Why Go to Culinary School?

Hello, and welcome to the International Culinary Center!  I’m guessing you share my passion for food or wine (or both), and some of you are considering a career in this wonderful world.

There are a lot of questions swirling around the topic of education these days, and what is worth the investment. Some people feel they can jump headlong into the industry and work their way up.  As you might imagine, I feel a culinary education is extremely valuable.

Here are my top five reasons:

1) To be a professional in the kitchen, you need to master techniques—the correct techniques. We don’t simply teach you how to cook; our chef-instructors teach you how to think about cooking. That’s a major difference. Some of today’s great chefs, including Bobby Flay and Dan Barber, worked in professional kitchens, then came to school here, realizing an education would round out their knowledge. Our grads often move up the kitchen ladder quickly, getting promoted above coworkers without a culinary diploma from a reputable school.

2) We gradually introduce you to the professional life of a chef. Standing on your feet for eight hours a day is a challenging task if you are not used to it, as is the fast pace of the kitchen. How to dress, how to stand, how to take care of yourself physically and mentally, is all-important. You are a part of team…you do not put out 80 dinners–you put out 2, then 4, then 2, then 6 dinners.  That demands organization and timing.  That is professional cooking. Our school is rigorous, but students who really want to do it can do it, and there are lots of student services to help along the way. For the past decade, our graduation rate is 90% or higher*.

3) Our award-winning curriculums build confidence. They are constructed to layer your education, building technique upon technique. You are in the kitchen on day 1. At the end of month one, you will have been introduced to more than 100 techniques. Also, we understand that people absorb information differently; our chefs are trained to relate to different learning styles. Their mission is to make every student successful.  We believe in you, at times maybe more than you believe in yourself.  Watching students beaming with a sense of achievement as they cross the stage at Carnegie Hall to get their diploma is beyond gratifying as a founder.

4) We offer networking and placement services throughout your career. With our Total Immersion programs, you are ready to leave our nest and work in the industry after just months. Our career services advisors help identify which type of business best suits your individual talents and aspirations, tapping into our extraordinary alumni network of 15,000+ built over the past 30+ years spanning restaurants, catering, media, management and more. Just think, one day, you too will be part of the network and can attend our Career Fairs to recruit students from ICC!

5) Enter a growing industry with the smarts to succeed. We are preparing you for a future in this world. With technology changing every aspect of life, have you noticed how IPads are replacing waiters and computers are creating food pairings? Becoming a “thinking chef” who can adapt to future tastes and technologies, while keeping the focus on delicious food, gives you a valuable spot in the kitchen that can’t easily be replaced by a robot. Innovation often begins with a craft, and that is what a culinary school can do for you! Whether your goal is to be a chef, a food journalist, to work in food policy or a wide range of other related fields, you need to understand ALL of the skills it takes to be a chef. The ICC is dedicated to educating and creating leaders, not just doers. That’s why I feel so strongly that a culinary education is essential for someone who is serious about their life’s work being in the culinary arts.

You’re on the brink of an important decision—one that can change the trajectory of your life. We’ve shared our wisdom, educating a generation of chefs whose success makes us proud every day. We hope to do the same for you, and can’t wait to see you in our kitchens.


Dorothy Cann Hamilton

Founder & CEO



*Graduation rate is based on 6,879 students graduating out of the 7,539 students available for graduation included in the 2006-2015 annual reports submitted to ACCSC for the ICC’s professional culinary, pastry, bread, cake design and sommelier programs.