February is Perfect Pairings Month at ICC!

Who said that Valentine’s day was limited to romance? We think the “month of love” can mean so much more! So instead, we’ve curated our events this month to be all about the “perfect pairing.” From collaborations between culinary and pastry chef-instructors to exploring flavor pairings with chocolate and liqueur, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this month. Plus, bring your favorite “sous chef” to find your perfect pairing at ICC—learn how you can save $100 on a one-day recreational class with the ICC Cooking Pass!

We’ll begin the month with a special collaboration between our culinary and pastry departments. ICC Chef-Instructor’s Danielle Fonalledas and Kir Rodriguez team up to tackle seasonal ingredients in a challenge to combine their culinary and pastry skills into an epic 3-course menu. Then “Mr. Chocolate” himself, Chef Jacques Torres, joins us for National Chocolate Lovers month with a chocolate & liqueur pairing demonstration of 3 different types of bonbons—a dark, milk and white chocolate—and the ‘spirited’ fillings that go along with them. If you’re still looking for the perfect “date night” for Valentine’s Day, join us for our hands-on cooking class with Chef Danny Mena—Mexican Favorites: Tortilla Soup, Mole & More on Thursday, February 13th!

Check out the event details below to see how you can find your perfect pairing at ICC this February!

Perfect Pairings: Seasonal Menu Challenge

Wednesday, February 5th

perfect pairings

Ever wonder what happens when two ICC Chef-Instructors team up for a demonstration? In this Perfect Pairings: Seasonal Menu Challenge, ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor Kir Rodriguez and ICC Culinary Chef-Instructor Danielle Fonalledas join forces to execute a three-course menu pairing various seasonal flavors, like kumquats. They’ll demonstrate how you can create a cohesive, multi-course meal that highlights the range of different ingredients in savory and sweet applications.

Together with a combined experience of over 20 years, your ICC Chef-Instructors will share how a tasty menu can be developed and executed when culinary and pastry forces unite. Gain insight into their process of menu development and how they worked together to pair seasonal flavors to develop a show-stopping menu with star-ingredients.

No RSVP required for students & alumni.
Limited seating available for the general public. RSVP to to attend.

Mexican Cooking: Tortilla Soup, Mole & More!

Thursday, February 13th

Mexican Cooking

ICC’s newest one-day cooking class, Mexican Favorites: Tortilla Soup, Mole & More is just around the corner! Join Chef Danny Mena, ICC graduate and chef-owner of La Loncheria in Brooklyn, on February 13th for a flavorful introduction to cooking with mole and other warming chiles found in traditional Mexican cuisine. In this hands-on class, you’ll learn to make three classic dishes and the signature sides to accompany everyone’s favorites, including how to make handmade tortillas!

Plus, you can save $100 on a one-day, hands on recreational class for two when you purchase an ICC Cooking Pass for you and your Valentine. Purchase your ICC Cooking Pass here and register for this class today! (Offer ends Feb 14th, Cooking Pass is valid until 12/31/2020).

Perfect Pairings: Chocolate & Liqueur with Chef Jacques Torres

Wednesday, February 19th

jacques torres

February is National Chocolate Lovers Month and who better than Jacques Torres, ICC’s Dean of Pastry Arts and “Mr. Chocolate” himself to demo the perfect chocolate and liqueur pairings!

Join us on February 19th for an exclusive demonstration with Chef Torres as he demonstrates 3 different types of bonbons—a dark, milk and white chocolate—and the ‘spirited’ fillings that go along with them. From champagne, red wine and port to rum, cognac and kirsch, the flavor combinations are endless! Learn how pastry chefs use liqueurs in their kitchens to bring out the flavor of their confections and balance desserts. Plus, Chef Torres will demonstrate how to make a chocolate box for your bon bon display adorned with, what else, chocolate decorations!

No RSVP required for students & alumni.
Limited seating available to the general public. RSVP to to attend.


8 Ways to Increase Your Wine Knowledge at ICC This Fall

Whether you’re serious about pursuing a career as a Sommelier, looking to enhance your wine knowledge, or need a crash course in tasting basics, there are a number of opportunities this fall to pursue your wine studies at ICC. From one-day classes for new wine-lovers, to professional development courses for the established Sommelier and enrichment tastings for Intensive Sommelier Training students, check out all the ways you can learn, and taste, about wine & spirits this fall!

Please note, students & event attendees must be at least 21 years of age to participate in these classes or tastings.


Off the vine elevating hospitality through wine
Off the Vine: Elevating Hospitality Through Wine
Thursday, September 26 | 6:30pm-8:00pm

Join us for Off the Vine: Elevating Hospitality Through Wine on 9/26 with wine industry professionals Anna-Christina Cabrales (GM & Wine Director of Morrell Wine Bar) and Jerry Cox (Sommelier at Le Coucou) to discuss how sommeliers can maximize their value in restaurants. We’ll explore the role of sommeliers as ambassadors of hospitality—both on and off the restaurant floor—and how it’s evolving with the use of social media. In addition, we’ll discuss how sommeliers are driving taste trends both in service, and as wine list curators, and the outcomes of such change. Plus, they’ll share professional words of wisdom that every sommelier should know, such as the do’s and don’t(s) of service! Come with your questions—there will be an open Q&A with the panelists following the discussion, and the opportunity to network with other professionals.

Looking to break into the industry? You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you pursue your wine career.

Wine pouring
One-day Wine Uncorked Class
Saturday, October 12 | 12:00pm-3:00pm

Enjoy a Saturday afternoon opening up the world of wine in a lively and rewarding fashion. In this one-day class, we’ll outline wine-making traditions of the Old World and compare this sensibility with the extroverted can-do attitude of New World oenology. You’ll learn to taste and describe wine just like the professionals, and discover what you prefer as your go-to vino! Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to taste wines under the guidance of a Certified Sommelier. It’s the perfect way for beginners and wine lovers to build confidence in tasting wine!

sommelier student
Intensive Sommelier Training Program
October 3 – December 13 | Mon-Fri, 10:00am-2:00pm
October 29 – March 9 | Mon-Wed, 6:00pm-10:00pm

In as little as 10-weeks, our Intensive Sommelier Training program provides aspiring professionals with the in-depth expertise required to succeed in the wine industry through a combination of lectures, tastings food pairings and service techniques. Students learn how to taste and evaluate 300+ wines—valued at more than $10,000—from around the world and, upon completion of the course, have the option to take, on-site, the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations. With lessons in viticulture and oenology to tasting and service instruction taught exclusively by Master Sommeliers on staff, you’ll become skilled in advanced sensory evaluation and service techniques.

sherry barrel
Certified Sherry Wine Specialist Seminar
Thursday, November 14 | 3:30-6:00pm

Lustau, maker of top quality Sherries, presents a brand new wine certification available to all wine students and industry professionals: the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. Offered by Lucas Payà, Certified Sherry Educator and Lustau’s Brand Educator, this brief course offers Intermediate Level study material that has been reviewed and approved by the Regulatory Council of Jerez. This 2.5-hour class includes instruction on the history, geography, climate, viticulture, wine-making, and wine styles in addition to pairings and service techniques. In addition, students will be guided through a tasting of 6 wines including all the basic styles (Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Dulce). At the end, students will take a short test, graded after the course to award the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist recognition to those with a passing score.


*Limited space available. Must be a current student of alumni of the school. Please RSVP to*

Médoc Wine Tasting with Dewey Markham
October 7 | 3:00pm-5:00pm

Please join us for a seminar on Médoc wines with Dewey Markham on Monday, October 7th from 3-5 pm at the International Culinary Center, 28 Crosby Street—5th floor (505 classroom). Mr. Markham is a leading Bordeaux expert, acclaimed author, and industry veteran, and will guide attendees through a tasting of 5 wines.

Diplomático Rum Tasting and Food Pairing
October 10 | 3:30pm-5:00pm

Join us on October 10th for a tasting and food pairing with Diplomático Rum, one of the finest rums in the world. Diplomático has been producing rum in Venezuela since 1959 and is now distributed in over 80 countries. Bringing their knowledge of distillation to ICC, they’ll share the history, process, production, craft and ingredients that go into producing their premium spirits. We’ll be guided through a tasting of three different Diplomático rums: Reserva Exclusiva, Single Vintage 2004, and Ambassador, as well as a discussion of how to pair rum with food.

white wine in glasses
Vinho Verde: Monção and Melgaço
Wednesday, November 6 | 3:30pm-5:00pm

Join us for a lecture and tasting on Vinho Verde wines with Bruno Almeida, passionate Sommelier and Portuguese native. Vinho Verde is the biggest DOC of Portugal, up in the cool, rainy, verdant northwest.  Vibrant freshness, lightness, and aromatic & flavorful expressions are the characteristics that define and differentiate Vinho Verde. The seminar will focus on the Monção & Melgaço sub-region, birthplace of the Alvarinho varietal and will give you insight into the natural conditions of the region, the viticulture and winemaking, the main varieties and wine profiles from Monção & Melgaço that are well worth discovering.

White Wine in glasses
Alto Adige Wines with May Matta-Aliah
Thursday, November 11 | 3:30pm-5:00pm

Join us for a lecture and tasting on Alto Adige wines with the brilliant May Matta-Aliah.  May holds a WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits and is a Certified Wine Educator with a focus on France, Italy, and Spain.  While she has a dizzying list of diplomas and certifications under her belt, May’s passion is what makes her lectures amazing.  She is an ambassador for the Trentino Alto Adige region of Northern Italy, and her enthusiasm here is readily apparent!


elevating hospitality through wine

Off The Vine: Elevating Hospitality Through Wine

OFF THE VINE, brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, is a series of discussion panels and networking events designed to support wine professionals in the beverage industry. Each event provides education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

How Sommeliers Have Become Ambassadors of Hospitality

Thursday, September 26th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

The importance of service is not an unfamiliar concept to the world of Sommeliers. In fact, organizations like the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas® have long been responsible for setting a global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry. While standard service techniques and proper mise-en-place remain the same, the role of service in hospitality continues to evolve and Sommeliers are being asked to expand with it. As ambassadors of hospitality, Sommeliers must adapt to take service beyond the bottle to fit the needs of today’s customer.

So how can sommeliers stay relevant in this changing industry?

In our next Off the Vine panel, we’ll sit down with wine industry professionals Anna-Christina Cabrales (Certified Sommelier—General Manager & Wine Director of Morrell Wine Bar) and Jerry Cox (Advanced Sommelier—Sommelier at Le Coucou) to discuss how sommeliers can maximize their value in restaurants. We’ll explore the role of sommeliers as ambassadors of hospitality—both on and off the restaurant floor—and how it’s evolving with the use of social media. In addition, we’ll discuss how sommeliers are driving taste trends both in service, and as wine list curators, and the outcomes of such change—think the rise of natural wine or the stunted appearance of varietals like Pinot Grigio! Plus, they’ll share professional words of wisdom that every sommelier should know, such as the do’s and don’t(s) of service, balancing wine knowledge with guest experience, and how to provide customers with the information they can’t get from a Google search! Come with your questions—there will be an open Q&A with the panelists following the discussion, and the opportunity to network with other professionals.

Looking to break into the industry? You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you pursue your wine career.

Light refreshments will be provided.


nikki palladino
Nikki Palladino, Certified Sommelier, ICC Wine Program Coordinator

Nikki Palladino joins her alma matter as ICC’s newest Wine Program Coordinator. Nikki began her career in publishing, earning a certificate in Books & Digital Magazine Media from NYU’s SPI Program.  Thereafter, she secured a Juris Doctorate from Villanova University School of Law – clerking for a judge and working for a legal consulting firm in Manhattan.

After traveling to Napa, however, she was drawn to the vine and decided to shift her career focus to hospitality. After graduating from ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training Program, Nikki joined B&B Hospitality Group, where she worked first as a Server at La Sirena and eventually as a Sommelier, at beloved neighborhood spot, Lupa. More recently, Nikki worked as Head Sommelier at the seafood staple Oceana, in Midtown.  While at Oceana, Nikki was featured in Food & Wine Magazine and was responsible for purchasing wines for the Italian portion of the List.

She is a member of Women of the Vine and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas®.


Anna Christina Cabrales
Anna-Christina Cabrales, Certified Sommelier
Beverage Director and General Manager of Morrell Wine Bar

Morrell Wine Bar Beverage Director and General Manager, Anna-Christina Cabrales brings a wealth of wine and culinary experience to her position. Growing up in a large family of chefs, Anna’s love of food and wine led her to the International Culinary Center where she received a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts and graduated from the first Intensive Sommelier Training program. Since joining Morrell in 2012, Anna-Christina has expanded the by-the-glass selection to, at one point, more than 150 wines. Her efforts have been recognized and awarded by The World of Fine Wine in 2014 naming Morrell Wine Bar’s glass list “Best by-the-glass Wine List” and the 2015 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for growing the bottle list well over 1,200 selections. Outside of work, she enjoys her time dining and enjoying wines from the regions of Champagne, Northern Rhone, Bandol and Burgundy.

Jerry Cox, Advanced Sommelier
Sommelier at Le Coucou

Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jerry graduated from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University with a degree in Marketing. After college, he spent a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying culinary arts at Gato Dumas Colegio de Gastronomía. In 2013, he moved to NYC where he began working at Colicchio & Sons. Jerry enrolled in ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program in the spring of 2014, passing the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas’ Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations upon completion of the program. After several months of travel in 2015, which included a stage at a B&B in the Loire Valley, Jerry returned to NYC in 2016. Shortly after, he began working as a Sommelier and opening member of the Le Coucou team. Since opening, the team has achieved such accolades as the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Jerry passed the CMS Advanced Sommelier Examination in July of 2019.


Celebrate Bastille Day With French Cooking at ICC This July!

In celebration of Bastille Day this July, we’re looking back at our days as The French Culinary InstituteTM with a whole month of programming dedicated to honoring French cuisine and culture, as well as our founding as FCITM. Join us for two demos and tastings this July that celebrate everything we love about French culinary techniques, food and wine, as well three hands-on one-day cooking classes to get you mastering the art of French cooking yourself!

Observe the masterful Chef Jacques Pépin, Dean of Special Programs, in his La Techniques demonstration to learn the fundamental knife skills every good cook must know. Experience the art of pairing through a tasting of Rosé wines and regional French cuisine from our Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert. Plus, be sure to register for our French Culinary Institute hands-on one day classes offered all month long!

Check out the event details and classes below & register to attend!


Tour de Rosé: Demo and Food Pairing with Chef Hervé Malivert
Wednesday, July 24 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

ICC’s Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert, will showcase some of the best food and wine from France! We’ll travel through France, right in the heart of NYC, to taste regional dishes from around the country. You’ll watch the steps to creating delicious French classics, then enjoy the dishes paired with rosé wines from the same region! We’ll taste from well known regions, like Provence and Champagne, as well as Languedoc-Roussillon. Plus, don’t miss Chef Hervé’s surprise pairing where we will explore a lesser known region as well!

Open to current ICC students and alumni, RSVP required. Limited seating for the general public may be available with an RSVP to

Chef Jacques Pepin
La Technique with Chef Jacques Pépin
Wednesday, July 31 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Join us for an exclusive demonstration with ICC’s Dean of Special Programs, Chef Jacques Pépin, as he shares the fundamental techniques to improve your knife skills.

Open to current ICC students and alumni, no RSVP required. Limited seating for the general public available with an RSVP to


Saturday, July 13 | 10am- 2pm

Learn how to make the perfect baguette! Get hands-on in mixing, fermenting, folding and shaping your dough with Old-World techniques before scoring and finishing it in the oven.  Then, take home your skills to get that rich, chewy texture, the aroma and the satisfying crunch of the crust in your own kitchen.

Saturday, July 13 | 3:30-7:30pm

Learn how easy it is to make marvelous madeleines—those elegant and distinctively shell-shaped French cakes—and the ever-popular classic French macaron (Gerber or macaron en français using almonds, meringue, buttercream and ganache). The result: delicate, delicious creations in bright, bold colors.

FCI French Classics: Soup De Poissons & More
Saturday, July 20 | 10:00am-2:00pm

Escape to the South of France In this installment of our French Classics series. You’ll learn the secrets behind Soupe de Poissons à la Marseillaise—four different fish in a broth fragrant with saffron and Vichysoisse, the classic potato-leek soup. And for the grand finale, you’ll learn to make your own crèmes caramel.

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. 

off the vine: uncorking today's trends in wine

Off The Vine: Uncorking Today’s Trends in Wine

OFF THE VINE, brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, is a series of tastings, discussion panels and networking events designed to support wine professionals in the beverage industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.


Wednesday, May 8th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

The world of wine is constantly evolving!  While rich with history and often rooted in ancient tradition, wine is anything but static. This multi-billion dollar business continues to change, challenging established, and aspiring, wine professionals to stay on the cutting edge of today’s trends and rising regions.

Join us for a lively conversation exploring a range of emerging trends creating buzz in the wine industry today. Elizabeth Smith, Wine Program Coordinator at ICC, will be joined by two of NYC’s top sommelier talents—Master Sommelier Alexander La Pratt and Advanced Sommelier Theo Lieberman—to get their insight on what’s in vogue, what’s here to stay and what’s just a fad. We’ll talk about everything from the rise of sparkling, natural & orange wines and indigenous grapes, to the effects of climate change and changes in consumer behavior. Plus, hear predictions from experts at the forefront of the industry on the future of these trends and what’s to come! Come with your questions—there will be an open Q&A with the panelists following the discussion, and the opportunity to network with other professionals. Don’t miss this chance to discover how today’s hot topics are evolving and how you can utilize them to your advantage on the floor, in sales, and more.

Looking to break into the industry? You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you pursue your wine career.

Light refreshments will be provided.


Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth Smith, Certified Sommelier, ICC Wine Program Coordinator

Elizabeth Smith is the Wine Program Coordinator at ICC, where she assists in running the Intensive Sommelier Training program and coordinates the Court of Master Sommeliers AmericasTM Introductory and Certified Exams.  She also teaches ICC’s introductory wine classes, and organizes extracurricular wine lectures and tastings.

Elizabeth began her career at Food & Wine magazine, and spent 8 years in various sales, marketing, and business insights roles at F&W and American Express.  In 2016 she decided to take her love of wine to the next level, graduating ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program, followed by a happy year at Astor Wines and Spirits.  Elizabeth is a CMS Certified Sommelier and is currently pursuing her WSET Diploma in Wine.

She is a passionate lover of wine and food, and documents her culinary adventures on Instagram @in_vino_glorias.


Theo Lieberman, Advanced Sommelier
Head Sommelier, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Theo Lieberman has worked in the New York City food and wine business for nearly a decade. Beginning in the cocktail industry, Theo worked alongside Sasha Petraske at Milk & Honey, and then went on to become the Head Bartender and General Manager. He then moved on to serve as Head Bartender at Eleven Madison Park.

While working in fine dining, he discovered a deep love of fine wine, which he has continued to pursue as the Head Sommelier of Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. He has been named one of America’s “Best New Sommeliers” by Wine & Spirits Magazine as well as Zagat’s “30 under 30.” He is the Co-Founder of Thunder Mountain Consulting and is currently pursuing the Master Sommelier Diploma through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

alex lapratt
Alexander LaPratt, Master Sommelier
Beverage Director & Co-Owner at The Atrium, ICC Intensive Sommelier Training Instructor

While many sommeliers have paid their dues as waiters or captains, few have donned a chef’s jacket in a professional kitchen. Alexander LaPratt is an exception. No stranger to working with renowned chefs dedicated to the quality of their restaurants’ wine cellar and service, Alexander has held positions as Chef Sommelier for renowned Chef Jean-Georges; Sommelier for Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin; Head Sommelier at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne; and the first ever Cellar Sommelier at Thomas Keller’s renowned French Laundry. In 2014, Alexander then went on to become the 217th person to ever pass the coveted Master Sommelier exam. Today, Alexander is co-owner and Beverage Director of Atrium DUMBO and Beasts & Bottles, and an adjunct instructor for the International Culinary Center’s Intensive Sommelier Training program.

Throughout his career, he’s received many accolades for his achievements including the title of “Best Sommelier in America” at the 2011 American Sommelier Association competition; 2nd overall in the 2011 Chaine des Rôtisseurs Best Young Sommelier National Finals; winner of the 2nd Annual StarChefs Somm Slam; Wine & Spirits Magazine “Best New Sommelier 2011”; and represented the United States of America in the 2013 Best Sommelier of the World Competition in Tokyo, Japan. Read Alex’s full bio here.

design in pastry

Defining Design in Pastry

By Valeria Pinto, 2019 Pastry Plus Next Gen Winner

One of the most important elements of pastry is the design and execution behind it. Throughout time, pastry chefs have been pushing the boundaries to create desserts that not only look beautiful, but tell stories about who they are and what they feel. At this year’s Pastry Plus Conference at the International Culinary Center, pastry chefs Francisco Migoya and Eunji Lee shared how their experience, background, and creativity impact the ideation process behind any of their creations. They discussed how different elements such as aesthetic, flavor, personal experience and new technologies all play important roles in the creation of their sweet results.

designFrancisco Migoya, Head Chef at Modernist Cuisine in Seattle, explained his thought processes when coming up with new ideas for a pastry. He highlighted how patterns are one of the most important aesthetic elements to think about. Thinking how things work as a group, rather than on their own will help any pastry chef be more creative. Francisco reaffirmed that imperfection in pastries can be very beautiful, and that traditional patterns can be offset by more asymmetrical ones to create different stylistic effects. In his passion fruit dessert, he positions each individual square in a different direction that doesn’t follow a specific pattern. This creates new shapes and shadows in the piece as a whole.

yuzuOn a different note, Francisco talked about thinking outside the box of how an ingredient can be represented in a pastry. Years before, he had created a Yuzu dessert in the shape of a Yuzu fruit, which he later realized was too big of a portion and not easy to share. When remaking this dessert, he thought about the letter Y and all the possible meanings it could stand for. It stands for Yuzu, but can also be interpreted for words such as Why or Yes, or any other personal connotation to it. Francisco mentioned how the actual shape of the letter Y lends itself to be shared, which is the purpose of most pastries. Thinking about shareability and typography can elevate the design and experience someone has with a dessert.

design moldsThe pastry chef panelists also discussed the importance of new technologies such as 3D printing in the process of developing an idea for a pastry. This technology opens up opportunities for unique collaborations between pastry chefs and 3D modelers, designers and artists like never before. By using techniques such as casting, 3D modeling and printing, and 3D scanning, artists and designers can work together with chefs to make their creations edible. Aside from these specific technologies, there are also increasing amounts of molds that open up new ideas for pastry chefs. Finding ideas for the molds you want to design does not have to come only from other pastries, but from unexpected places like tiles, walls, art, and everyday objects that are not associated directly with pastry. They concluded this topic by asking: “Or why use a mold at all?” as there as endless ways to use kitchen and organic objects to create a new pastry or concept.

bread dessertEunji Lee, Pastry Chef at Jungsik in New York, described how she goes from inspiration to the execution of her desserts. At Jungsik, she has a dessert tasting menu that integrates the 3 most important elements of pastry creation in her life: identity, seasonal ingredients and visual appearance. She mentioned how living in Korea and France both shaped her identity, and how now living in New York has brought new opportunities for her to get inspiration from. Eunji is inspired by traditional Korean shapes and symbols. However, her pieces are modern, clean and visually intriguing. She gives priority to seasonal ingredients in order to have the best availability for fruits and vegetables, along with the freshest flavors. For spring, she created a Bread and Butter dessert. One of the techniques she uses most is deceiving her eaters to think they are eating one thing, and having a surprising seasonal flavor on the inside.

banana'In another dessert, she uses a custom mold to create a banana and coffee dessert with a pastry shaped like an actual small banana. Her intentional use of color, design and element of surprise creates an unforgettable experience for anyone who tries her desserts. Eunji explains how she always starts with the flavors or ingredients she wants for her dish, inspired by her identity and the places she has lived in. Then, she develops an idea to render it in a new, unexpected way that will make the dinners experience the flavors differently.

Both Eunji Lee and Francisco Migoya agreed that inspiration for a dessert can come from unexpected places. For beginners, the best way to get better is to replicate while always giving credit to the sources of your ideas. Once you develop your own style, the most important thing is to make your own vision a reality and have fun with it. Francisco asked the audience: “Why go into such a beautiful career to go and do the same thing [as others]?”

Pastry design is going into new and exciting places with 3D printing, a wide variety of silicone molds and a new trend towards organic flavors and intentional uses of design. Both panelists agreed that color should be used deliberately and not out of wanting to represent the entire color wheel. Elements such as shareability, postion, asymmetry, inspiration from unusual objects, exploration of world flavors, and purposeful use of color can help a pastry chef explore all the possibilities in pastry design. There are no limitations to what you can create when you understand your identity and what you want your customers to experience.

good france festival

Celebrating French Cuisine in NYC

At the International Culinary Center, we love any excuse to celebrate French food and wine—we were founded as the French Culinary Institute after all! So this March, we were thrilled to participate in the Goût de France festivities with the French Consulate as they expanded the Official Good France Day, March 21st, into a 4-day festival celebrating la cuisine Provençale all around New York.

From March 20-23, New Yorkers had the chance to experience a taste of Provence with a spotlight on the region’s best chefs and its iconic dishes. ICC was proud to host the educational series of the Goût de France festival on Thursday, March 21st (the Official Good France Day worldwide) with a full day of hands-on classes, workshops and a celebratory reception.

Throughout the day, attendees learned about the incredible ingredients of Provence and how they could use them in their own kitchens. Below, learn what these seven featured chefs taught our attendees and find the recipes for their French classics to create at home.

On the morning of March 21st, 24 eager attendees gathered to create one of the most iconic dishes of Marseille— bouillabaisse. Chef Serge Devesa, Executive Chef of the Loews Regency in NYC, taught the secrets behind creating his perfect seafood stew.

A native of Marseille, Chef Serge has been cooking French, Asian and Caribbean cuisine for over 30 years. His bouillabaisse recipe is said to be one of the best in the country, and participants were lucky enough to learn how he’s been creating it for decades. Seemingly simple tricks like asking your fishmonger for the bones of the fish you’re purchasing were divulged, as well as incorporating fish stock to your rouille sauce to add a punch of flavor to your dish. For Chef Serge’s iconic bouillabaisse recipe, click here.

chef herveAfter Chef Serge’s hands-on class, cooking class attendees, ICC students & alumni and community guests were treated to three demonstrations throughout the day. First up, our very own Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert, demonstrated how to make a delicious snack from Provence—panisse! Panisse is a fried chickpea flour cake straight from the south of France and served best with a glass of rosé in the summer months, or paired with heavier dishes in colder months.

panisseChef Hervé stressed that when you’re cooking the batter, it is vital that you cook off the chickpea flour to avoid having a raw flour flavor. This cooking time will vary, but you’ll be able to tell when the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the pan and the starchy flavor has dissipated. Chef Hervé paired his dish with a delicious aioli & tapenade. You can recreate this snack from the South of France using his recipe here.

olivierFollowing Chef Hervé’s demonstration,  Chef Olivier Reginensi, Corporate Executive Chef of Maison Kayser, NYC taught attendees how to make a traditional soup from Provence—Pistou! Pistou is a healthy spring soup with onion, garlic, tomato, pasta and pesto, perfect for the rainy days of April & May.

Interestingly enough, you’re not supposed to make Pistou soup with chicken or vegetable stock for a few reasons. For one, it is supposed to be a cheap soup that is filling, and shouldn’t require purchasing stock. In addition, it also allows the fresh flavors of the vegetables to be showcased in the soup. Chef Olivier stressed paying attention to the different vegetables when cooking as cook times vary. For instance, the cranberry beans that are essential to the soup take 15 minutes to cook, while the zucchini would be too soft if you cooked it in the soup for that long.

saint victors navettesTo pair with his Pistou soup, Chef Olivier also made Saint Victor’s Navettes. The texture of these sweet, mini baguettes reminded some of biscotti. When making Saint Victor’s Navettes, it’s important not to skimp on the orange blossom—a key ingredient in these mini treats. Find Chef Olivier’s recipes for Pistou soup and Saint Victor’s Navettes here.

Rounding out the day of educational workshops, Chef Florian Hugo—cookbook author & chef—joined the ICC community to create one of the most widely recognized French dishes, Ratatouille, along with a sugary dessert, Chichi-Fregi, that was not to be missed. Unlike Pistou soup, where the vegetables are can be alternated depending on what’s available and in season, ratatouille must be made with a few key ingredients: tomatoes, onion, garlic, eggplant, red pepper and zucchini.

ratatouilleAfter enjoying Chef Florian’s perfectly plated ratatouille, he treated attendees to a sweet finish—chichi-fregi. Chichi-fregi is a fried, light & airy doughnut that is rolled in sugar and commonly served as street food. They are similar to beignets found in New Orleans, but with an orange blossom twist for added flavor. Find both of his recipes here.

To conclude the day, Chef Jean-Louis Dumonet, President of the Maître Cuisinier de France-North American Chapter, Chef Jean-Louis Gerin, President of the Academie Culinaire de France-US Delegation and Chef Sébastien Baud, Chef of the Consulate General of France-NY featured signature dishes from Provence in passed canapés and glasses of Rosé provided by Château D’esclans.

New York’s Consul General of France, Anne-Claire Legendre, ended the night with a speech that was a perfect conclusion to the day of festivities. As she said, “When you think of Provence, you think of long lunches by the sea, fantastic landscapes and a long swim in the sea.” By bringing the five events to ICC, attendees were able to feel just that in the heart of NYC.


Women’s History Month: The Legacy of Our Founder

Since the early 1980’s, Women’s History Month marks a time to recognize, honor and celebrate the achievements of women around the world throughout the month of March. There are so many prevalent women in the world of food to thank for shaping the culinary and hospitality industry as we know it today. To acknowledge the importance of this month—not just as Women’s History Month, but also as the 35th Anniversary of the school’s founding and our annual Founder’s Day celebrations—we are proud to pay tribute to the life and legacy of our Founder, Dorothy Cann Hamilton. The everlasting effect she has had on both the school and the food industry can still be felt today. Below, learn about the legacy of Dorothy and use her spirit as your guiding light as you begin your new career.

In 1984 across America and the world, everything was changing. Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered space walk, while Steve Jobs sold the first Apple Macintosh computer to the public back on Earth. President Ronald Reagan defeated Walter F. Mondale with 59% of the popular vote, and as many of the achievements of men were being widely recognized, a culinary revolution was beginning on the corner of Broadway and Grand street. This would later give way to culinary giants & thought leaders like Bobby Flay, Dan Barber, Christina Tosi and so many more.

1984Since 1984, thousands of chefs, culinary & pastry professionals, sommeliers and industry leaders have received their education at the International Culinary Center, founded as The French Culinary Institute. The school’s reputation and graduate success can be credited to our Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton’s original vision—to establish a culinary school that would educate aspiring chefs in a fast-paced program that got them into the workforce quickly and well prepared.

It all began while studying at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England, during which Dorothy made frequent trips to France that exposed her to the world of French cuisine. After spending time in the Peace Corps in Thailand following college, she ventured back to New York City to work with her father, the Founder of the Apex Technical School. During this time, she continued her education, attaining a Masters in Business Administration from NYU. With a deep love of food at her core, it was then that she envisioned a way to bring her passion for food and education together.

It’s hard to imagine there was ever a time in New York City without a variety of cuisines at your fingertips—before you could order from virtually any restaurant on Seamless. A time before the Michelin Guide was even handing out stars in America. But, it’s true. There was indeed a time when the diversity of food culture was absent and the infamy of chefs did not yet exist. Dorothy’s vision for culinary education began to take shape alongside the evolution of cuisine and dining in New York City during the late 80’s and 90’s.

Many have said this before, but Dorothy was a true visionary. Known for her ability to identify what was missing and find a way to fill in the gaps, she brought a limitless creativity and resourcefulness to any problem. She identified a void in the culinary education of chefs in America—all over the world chefs were being trained in the codified techniques of French, but there was no true equivalent in the US.

dorothy w deansOnly someone with Dorothy’s determination and fearless spirit could bring the right people together to make this happen. From gathering a roster of legendary deans—Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac, André Soltner and Jacques Torres—to the support of industry giants like Julia Child, some of the most well known chefs in the world joined her dream, believing in what she set out to accomplish. That was the special thing about Dorothy; she had a keen ability to connect people from all walks of life. Dorothy didn’t just have a seat at the table—she was the one that built the table for the culinary world. Her gravitas and ability to connect those around her was her superpower. For this reason, many sought out her mentorship, helping numerous individuals launch their own careers, businesses and ideas in the food industry and beyond.

She cared deeply about education and the success of her students. From creating the renowned TV series Chef’s Story—later a podcast on Heritage Radio Network, featuring candid conversations with the biggest names in the industryto her blog, and eventually book, Love What You Do, Dorothy was passionate about setting people up for success in their careers. Dorothy wasn’t afraid of failure; rather, it was another way for her to learn and educate others. Her desire to continue to learn allowed her to embrace new educational pursuits for the school, establishing ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program and Olive Oil Sommelier Certification programs in recent years. It was her passion for education that inspired the recent addition of a Professional Development Scholarship for industry professionals to continue the pursuit of their education at ICC.

Today, we hope that each student who walks through our doors charts their own successful career with Dorothy in mind. Her vision, passion for food and the culinary industry, as well as her innovative spirit can be applied to everything that you do.

riverpark farm

Understanding Your ‘Foodprint’ – April Sustainability Programming

Since 1970, Earth Day has provided a way to bring environmental challenges to the forefront of our conversations. A catalyst for ongoing education, action and change, Earth Day promotes environmental awareness and solutions while celebrating our connection to the Earth.

tomatoes being grownHere at ICC, we often think about the impact of practices in the culinary industry on the environment. Culinary education plays an important role in teaching one to think about the use of whole ingredient cooking. Our students learn the art of charcuterie and butchery to make use of the entire animal, in addition to learning to make stocks, sauces and more utilizing vegetable cut offs. Promoting usage from leaf-to-root and snout-to-tail not only minimizes food waste, but also cuts down on food cost.

In the Farm-to-Table extension of our Professional Culinary Arts program, students take their culinary education beyond the kitchen through the 4-day Farm Powered Kitchen field trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. They also participate in lectures from the agriculture specialists and Stone Barns, as well as field trips to urban farms, green markets and more.

There are other ways to decrease food waste in the kitchen, one of which is composting. Since 2007, the school has composted an average of 350 lbs per day. When possible, the school also regularly donates food to The New York City Rescue Mission, including 3-tier cakes made in our Professional Pastry Arts program. To further efforts on campus to counteract our environmental impact through food, we implemented a Meatless Monday program into our Family Meals.

mushroomsMeatless Monday encourages people to eliminate meat from their diet just one day a week to see both increased health benefits and decrease their environmental impact. In just one year, by eliminating meat from our family meal each Monday, we eliminated 4,600 lbs of meat, saving 4.8 million pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted into our atmosphere. Since an average car emits 12,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per year, that’s the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road!

In honor of this year’s Earth Day celebrations, we’re dedicating our event programming in April to promote sustainability in food, farming and business practices to better understand your foodprint. We’ll look at the many ways food impacts the environment, like how sustainable seafood farmers and urban farm-to-table restaurants are shaking up the food industry and much more. Find a list of April demos & events below focused on sustainability and stay tuned for additional details as they become available!

Sustainable Seafood Demonstration and Lecture
with the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership
Wednesday, April 3rd | 3:30-5pm | ICC Amphitheater

Catch of the Day: Sustainable Seafood

As seafood starts to take centre place on many more plates, this session will discuss some of the important sustainability issues facing the sector and why choosing responsibly sourced products makes a big difference not only to taste, but quality, health, and to the environment.

With guests from two leading sustainability initiatives – Jose Antonio Camposano and Avrim Lazar, this session will explore how the farmed shrimp and salmon sectors are making sustainability a key attribute in delivering high quality products which benefit our oceans.

Plus live demos from Ecuadorian Chef Gabriela Cepeda and Vancouver’s Ned Bell will showcase some unique seafood dishes.

Gabriela Cepeda is owner of La Central Deli Shop in Guayaquil with 10 years of experience in the business, and was Head Chef of the Presidential House in Ecuador for 4 years.

Ned Bell is Executive Chef for OceanWise. He has experience working in some of Canada’s top kitchens and was, most recently, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and YEW seafood + bar. Bell’s diverse background includes seven seasons on Food Network Canada’s Cook Like a Chef and he has been recognized as Canada’s Chef of the Year at Food Service and Hospitality magazine’s 2014 Pinnacle Awards.


Ned Bell

Long-time sustainable seafood ambassador Ned Bell is the Ocean Wise Executive Chef based at the Vancouver Aquarium. Bell’s cooking philosophy is globally inspired and locally created.

With the support of the Ocean Wise seafood program, Bell founded Chefs for Oceans in 2014 to raise awareness about sustainable seafood by riding his bike across Canada. Bell’s dedication to sustainable seafood has inspired many Canadian chefs to get involved in the cause – a movement that is having a meaningful impact on the way consumers think about the seafood they eat, where it comes from and how they, too, can help protect our oceans by making ocean-friendly seafood choices.

Bell was recently awarded the Global Seafood Award for Advocacy at the 2017 Seaweb Seafood Summit.

He has experience working in some of the country’s top kitchens and was, most recently, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and YEW seafood + bar, a proud Ocean Wise partner. Bell’s diverse background includes seven seasons on Food Network Canada’s Cook Like a Chef and he has been recognized as Canada’s Chef of the Year at Food Service and Hospitality magazine’s 2014 Pinnacle Awards, Best Overall and Rising Star by Where magazine and Top 40 Foodies Under 40 by Western Living magazine in 2008.

Open to students & alumni – NO RSVP required. Limited seating available to the public, RSVP to

Urban Farm-to-Table Demonstration with Riverpark
Led by Executive Chef Andrew Smith & Riverpark Farm Manager Jonathan Sumner
Wednesday, April 10th | 3:30-5pm | ICC Amphitheater

Nestled on a unique garden plaza with romantic East River views, Riverpark represents a dynamic culinary destination reflecting Chef Tom Colicchio’s overall vision as a restaurateur. With menus that change daily to reflect the seasonal ingredients that they have available in their urban farm, Executive Chef Andrew Smith and Riverpark Farm Manager Jonathan Sumner work together to reflect seasonality.

Join us for a demonstration and lecture with Chef Smith and Jonathan in an opportunity to learn how they create a dynamic environment for ingredients to flourish in the heart of New York City.

Open to students & alumni – NO RSVP required. Limited seating available to the public, RSVP to

Business Bites: Reaping the Benefits of Going Green
Thursday, April 18th | 6:30-8pm | ICC Amphitheater

Learn more here!

63 million tons of food is wasted annually in the US—that’s equivalent to 180 Empire State Buildings—and the restaurant industry alone generates 11.4 million tons of food waste each year. There’s no denying that there remains great room for improvement to make food businesses and restaurants more sustainable. In addition to the environmental and social reasons, there are also many economic incentives for businesses to adopt sustainable practices. For instance, did you know that for every dollar invested in food-waste reduction, restaurants can realize about $8 in cost savings? Energy efficiency, composting, recycling, ingredient sourcing and packaging are all ways that food businesses can incorporate sustainable practices to improve their bottom line.

So what does it take to make your restaurant or food business sustainable through the front door and out the back?

In celebration of Earth Day this April, and part of our Understanding Your ‘Foodprint’ series, our latest installment of Business Bites, Reaping the Benefits of Going Green, will demonstrate how these ethical choices can help to reduce your bottom line. Hear from a panel of experts operating local restaurants with an emphasis on sustainability, as well as professionals working to bring solutions in food waste to consumers and food business owners a like. They’ll discuss NYC requirements for commercial organic waste, solutions for hauling food waste, composting, compostable packaging & products, sourcing ingredients, energy efficiency and more. Plus, you’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Food Business Fundamentals program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!