It’s not every day that you get to learn pastry from a former man of the cloth. Chef Kir Rodriguez spent 20 years as a Franciscan monk where he also taught high school music and Spanish literature. But this natural-born teacher couldn’t ignore the love of cooking he picked up at the monastery, so he enrolled in culinary school in 1998. Chef Kir’s kitchen philosophy speaks to his colorful background: Life is constantly changing, so flexibility, adaptability and improvisation are key ingredients to success. Now he’s a professional pastry chef, instructor and – on the side – a member of the New York Choral Society. Chef Kir joined the International Culinary Center in 2004.