ICC Distinguished Alumni Christina Tosi, Bobby Flay, David Chang and Dan Barber

Culinary Spotlight: ICC’s Trailblazing Alumni

International Culinary Center’s more than 15,000 alumni are making headlines around the globe in cities big and small, working in virtually every facet of the culinary industry, including restaurants, management, catering, food styling, business, TV, publishing and more. Some of our trailblazing alumni include pastry innovator Christina Tosi, Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef Bobby Flay, restaurateur David Chang and farm-to-table activist Dan Barber.

Christina Tosi: Chef, Owner and Founder of Milk Bar

You may know ICC Pastry Arts alumna Christina Tosi as one of the newest judges on Fox’s MasterChef and MasterChef Juniors, but this rising star has been making waves in the culinary industry since graduating from the International Culinary Center in 2004.

 ICC Pastry Arts Alumna Christina Tosi

When restaurateur (and fellow ICC alumnus) David Chang hired Tosi to write the food safety plan for his restaurant Momofuku, Tosi impressed Chang so much that he ended up hiring her as his pastry chef. At the time, there were no desserts on the Momofuku menu—something Tosi would soon address by founding Momofuku Milk Bar in 2008.

Named “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country” by Bon Appétit magazine, Milk Bar is the sister bakery to the Momofuku restaurant group and provides baked goods for six retail locations (with another opening soon) as well as other restaurants in the Momofuku group. As the founder of Momofuku’s dessert program, Tosi helped Momofuku Ko earn two stars from the Michelin Guide and Momofuku Ssäm break into Restaurant Magazine’s list of the top 100 restaurants in the world.

In 2012, Tosi received the James Beard Rising Star Chef award, and she was a finalist for the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award in 2014—an award she went on to win in 2015. In addition to being an award-winning professional chef and television personality, Tosi is also a published cookbook author. Her first book, Momofuku Milk Bar, was met with widespread praise and paved the way for her second book, Milk Bar Life.

Tosi and Milk Bar have been featured on television shows and in publications around the world, including The Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Conan, The New York Times, Vogue, Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Bobby Flay: Chef, Restaurateur and Television Personality

“Every day I cook in my restaurants, I’m using techniques that I learned at ICC. Every day. And I always will for the rest of my life.” – Bobby Flay

 ICC Culinary Arts Alumnus Bobby Flay

Celebrity chef and serial restaurateur Bobby Flay graduated from ICC’s very first class in 1984. Since then, Flay has gone on to open multiple restaurants (including Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, Bobby Flay Steak, Gato and Bobby’s Burger Palace) and appear on countless cooking programs and specials on Food Network and Cooking Channel, including:

  • Beat Bobby Flay
  • Bobby’s Dinner Battle
  • Boy Meets Grill
  • Brunch at Bobby’s
  • Emeril Live
  • Grill It! With Bobby Flay
  • Iron Chef America
  • The Best Thing I Ever Ate
  • The Main Ingredient with Bobby Flay
  • The Next Food Network Star
  • Throwdown! With Bobby Flay

Flay has won three Emmys for his shows Boy Meets Grill, Grill It! With Bobby Flay and Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction. In June 2105, Flay became the first chef to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The accolades don’t stop there. In addition to multiple Emmy wins and nominations, Bobby Flay was named the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year in 1993 and received the James Beard Foundation’s National Television Food Show Award in 2005. In 2007, Flay was featured in the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, and he went on to be inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013.

David Chang: Restaurateur, Author and Television Personality

“One of the biggest pros that the International Culinary Center has is its network of alumni and restaurants.” – David Chang

 ICC Culinary Arts Alumnus David Chang

Restaurateur and innovator David Chang is perhaps best known as the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, which includes the NYC-based Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Milk Bar and Má Pêche, as well as restaurants in Australia and Canada.

A best-selling cookbook author, Chang also publishes a quarterly food magazine called Lucky Peach, which he created with former New York Times writer Peter Meehan. Contributors to the publication include Anthony Bourdain, Christina Tosi, Wylie Dufresne, Ruth Reichl, Harold McGee and Daniel Patterson. When he’s not opening restaurants or publishing books, Chang appears on television programs such as HBO’s Treme, Top Chef: All Stars, MasterChef Australia, and the 16-part PBS series The Mind of a Chef.

Since graduation from ICC’s Culinary Arts program in 2001, Chang has won multiple awards and accolades, including maintaining 2 Michelin Stars for Momofuku Ko:

  • 2009-2015 Two Michelin Stars for Momofuku Ko
  • 2013 James Beard Outstanding Chef
  • 2010 Named one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine in the Time 100
  • 2009 James Beard Best New Restaurant for Momofuku Ko
  • 2008 James Beard Best Chef New York City for Momofuku Ssäm Bar
  • 2007 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • 2007 Bon Appétit Chef of the Year
  • 2006 Food & Wine Best New Chef

Dan Barber: Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns

ICC Culinary Arts graduate Dan Barber has always been an advocate for sustainable agriculture and the connection between farm and table. His writings on food sustainability, agricultural policy and the farm-to-table movement have been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine and Saveur, among other publications. Appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition by President Barack Obama, Barber has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the effects of everyday food choices.

 ICC Culinary Arts Alumnus Dan Barber

Barber’s views on the connection between local, sustainable farm systems and great tasting food come to life at his Blue Hill restaurants. Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns feature local food and wine selections whose ingredients come from local farms that respect timeless artisanal techniques (including Blue Hill Farm and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture). Both Blue Hill restaurants have received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in the U.S.

In 2002, Barber was named one of the “Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine. He also received the James Beard Best New Chef: New York City award in 2006 and the Outstanding Chef award in 2009. Time Magazine named Barber as one of the world’s most influential people in the Time 100 in 2009.

Barber went on to partner with International Culinary Center to create the Farm-To-Table extension of their Professional Culinary Arts program. ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table program builds upon students’ foundational chef training by connecting it to the beginning of the food chain. By exploring how food is grown, raised, packaged and distributed, students gain a better understanding of how quality ingredients make it to the kitchen and are equipped to make informed choices for their own dishes.

A loyal ICC alumnus, Barber also likes to hire ICC graduates for his own food businesses.

Join ICC’s Trailblazing Alumni Today

The road to success begins with a first-rate education from a world-class culinary school. The International Culinary Center’s award-winning Total Immersion curriculum and intensive, fast-track programs prepare graduates with the skills and credentials they need to forge their own path in the culinary industry. And with more than 15,000 alumni making headlines in nearly every facet of the culinary industry, ICC is well-connected and will work with you throughout your career. To learn more about how ICC can help put you on the path to professional success, please complete the form on this page.

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Culinary Arts Career Information

Are you interested in a culinary career? Many people dream of a career in culinary arts, but don’t know how to get into this exciting field. If you have contemplated following your dream to build a career in culinary arts, the International Culinary Center has a roadmap through which you can build your culinary career. The following details some of the fields our alumni are working in, and possible culinary career paths for ICC graduates:

Culinary Career as a Chef

Professional chefs and cooks prepare food in restaurants or other dining establishments. An executive chef supervises other culinary workers and is responsible for running the kitchen, and in some cases, the entire establishment. Other cooks who work under the executive chef may be an assistant or have a specific title as a grill or prep cook. Also working under executive chefs, line cooks—reported by the New York Times as one of the positions in the culinary industry in highest demand—can have the opportunity to work their way up the culinary ladder, moving up to sous chef, to chef de cuisine, to executive chef and, for some entrepreneurs, to chef-owners.

Culinary Career as a Bakery or Pastry Chef

If you have an entrepreneurial and creative spirit, running a bakery or pastry shop is a perfect culinary career. Baking for birthdays, weddings and other special events, or just everyday indulgences as part of the neighborhood – there is a large market for specialty-baked goods. Many graduates of the ICC Professional Pastry Arts program go on to open their own pastry shops across the country, along with working in top restaurants.

Culinary Career as a Food Stylist

When you look at a picture of food in a magazine or a steaming plate on your favorite cooking show, you aren’t just looking at the latest recipe created on the fly. These are actually carefully constructed, highly appealing visuals of food.

In a culinary career as a food stylist, you would arrange a meal on a plate and prepare the food to make it look its best. In short, food stylists are the artists of the culinary world and may work as freelancers, with photographers, food magazines, advertising agencies, cookbook publishers or cooking shows.

Culinary Career as a Caterer

From smaller boutique parties to large-scale events such as weddings, caterers typically cook for large numbers of people for a specific occasion. Many operate their own small business, and provide the menu creation and food at various off-site venues.

Culinary Career as a Personal Chef

Personal chefs — also called private chefs — are increasing in popularity, especially in larger cities. As a professional private chef, you typically serve a small number of clients, preparing meals and small catered events following the client’s specific preferences and dietary needs. Most private chefs prepare a week’s worth of food at a time, creating meals that can be frozen and then later prepared by their client. Other chefs who work with one client, creating fresh meals daily.

Becoming a private chef has the potential to be one of the most financially rewarding careers in culinary services, especially if you find a niche servicing higher-end clients. Almost all private chefs work for themselves.

Culinary Career in Corporate Dining

Corporate dining rooms with best-in-class food are increasing in popularity from banquet to high-end executive level services.

Culinary Career as a Nutritionist

A nutritionist combines culinary skills with a background in science to learn how the body reacts to certain nutrients in food. Many nutritionists present their services to clients similar to private chefs, although nutritionists offer more consulting and teach their clients meal preparation for dietary needs.

Many nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree, but this is not required to practice in the field.

Culinary Career in Restaurant Management and Food Businesses

Restaurant management combines the creativity of culinary arts with business acumen. There is a wide range of possible careers for graduates of ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program, including running your own food establishment, starting a gourmet Internet enterprise, launching a specialty food product, etc.

Choose Your Culinary Career – Choose ICC

No matter what your specific interest may be, an amazing culinary career is waiting for you. Consider everything that interests you, in addition to your passion for food, and you can find your niche. Explore available Professional Culinary Pastry and Management programs at the International Culinary Center and launch your career today or complete the form on this page to request more information.