16. February 2018 · Categories: Alumni

The James Beard Awards Semifinalists have been announced and we’re thrilled to share that a number of ICE alumni were included on the list. Donned as the “Oscars” of the food world, the James Beard Awards are one of the highest honors for food and beverage professionals in the United States. They’re also an opportunity for the industry to take a moment to recognize the hard work and achievements of those who push the mold and continue to make America’s culinary environment the dynamic, inspiring place it is today.

James Beard Awards

Here are the ICE alums named 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalists:

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Zoe Nathan (Culinary ’01), Rustic Canyon Group, Santa Monica, CA


Read on to discover all of the ICE alums named 2018 James Beard Award semifinalists.


At ICE, we make it our mission to help students find their culinary voice — that creative drive within each of us that determines how we express ourselves through food. Whether it’s a career training program, a recreational course in pie crusts or a special event featuring handmade pasta, we’ll give you the tools to hone your culinary creativity. Join us as we ask some of today’s leading food industry pros to share their culinary voice.


Chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless has devoted his culinary career to exploring and sharing his passion for traditional Mexican cuisine. The Top Chef Masters and James Beard Award winner has penned nine cookbooks and starred in two PBS television series dedicated to the culinary traditions of Mexico. 


When we asked Rick to share his culinary voice, his response, unsurprisingly, was centered on his favorite gourmet culture. Watch the video and discover the three aspects of Mexican cuisine that speak to Rick Bayless the most.

Rick Bayless


Because we all know: the last place you want to be on V-Day is waiting for a restaurant table. This year, try dinner at home instead.


By Robert Ramsey — Chef-Instructor, School of Culinary Arts


Figs and honey have long been considered aphrodisiacs by cultures the world over, so we’ll use both in this sweet and savory combination. Figs were supposedly the favorite fruit of Cleopatra and honey was prescribed by Hippocrates to boost libido. In short, this is the perfect, foolproof Valentine’s Day appetizer.

Fig toasts with ricotta

Keep reading to learn how to make these tasty toasts. 

12. February 2018 · Categories: Alumni


By Caitlin Raux


There are several good reasons why Greg Proechel (Culinary Arts ’10), Executive Chef of Ferris, has an octopus tattooed on his right arm. For starters, the former college football player has an octopus-like dexterity in the kitchen, a skill that earned him the nickname “pulpo,” — that’s “octopus” in Spanish — from famed Spanish chef Jesus Nuñez, whom he accompanied on Iron Chef in, coincidentally, the octopus battle. The eight-armed mollusk, which can grow an arm if it loses one, is a symbol of regeneration, a theme that resonates with Greg. Less than a decade ago, he was working a desk job as a financial analyst. Today, he’s leading a new restaurant that’s already garnered praise from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and was named one of Eater’s Hottest Restaurants in Manhattan. His career path 180 began with his decision to enroll in ICE’s Culinary Arts program, where he began with zero professional kitchen experience and ended with a paid position at one of the best restaurants in the world — Eleven Madison Park. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of regeneration. And Greg continues to grow and make waves with his honest cooking and cheeky presentations of serious food.

Greg Proechel

Keep reading to learn about Greg's rise to the top of NYC's restaurant scene. 


By Jenny McCoy


This Valentine’s Day, you can do better than chocolate-dipped strawberries. Impress your sweetheart with a foolproof recipe for romance: a heart-shaped pastry that’s easier to make than it looks. Watch below as we reinvent the class palmier — or “elephant ear” — with homemade pink sugar for an extra DIY twist. Then keep reading to get the recipe for our pink palmiers. 


Read on for our heart-shaped take on classic palmiers.


By Carly DeFilippo


Fans of the documentary Kings of Pastry are likely well-acquainted with Philippe Rigollot, who heroically was named Meilleur Ouvrier de France despite the demise of his sugar showpiece during the final moments of the competition. Yet what fans may not know is that Philippe's wife and business partner, Elodie, a chocolatier by background, is an integral part of his work at the couple's local pastry shop in Annecy, France. The pair first worked together at Maison Pic, the only three-Michelin-star restaurant in France that is owned by a woman. In anticipation of Philippe's upcoming hands-on advanced pastry course at ICE, Dessert Buffet, we reached out to Elodie to learn more about the couple's work.

pr pastry

You trained in France — what was your or Philippe's training like?

Philippe trained in the traditional fashion — a pre-apprenticeship at the age of 15, followed by two years of apprenticeship and a Brevet de Maîtrise or "Master's Certificate" which took an additional two years. In fact, Philippe won a regional medal for being the youngest apprentice to earn his certificate.


When did you decide you were interested in competitions, in particular the M.O.F.?

Having grown up around Paris, Philippe frequently passed by the windows of Lenôtre, where he dreamed of working one day. After earning his master's certificate, he was successfully hired at Lenôtre, which also housed a school of professional development for pastry professionals, in which the majority of classes were taught by MOFs. It was through his introductions to the MOF that Philippe first started thinking about competitions, and in particular, his goal to become an MOF himself.

06. February 2018 · Categories: Alumni


By Danielle Page


"There is a comfort and safety of being behind the scenes," ICE graduate Adrienne Cheatham said in a video interview with The New York Times.

Adrienne Cheatham

But on this season of Top Chef, Cheatham steps into the spotlight to compete for a chance to win — presenting her dishes to be judged by renowned chefs including James Beard award winner Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, celebrity chef Curtis Stone and most recently, three-Michelin-star chef David Kinch.


It's no surprise to see an ICE alum competing on this popular show — past seasons have included ICE graduates Arnold Myint and Ashley Merriman, and ICE alum Gail Simmons lends her expertise as a judge.


05. February 2018 · Categories: Video

2017 was an incredible year for Vivian Howard (Culinary ’03). While continuing to lead critically acclaimed Chef & the Farmer and the beloved neighborhood oyster bar Boiler Room, she opened a third highly anticipated eatery, Benny's Big Time, a family-friendly pizza and pasta restaurant in Wilmington, NC. Vivian also racked up an impressive four IACP awards and a James Beard Award nomination for her book “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South.” Here, the ICE alum and star of the Peabody Award-winning PBS documentary series "A Chef's Life" explains how she found that a return to her roots was exactly what her cooking needed. 

Vivian Howard

Watch now as Vivian shares her culinary voice. 


By Leslie Engel — Student, Culinary Arts ‘18


When you’re learning how to perfect your medium dice, you’re probably not contemplating how that carrot ended up on your cutting board. But as future chefs, we should occasionally step away from the kitchen and consider the broader implications of our work. How do our everyday decisions impact our environment, our communities and even the world?

Sustainability Club at Oceana

ICE students began contemplating these weighty topics at the inaugural meeting of the Sustainability Club on Saturday, January 20. Our first stop was the Union Square Greenmarket, New York City’s bastion of locally grown, seasonal produce. The day kicked off with Chef Bill Telepan, ICE’s Director of Sustainability, leading us on a tour of the market and introducing us to some of his favorite farmers. While peas and asparagus are still several months away, we learned that there is life at the greenmarket in the dead of winter.


Keep reading to discover what ICE students cooked up at Chef Telepan's acclaimed restaurant. 


By David Waltuck — Director of Culinary Affairs


Brandon Chrostowski is the founder and CEO of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, a restaurant and school that provides culinary training and job placement assistance to formerly incarcerated men and women. Everyone who works there, from the kitchen to the dining room, is a former inmate.

I met Brandon when he worked at my restaurant, Chanterelle, from late 2005 to 2008, starting as a server, and ultimately becoming an assistant general manager. He originally applied and interviewed with my wife, Karen, for a front of the house job. Though he had no dining room experience, he had been cooking for years in a number of excellent restaurants in the U.S. and France. He explained that he wanted to work with us to learn how the front of the house functions.


Brandon and EDWINS are the subject of Thomas Lennon’s documentary “Knife Skills,” which was screened for students at ICE on January 18th and just received an Academy Award nomination for Documentary Short Subject. Brandon took a moment from his busy visit to New York to chat with me about EDWINS and some other projects in the pipeline.  


David Waltuck: How did you get your start in restaurants and cooking?


Brandon Chrostowski: I got involved after being arrested and then put on probation. I needed to find something that would keep me busy. 


Read on to learn how Brandon founded a groundbreaking restaurant. 

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