Director of Pastry & Baking Arts Andrea Tutunjian with PAC Members Surbhi Sahni (Tulsi), Sina Clark (Magnolia), Joseph Murphy (Jean Georges) and Michael Laiskonis

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ICE has a Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for all of our career training diploma programs. These groups, who include some big names in the New York and national culinary world, meet several times a year to make suggestions about the school’s programs and progress. All the professionals that are part of PAC are committed to excellence in culinary education.They’re an invaluable resource, because they ensure that our education meets their high standards and that our students receive training that properly prepares them for the challenges and opportunities in the field. Yesterday morning, we held one of these meetings where the topic of focus was the schools’ facility, equipment and use of technology.

Director of Culinary Arts Mike Handal with PAC Members Kerry Heffernan (South Gate), Matthew Weingarten (Inside Park at St. Barts), Gail Simmons (Top Chef) and Scott Campbell (New Leaf Restaurant & Bar) in ICE’s Library

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A number of the committee members are ICE alumni. Among the alumni in attendance were Gail Simmons (Top Chef and Food & Wine), Chef Matthew Weingarten (Inside Park at St. Bart’s), Chef Scott Campbell (New Leaf Restaurant) and Sina Clark (Magnolia Bakery). Gail was happy to let us know that her first book and food memoir, Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater, is released in two weeks, and it includes a chapter about her time at this culinary school!

PAC members Kerry Heffernan (South Gate), Gail Simmons (Top Chef) and Scott Campbell (New Leaf Restaurant & Bar) in a Culinary Arts Class

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The meeting also included some top toques in the pastry and baking world. This includes James Beard Award–winning Chef Michael Laiskonis, who until recently was the Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin, where he helped the restaurant gain four stars from The New York Times. Also in attendance was Executive Pastry Chef Joseph Murphy who recently returned to Jean Georges after four years away from that prestigious four-star restaurant.

PAC members Kerry Heffernan (South Gate) and Matthew Weingarten (Inside Park at St. Barts) Talk with Director of Culinary Arts Mike Handal

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In addition to these celebrated chefs, the PAC also includes food professionals from outside the kitchen. Members such as Director of NYU Graduate Program in Food Studies Jennifer Berg, Myriad Restaurant Group Managing Partner Martin Shapiro and Founder of RAP POS Aloha Mark Buonagurio help to develop the technology and education programs at ICE.

These PAC meetings are great for all involved. The school gets the opportunity to learn from high-level working professionals, they get to learn and network with each other, and the PAC members do feel that they are giving back, and helping future generations of ICE students (who may end up working for them)!

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