- Almond Cream
The Items You Will Make Include:
- Tarte aux Pommes
- Galette Flamande
- Tarte au Ganache Chocolat
- Caramel Apple Streusel Pie
- Mise en Place: Learn the best way to proceed in a kitchen—by having all processes arranged and complete.
- The Art of the Perfect Crust: Make various crusts with classic pastry doughs—pâte brisée (and its American counterpart, pie dough), pâte sucrée and pâte sablée—noting their differences by mixing methods and ratios of flour, butter, sugar and liquid.
- Fillings to Create More Complex Desserts: Various fillings—almond cream, pastry cream, ganache, meringue, fruit compotes—are essential components in making not just tarts, but a full range of desserts, such as éclairs, Danishes, almond croissants, cakes and plated desserts.
Pâte à choux or choux paste, is a unique dough used to make such pastries as éclairs, cream puffs and gougères. Practicing the techniques of mixing, piping and baking this dough will further sharpen your skills and give you yet another component for making more complex, dramatic desserts.
Things You'll Learn
- Pâte à choux
- Caramel as Decoration
- Glazing with Pâte à Glacer and Icing Fondant
The Items You Make Will Include:
- Coffee, Chocolate and Vanilla Éclairs
- Gâteau Saint-Honoré
The Items You Make Will Include:
- Dough basic: Understand the chemistry behind the method for preparing this cooked dough, as well as the correct timing and technique for consistent results.
- Crème Pâstisserie: Learn additional variations of classic pastry cream as well as how to flavor and combine with other components, such as meringue and praline paste.
- Piping: Learn the basics of piping as you make Paris-Brest, profiteroles and other shaped pastries. This is groundwork for the more delicate, intricate piping necessary that comes later in the program
- Construction: Begin with your first edible showpiece, a classic French croquembouche, a pyramid of profiteroles fastened with caramel.
This flaky, multi-layered pastry has been inspiring French bakers for centuries. At once crunchy, tender and light, its buttery goodness is hard to resist. Master the various techniques to perform turns and folds that are vital steps to create a laminated dough.
The Items You'll Make Include:
- Cheese Straws
- Tarte Tatin
- Three Classic Methods: Explore the classic, inverse and quick methods of creating puff pastry and determine which to use for each application.
- Shaping and Finishing: Twisting cheese straws into shape, rolling and cutting palmiers, glazing and decorating a napoleon with a two-toned marbleized glaze are examples of the techniques you'll learn.
The complexities of cake are divided into three units in the program. Begin by learning basic mixing methods to yield different cake styles, as well as classic buttercreams to be used as fillings and frostings. As you learn more types of cakes and fillings, more ambitious cakes can be achieved. An impressive project for aspiring pastry students is the 3-tiered wedding cake, part of the last cake unit. Cake decoration naturally accompanies each recipe, providing opportunities for glazing, frosting and piping.
Things You’ll Learn
- Foam-based and Butter-based and Hybrid Cakes
- French, Swiss and Italian Buttercreams
- Rolled Fondant
- Sugar Paste Flowers
The Items You'll Make Include:
- Carrot Cake
- Bûche de Noël
- Charlotte Royale
- Génoise Cake
- Chocolate Tropical Fruit Entremet
- Cake Mixing Methods: Learn the basic génoise, the cornerstone of many classic preparations. Create cakes using liquid-fat, creaming and hybrid methods, discovering how each method generates unique qualities of density, crumb, moistness and taste.
- Egg whites: Beaten egg whites are essential to create a wide variety of cakes, fillings, frostings and desserts. Learn and practice with different meringues in several applications.
- Frostings and Finishes: Produce several types of finishes and even more variations on the fillings. You will work with a variety of confections, from marzipan to fondant—both as a finishing encasement for a layered cake and as a decorating tool.
- Decorating techniques: Stenciling, piping, sugar paste flowers, chocolate curls and marzipan fruits and flowers are just a few of the decorations you’ll execute.
Learn the mechanicals of organic leavening, from pre-ferments to complex, laminated doughs. Perform shaping exercises to master numerous bread presentations.
- Laminated Doughs
- Pre-Ferment Doughs
- Enriched Doughs
- Chemically leavened breads (quick breads)
The items you'll make include:
- Pecan Sticky Buns
- Leavening Methods: Explore the world of organic leavening and how it relates to mechanical and chemical leavening, gaining a wider understanding of production complexities that come with each.
- Yeast and Pre-ferment Formulas: Whether using a straight-dough method or one of the pre-ferment methods (sponge, polish or autolyse), you will exercise your hand at mixing, shaping and baking breads from around the globe.
- Quick Breads: Explore how various mixing methods can be used to create quick breads, using chemical leavening.
Refine many of the techniques taught earlier in the program to create these bite-size, beautiful presentations. Learn the various styles of petits fours and practice the techniques of portioning and decorating for consistent products.
Items You'll Make Include:
- Types of Petits Fours: You will make Sec (dry), Frais (fresh) and Moulleux (soft) styles of petits fours, and determine the strengths of each.
- Hand Skills: Because petit fours are small in scale and served in groups, consistent execution is very exacting. Crafting diminutive versions of familiar pastries will give you practice in hand skills and refine your ability to turn out identical products in large quantities.
- Visual Skills: An essential part of a pastry chef’s talent lies in design--knowing how to plate a dessert in a visually appealing manner. This unit will be your first exposure to plating, with several opportunities to practice arranging an assortment of the petit fours, taking into account shape, size and color.
- Taste: As you practice composing service platters for your petit fours, you will be encouraged to think about flavor. You’ll evaluate how the flavors of individual petit fours pair with one another and build upon these findings when you eventually create your own.
This deep-dive into chocolate will graduate in complexity and expose you to the challenges of working with chocolate and how to handle them like a pro. Chef-instructors will start you off with a general lesson on chocolate production and selection. You will move on to learning about the structure of chocolate and the tricky science of tempering melted chocolate for dipping candies and bonbons, as well as constructing your own creative chocolate sculptures. And finally, you will practice using chocolate to make cakes and plated desserts.
Items You'll Make Include:
- Peanut butter nougat
- Chocolate-Dipped Butter Caramels
- Sensory evaluation and critical thinking: Begin the process of assessing flavor, texture and “mouthfeel” of different chocolates and determining how to use and pair each with other ingredients. You’ll evaluate the varieties of chocolate and decide what chocolate profiles will result in a desired effect.
- Tempering: Practice each of the five ways to temper chocolate, beginning with the traditional three methods of tabling, seeding and ice bath and later incorporating the Mycryo® and partial-melting methods.
- Decorations: Learn how to make templates to cut shapes out of poured chocolate, mold chocolate, apply patterns to the surface using transfer sheets, techniques (such as wood grain, piping and marbling), add color with cocoa butter, air brush and luster dust. Marry these techniques to design and craft a chocolate box, a candy dish and a themed display piece.
- Dipping and piping: Ganache-filled bonbons, soft caramels, cherry cordials…just a few of the confections you will dip and decorate with chocolate. Gain experience with evenly and thinly coating your candies and learn tactics for creating smooth, unblemished surfaces and neatly piped lines.
Working with sugar requires time, patience, a fastidious attention to details and a stylish flair. Sugar—in all its mediums—is perhaps the most essentially artistic skill you will learn in pastry school. Because of its hygroscopic (water-attracting) nature, it can be temperamental and tricky to maintain, but this simple ingredient is used for making many of the embellishments and adornments crafted by pastry chefs. In two units, one basic and one advanced, you will learn how to mold fruit and other shapes out of marzipan, make and work with pastillage and nougatine, form your own sugar paste flowers and pour, pull and blow hot sugar to make exquisite decorations.
Skills You Will Master
- Sugar Paste Flowers
- Marzipan Fruit
- Pastillage Showpiece
- Poured, Pulled and Blown Sugar
What You'll Learn
- Color application: In each sugar section, practice applying color to product, using methods as simple as kneading color into sugar paste or pastillage to create base colors, or as complicated as painting intricate patterns on flowers. Learn to evaluate the different effects produced by these techniques and how you want to employ them in your own creations.
- Hand-skills and artistry: Cutting, pouring, molding and shaping are just some of the opportunities you will have to prove your hand skills and sharpen your eye for design. With your classmates, you will construct projects, such as an individual showpiece entirely from sugar, or the cake stand and favor boxes you will cut out and shape from pastillage.
An individual dessert synthesizes many pastry techniques into one composition. A pastry chef must draw from all his or her knowledge—doughs, fillings, chocolate or sugar work—to present a complete, single-portion creation. You will learn this over two levels, one basic and one advanced. Eventually, you’ll plan and execute an original menu for an outside audience with your classmates, giving you a view of restaurant kitchen organization and testing your ability to work effectively as a team in with time restrictions.
What You'll Learn
- Sous-Vide Technique
- Ice Creams
- Fried Batters
The Items You'll Make Include
- Crêpes Suzette
- Tropical Fruit Soups
- Contemporary Tiramisu
- Deconstructed Black Forest Dessert
- Classic Desserts: Well-known desserts such as crème brulee, cheesecake and beignets are the building blocks of more challenging creations. You will execute these favorites, which are simple in idea, but not so simple in versatility and execution.
- Conceptualization: Creating a dynamic dessert requires understanding how to balance flavors, textures, temperatures and aesthetics. Learn how to incorporate modern techniques and ingredients into the classic recipes you have already learned. These will be constructed—and deconstructed—to reveal why they are successful.
- Menus and Seasonality: Explore the regional seasons of fruits and vegetables to prove the significance of using products at their peak. Learn how seasonality affects both a kitchen’s bottom line and its flavor profiles, crucial as you develop and present a dessert menu and concept.
- Working as a Team: Because of their complexity, plated desserts are well-suited to fine-tuning your kitchen command, communication and real-world timing. You’ll need to know when to ask for help and when to give it, how to make a plan and how to alter it on the fly, in order to reach the common goal.
- Restaurant Modules: To be a success in the industry, you must have an understanding of important secondary subjects such as gluten-free and vegan desserts, food costing, tea, coffee, wine and cheese.
Two major exams, the midterm and final, measure your comprehensive knowledge and execution.
- Midterm: This unit provides three separate exams: a written exam; a production evaluation, which measures your ability to multi-task several recipes; and a practical exam, where you will be evaluated on the completion of a finished product.
- Final: The final comprises both a written and practical final exam and is the culmination of everything you’ve learned in the 600-hour program. All of your pastry skills will be utilized as you mix, bake, proof and dip the items from categories assigned to you for evaluation, plus design and execute the display stand from sugar, chocolate, nougatine and/or pastillage. Your chef-instructors will evaluate your work habits and executions. Guest pastry chefs will critique the quality of your final products based on taste, texture and design, providing feedback that will serve you well beyond graduation as you embark upon your career.