culinary wellness month

Culinary Wellness Month – May Programming

In order to set yourself up for personal and professional success, it’s important to care for your mind, body and spirit. That’s why this month, we’re turning our attention to health and wellness in the culinary industry. Like any profession, working in kitchens and restaurants has its own occupational challenges. At ICC, we strive to prepare our students for their future career—that means providing them not only with the technical skills to excel in the kitchen, but also the tools to take care of their body and mind for a long, healthy career.

There are so many different ways to promote a healthy lifestyle, and we’re excited to bring you just a small sample of things to incorporate into your daily life that will improve your overall well being. We’ll kick off the month with a deep dive into one of the world’s healthiest foods—extra virgin olive oil. This year, the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition returns to the International Culinary Center where 18 judges will analyze hundreds of olive oils from around the world to determine the best extra virgin olive oils for 2019. Following the competition, ICC’s sold out Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Courses begin, teaching olive oil evaluation, production, chemistry, food pairing and sensory assessment. In a special demonstration & tasting designed specifically for chefs, ICC students and alumni will have the opportunity to learn about the many health benefits of olive oil and how to discern quality oils, plus how to pair certain olive oils with food to elevate flavor.

Then, we’ll explore the healing power of food with Chef Hiroko Shimbo through a demonstration of Shojin Ryori—the healthful, time-tested, and highly-respected vegetarian cuisine of Japan—and have the chance to taste and experience how this traditional cuisine promotes wellness in both mind and body. Later in the month, we’ll host two on-site workshops for current ICC students to learn how to take care of their body and mind through simple stretches, strength development and breathing exercises that can be incorporated pre- or post-kitchen shift. Read more about our Culinary Wellness month events below and follow us throughout the month for tips on how to start healthy habits at any stage of your career!

Olive Oil Tasting & Food Pairing: What Every Chef Needs To Know
Tuesday, May 7th | 3:30-5:00pm | ICC Amphitheater

olive oilWe’re kicking off our Culinary Wellness month with a tasting of one of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet—extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is among the world’s healthiest foods and it can elevate the flavors of dishes to new heights. On May 7th, Curtis Cord, publisher of Olive Oil Times and executive director of ICC’s Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program, will teach you how to tell if an oil is good or not and define what he believes every culinary professional should know about this important ingredient.

Curtis will be joined by Chef Perola Polillo—ICC graduate and culinary instructor in ICC’s Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program—who will demonstrate how pairing certain extra virgin olive oils with foods result in new taste experiences. The afternoon workshop will also include a tasting of some of this year’s top-rated olive oils, as ICC hosts the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition during that week.

Open to ICC Students & Alumni ONLY. RSVP is required as seating is limited. Please email to RSVP.

Wellness in Japanese Cuisine: Shojin Ryori Demonstration
Wednesday, May 15th | 3:30-5:00pm | ICC Amphitheather

hirokoWellness is the state of being healthy in both mind and body. In order to achieve this state, you’ll need to do more than simply drink kombucha, eliminate excess carbohydrates from your diet or consume protein powder for convenience. In this demonstration for our Culinary Wellness Series, Chef Hiroko Shimbo will introduce and illuminate Shojin Ryori, the healthful, time-tested, highly respected vegetarian cuisine of Japan.

This thousand-year-old cuisine can be a guide to the starting point of understanding our relationship to “us” – our minds and bodies; it guides one to understand why we eat, what we choose to eat, how to prepare our food and how to show our respect and appreciation to nature. Chef Hiroko will demonstrate how to make representative Shojin Ryori dishes including vegetarian dashi stock, goma-dofu (a savory tofu-like sesame cake) prepared in two ways and sesame dressed seasonal vegetables. You’ll also have a chance to taste this traditional Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine and experience firsthand how food can heal the mind and body.

Open to ICC Students & Alumni—no RSVP required.
Limited seating available for the general public by RSVP only. Please email to RSVP.

Taking Care of Your Body & Mind: Strength Development for Chefs
Wednesday, May 22nd | 3:15pm-3:45pm OR 4:00pm-4:30pm | Room 505

five pointsAs you develop your culinary or pastry skills in our kitchens, we also want to help you prepare your mind & body for your professional careers. On May 22, join us for an exclusive hands-on class with Five Points Gym of NYC as part of our Culinary Wellness month. During this unique event, they’ll teach us about the art of Indian Club Swinging—a popular type of exercise used to develop strength with lightweight bowling-pin shaped wooden clubs. Learn from the experts to incorporate these swinging & rotation exercises into your daily routine—you’ll gain the tools to develop your strength for the kitchen and incorporate it into your post shift recovery methods. Students will be asked to participate in physical activity—please wear loose comfortable clothing to work out in like sweat pants & t-shirts. Limited space is available, please RSVP in advance to secure your spot in one of the following 30 minute sessions.


Two 30-minute sessions available:

Session 1 (3:15pm-3:45pm) | 15 student max

Session 2 (4:00pm-4:30pm) | 15 student max

Open to Current ICC Students ONLY due to limited capacity.
Students must RSVP to with your full name, current program & level, as well as your preferred timed session.