Search Results for: life as a student


By Lauren Jessen—Student, School of Culinary Arts ‘16 & Culinary Management ‘16

Trying to figure out what to do with your life at any age can be overwhelming, stressful and exciting. I thought that at 24 years old I would have a good idea which direction I wanted my life to go, but that wasn’t the case. There’s no question that I’ve accomplished things I’m proud of, including earning a Congressional Award Gold Medal, publishing a book and managing a couple of blogs, but there was still that nagging question, “What do I do with my life?” Ultimately I realized my path involved food—and more than just eating it.

lauren jessen culinary student institute of culinary education

Let me back up for a second. As I mentioned, in 2014 I earned a Congressional Award Gold Medal and, along with my sister, co-wrote a book about our experience, titled Youth’s Highest Honor: Your Guide to Earning the Congressional Award and Building Life Skills. The award is a program that teaches invaluable life skills through participation in community service, personal development, physical fitness and expeditions, and is considered the highest award that a youth can earn in the United States. But despite the sense of achievement I felt from winning the award, publishing our book and managing a youth empowerment website, Carpe Juvenis, I was still trying to figure out my next step. Would I write another book? Absolutely—but in the future. Would I get a corporate job? Maybe, but in what industry? Or should I entertain the idea of pursuing my love of food? It doesn’t hurt to look into it.

Lauren Jessen AwardThe concept of having a career in the food industry didn’t click for me right away. In 2011, while working on a degree in media studies at Claremont McKenna College, I started a food and film blog called A Dash of Cinema. The idea was that I would recreate the food you see characters eating in movies, as well as new recipes inspired by movies. At that point, I had pursued a few film internships at Hollywood production companies, but it hadn’t occurred to me to pursue my love of food in a professional setting. There I was, spending all my free time pairing recipes with movies and enthusiastically searching out the best places to eat around Los Angeles.

Somewhere between college and writing a book, my love of food turned into a passion, and passion gave way to obsession. I could no longer deny my interest in the food industry, and I loved the idea of building a foundation and learning from chefs who had real-world experience. So I toured some culinary schools, met for coffee with culinary school graduates and read as many articles as I could get my hands on about the pros and cons of culinary school.

After looking at culinary school options around the country—and even a few overseas—I knew that the Institute of Culinary Education was the best choice for me. In particular, I was excited about the option to earn a double diploma in Culinary Management and Culinary Arts. Learning how to fabricate various meats, cooking without a recipe and understanding the science behind food are all important to me, but so is knowing how to manage food costs, best practices in marketing and all the other business skills needed to open a food establishment. The dual program is a unique opportunity to learn all of these skills and how to apply them in a real-world setting.

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I’ve been in culinary school for about a month, and already I have learned basic techniques that have changed the way I cook and view food. For instance, I now prepare all of my ingredients before starting to follow a recipe, a practice known as mise en place. I’m more aware of food safety precautions, so now I’m more careful when I thaw food and reheat leftovers. I have also become braver about making stock and buying whole chickens to truss and fabricate myself. (There will never be a need for me to buy overpriced chicken breasts again!) Most importantly, I am gaining a deeper understanding of the science behind food and how ingredients and cooking methods work together, which has allowed me to experiment more in the kitchen.

Culinary school is a marathon, not a sprint: but every day I wake up even more excited to delve deeper into the food industry. I can finally say that I have seen the signs and have acted on my passion for food—and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Eager to explore your future in food? Click here for information about ICE’s career training programs.


By Grace Reynolds—Student, School of Culinary Management

Last night, I graduated from ICE’s Culinary Management program. All I can say is that I have never experienced a sharper—or more humbling—learning curve in seven months.

Culinary Management Graduation

Celebrating graduation with my Culinary Management classmates

When thinking about how to illustrate this for you, I keep coming back to an assignment from our first week in the program: the “color speech.” The assignment is exactly what it sounds like: give a speech about your favorite color. Sounds pretty simple, right? Think again. For starters, most of us hadn’t contemplated what our favorite color was since we were about eight. Moreover, we were asked to make this speech interesting and relevant to a group of eighteen strangers—a daunting task.

Now, I wish I could tell you we all nailed the speech, but that’s just not the reality. We tanked, hard. Sweaty-palmed, voices quivering, we all got up there and tried to justify why we loved blue, felt strongly about purple or were enchanted by red. It went the opposite of smoothly. Our instructor, Steve and our guest instructor, Andy, gave us feedback on our delivery: “Own your space. Don’t ask us, tell us.” By the time we had all given our speeches, we felt exhausted, humbled and totally unsure of ourselves.

Restaurant Management Program at ICE

Now, I bet you’re wondering what a speech about color has to do with restaurant management and entrepreneurship. The answer is simple: failure. Like most things worth doing, there is an inherent risk involved in starting your own business, pursuing a fulfilling career and leading a meaningful life. I would even go so far as to say that failure is not merely a possible risk, but a requirement for success. The color assignment was designed to give us a taste of failure. It was designed to test our perseverance, our resolve and our ability to embrace failure as an opportunity for growth.

Grow we did. In our final week of class, each of us presented our final business plans to a room packed with people, three of whom were high-profile investors. The difference between my stage presence for the color speech and in my final presentation could not have been more pronounced. I witnessed the same transformation in my classmates: dressed like polished professionals, delivering incredible business plans with confidence, poise and courage. This wasn’t just a stroke of luck; the seven months that passed between those two speeches rigorously prepared us for this moment. In short, we were primed to succeed.

Food Entrepreneur Speaker

Looking forward, I have little doubt that my classmates will accomplish great things in the culinary world. I also know that each and every one of us will fail again, hard. But these past seven months have taught us how to seize the opportunity therein. It’s what you do when you fail that dictates the ultimate outcome. After our time at ICE, my classmates and I are ready to accept that challenge.

Click here to learn more about ICE’s Culinary Management program.


By Gabby Guarino,
Student, Culinary Arts ’17 

Gabby is a student in ICE’s Culinary Arts program and our newest student blogger. She’s been cooking since before she was allowed to use the stove — making “soup” by using hot water from the sink to “boil” pasta and then throwing in some spices. Before culinary school, she received a bachelor’s degree in communications and human resources management from Rutgers University. She worked in marketing for a stint before launching her blog, “The Semi-Healthy Foodie,” and in October 2016, she finally decided to pursue her dream of going to culinary school and enrolled at ICE. For her first blog post, she takes us through a daunting pastry lesson: Danish dough. 

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Tackling Danish dough was one of the most challenging things I’ve had to take on in culinary school so far. When I think of a Danish, I think of buttery, flaky crust with a cheese or fruit filling. I think of the beautiful layers and the soft, chewy dough. Before culinary school, I casually enjoyed a Danish now and again, not thinking much of it. Now that I know the time and effort that goes into making that perfectly layered dough, I have a new appreciation for pastry chefs (and their Danishes) everywhere. There is a certain technique and process that’s essential to get the dough just right. Have you ever wondered how all of those buttery layers of dough are created? It may seem daunting, but with some time, patience and good instructions, it’s totally possible.

Apple Danish

For starters, Danish dough is considered a laminate dough, which means that there are layers of fat encased in dough and each layer remains separate. The laminate dough process is tedious but so rewarding. Before I explain the process, here are a few key words to know: beurrage, detrempe and paton. The fat component of the dough is called beurrage, the dough component is called the detrempe and the act of making the dough and encasing the fat in dough is called paton. Okay, enough with the fancy words — let’s get to it.

  • First, make a basic dough with yeast, sugar and cinnamon, and let it rest for about an hour.
  • Next, make sure your butter is very cold and cut it into thin blocks. Flour the butter and line up the blocks of butter into a rectangle. Pound them together with a rolling pin until they form a sheet that is about 10-12 inches wide.
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle about one-third longer than your butter sheet. Place the butter sheet on the dough and fold into thirds like a letter. Roll the dough out, turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the folding and rolling process. Rotate the dough again and repeat.
  • Next, refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, roll it out and cut into 4×4 inch squares.
  • When ready to bake, you can fill Danish dough with different fruits, jams or pastry creams.

Once you break down the steps, the process is quite simple and the result is the flakiest Danish. Those layers of butter and dough create the amazing structure that made the Danish famous. With this pastry lesson, not only did I master Danish dough, I also stepped out of my comfort zone, challenged my inner baker and acquired a new appreciation for Danishes and laminate doughs.

Apple Danish

Ready to challenge your inner baker with professional culinary training from ICE? Click here for more information.

By Caitlin Gunther

For the ICE blog “Life as a Student” series, we hand the mic to students from our career programs and give them the chance to share what it’s really like to be a student at ICE. Our newest student blogger, Brooke Bordelon, a California transplant with Louisiana roots, is a student in ICE’s Culinary Arts program with her sights set on the food media realm. Given her lifelong “obsession” with cooking and the skills she’s learning at ICE, we won’t be surprised if we see her in the test kitchen or food publication of her choice. In this interview, we introduce our readers to Brooke.

Brooke Bordelon culinary student

What’s your earliest food memory?

Funnily enough, my earliest food memory doesn’t even involve real food, but that fake, plastic food that kids used to play with back in the 90s. (I don’t know if kids these days still do — they probably have an app for that now.) I remember being obsessed with “cooking” in my miniature kitchen, complete with a pint-sized stove and microwave. Three-year-old me would putter around in that kitchen for hours, talking to myself while sticking all these different fake foods together with Velcro before making my family sit down to “taste” it all. Apparently it was one of the only toys I liked, go figure.

Growing up, was food a big part of your family life?

Both of my parents come from big families in Louisiana, which means that, growing up, I was more-or-less genetically predisposed to love everything to do with food. Before my family moved to California, I had never realized that everybody didn’t regularly have crab boils in their backyards or celebrate Christmas with a massive Cajun feast for 50-plus hungry family members. After moving out west, I began to develop an appreciation for my Southern heritage as I realized how exceptionally unique the food, culture and people of southern Louisiana are. I can definitely say that this part of my background has had a profound effect on how I view food and cooking.

Culinary Student Brooke Bordelon

Why did you choose to go to ICE?

When I was trying to decide which culinary school to attend after college, my train of thought was, “If I am going to go to culinary school, why wouldn’t I go to one in the most exciting food capital of the world?” After attending ICE’s open house, it was clear that the connections and opportunities this school would provide me with would prove invaluable in my quest to build a lasting career in food media. Then, the decision was simple. Within three months, I had schlepped all of my stuff from Dallas (where I went to college) to New York, successfully navigated the subway to buy all of my school supplies and settled into my apartment with just a week to spare before my first day of class.

Describe a day in the life for you as a student at ICE.

My class meets at 8:00 AM every morning, so typically I try to be up by 5:45 AM (“try” being the operative word) so that I have a little time to caffeinate myself and review the day’s recipes before I catch the subway to school. I love that no two days of class are ever the same; one day we may learn how to properly roast a chicken, while the next we delve into how to make perfectly crispy broccoli tempura. After class, I usually hang out in the student lounge with friends while keeping a look-out for treats from the pastry classes to scarf down. Around 1:00 PM, I start making the trek back to my apartment in Murray Hill to catch up on any freelance articles I’m writing at the time and work on homework for the next day’s class.

Sky’s the limit. What’s your dream job after you graduate ICE?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been passionate about writing and cooking. In an ideal world, I would combine the Journalism degree I received from Southern Methodist University with the culinary degree I’ll receive from ICE in order to mold a career for myself in food media. Whether that means writing articles for a food magazine, working in a test kitchen or working on cookbooks, I believe that life is too short to compromise one passion for another when it comes to following your dreams.

Culinary Student Brooke Bordelon

Are there any skills you’re looking forward to acquiring?

Our class just started module three last week, which is particularly exciting because we’re incorporating all of the technical skills we learned in modules one and two — like sautéing, roasting, braising, etc. — into cooking dishes from different regions around the world. Right now we’re focusing on France, but I’m especially eager to get to Asia because the techniques and ingredients used in that part of the world are so different from anything we’ve done thus far. It’ll definitely be a fun challenge and a nice change of pace.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned in class so far?

Above all else, the most useful thing I’ve learned in class so far is the importance of keeping yourself organized in the kitchen. If you don’t have your mise en place and tools ready to go, or if your work station is constantly cluttered, you’re bound to make a mistake somewhere down the line. By nature, I’m not the most analytical person, so even though I had to learn this skill the hard way, it has since helped me tremendously. Staying organized keeps my stress levels in the kitchen manageable, allowing me to create a better finished product in the end. (Bonus: I don’t tick off teammates with a dirty workstation anymore.)

What advice would you offer anyone considering culinary school?

The best advice I could offer to anyone considering culinary school is to do your homework to really understand the culinary industry and where you would fit within it. Having an idea of how a degree in the culinary arts or culinary management will help you to shape a future career will be extremely useful in figuring out whether or not culinary school is the right path for you. It may sound a little blunt, but a passion for cooking will only get you so far if you don’t have a plan for how to channel that passion into a livelihood. That being said, you may get to school, do a complete 180°, and decide to follow an altogether different career path from what you thought you wanted. The important thing to remember, though, is to always think about how the skills you’re acquiring in school are helping you to mold your future career. After all, that’s what school is all about.

Ready to launch your culinary career? Click here to learn about ICE’s career programs.

By ICE Staff

According to our students, one of the best parts about studying at ICE is the day-to-day learning and cooking in ICE’s classroom kitchens, which simulate the experience of working in a professional restaurant kitchen. When the time comes to begin their first restaurant gig, our graduates are right at home in their work environments. So what exactly does a “day in the life” look like for ICE culinary students? A new video shows just that: scenes from a culinary arts class led by ICE Chef Instructor James Briscione, from the mise en place to plating to clean-up. Check out the below video for a taste of life at ICE.

Ready to jumpstart your culinary career? Click here for more info on ICE’s culinary career program.


By Emma Weinstein—Culinary Management ’17 / Culinary Arts ’17

I have been in love with food from an early age. Growing up in a family where both of my parents worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry, food and restaurants have always been a huge part of my life. At seven days old I was already in my first restaurant, sleeping soundly in my mom’s lap while my parents ate. I am lucky to have been born into a family where food has always been prominent. I have so many wonderful food-related memories, from exploring farmers’ markets in Paris to waking up at the crack of dawn to see the tuna auction at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

ICE Student Emma Weinstein

Emma at ICE’s Fall Career Fair

I attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where I majored in Art History. Still, I always found myself very involved with food. I wrote restaurant reviews for our local campus chapter of Her Campus, went on road trips to visit local cheese farmers and loved exploring the different farmers’ markets and restaurants in our area. It seemed that a career in food was always my calling, even if I didn’t recognize it yet. After graduating, I worked in several contemporary art galleries in Chelsea before deciding to finally face the music and pursue a career in food. I left the gallery where I had served as assistant director for a year and a half and joined my father and brother to help launch a new restaurant venture—Chuck & Blade, a contemporary steakhouse located in Chelsea.

Prior to this decision, I had some experience working in restaurants but it was by no means extensive. I worked as a hostess briefly in high school and did a pastry internship as well, but that was it. Suddenly I was fully immersed in the world of restaurants and having to learn a great deal of information within a relatively short time frame. I never dreamed I would find myself researching different types of commercial dishwashers or deliberating over what size ice cubes our restaurant should serve. Some parts were much more fun than others. I loved meeting with different vendors, sampling products, touring the restaurant show, developing the menu and beverage program and participating in menu tastings. On the other hand, filling out paperwork for all the vendors, setting up payroll and dealing with the department of buildings was not as exciting. It was a wonderful learning experience, and while I do feel I learned a lot on my own in a relatively short period of time, I felt I would greatly benefit from a more formal education; this led me to ICE.

I started my time at ICE as a Culinary Management student, but just recently decided to pursue Culinary Arts as well. I’m not entirely sure yet what I want to do with my culinary diploma. I love writing and reading about food, and I’m a huge fan of Michael Pollan, Ruth Reichl and Frank Bruni. I also really enjoyed developing the concept of my family’s restaurant and working with my mom to design the interiors. I am eager to soak up as much information as possible during my time at ICE and hope these two programs will help me hone in on what aspect of the industry I would most like to pursue.

Want to learn more about ICE’s career programs? Click here for more info.


By Jessica McCain—Student, School of Culinary Arts

Before culinary school, when I thought of culinary arts and fine dining, my mind always wandered to the French—at the time, I saw the French as the sole proprietors of exquisite cuisine. From classic dishes such as coq au vin to other dishes with fancy names I could hardly pronounce (before coming to ICE, that is), I was sure that I wanted to focus my culinary studies on French cuisine. In fact, I wanted to master the art of French cooking.

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When classes began and we started cooking our way through different regions, I was exposed to numerous different styles and flavors of the world. Initially, I was still fixated on the French—the classic style and elegance associated with this cuisine was more than captivating. And with ideas of restaurant kitchens like Daniel in my head, I couldn’t shake the idea that French fare was the pinnacle of cuisines.

It was when our class curriculum moved on to the Asian region that my mind began to open to different styles of cooking. Before culinary school, I only knew of the more popular Asian dishes—like sushi rolls and pad Thai—but I never realized the complexity and variety of Asian cuisine. Getting to know the different spices, methods of cooking and the time required to prepare the bases to some of the dishes came as a total shock to me. I discovered new flavors and textures in Asian cuisine that I hadn’t been exposed to previously and found myself excelling at the new methods of preparation—to my surprise, preparing items like bao buns and sushi came naturally to me. When we began exploring the flavors of India and Thailand, I knew my idea of one “supreme” cuisine had changed.

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In addition to learning new cooking styles and ingredients, our classes introduced me to equipment I had never heard of before culinary school—one of my favorite aspects of my education here at ICE. For example, in one of our lessons we had the chance to make naan, a pita-like bread that is made with a special oven called a tandoor. A tandoor is traditionally a clay, wood or charcoal-burning oven—the kind used to cook tandoori chicken. We cooked our naan by pressing the dough firmly against the sides of the tandoor to infuse it with the spices, smoke and flavors of the chicken while simultaneously cooking the bread. This technique means safety gloves and great caution are a must. When done properly, this lengthy process produces an absolutely delicious product, and one that I never would have learned by focusing solely on French cuisine.

From toasting and grinding our own spices to making marinades and curries to rolling our own sushi rolls, Asian cuisine is so much more compelling and delicious than I ever thought. I look back to when I was one-cuisine-minded and I could not be happier with my decision to be here. I have a more complex view and ICE has broadened my culinary horizons beyond French cuisine. I can’t wait to enter the world of pastry in the next module!

Ready to broaden your culinary horizons? Click here to learn more about ICE’s innovative Culinary Arts program. 


By Lauren Jessen—Student, School of Culinary Arts and Culinary Management

Mastering the art of purchasing can make or break your restaurant. What do I mean when I say purchasing? Purchasing is part of restaurant operations and entails buying enough food and beverages to meet the demand of the restaurant’s customers. It requires organization, planning ahead, diligence, creativity and consistency. As a restaurant, buying more food than you need means inventory and money going to waste. However, if you buy too little of an ingredient and it sells out, you’re faced with unhappy customers and a potentially expensive problem to solve.

Roam Halls-003-150dpiIn my Culinary Management program, the topic of purchasing is an entire unit because of its complexity. By now, I could write a book (or two) on the topic, but for now I’ll share the key things that I’ve learned in class to keep in mind when purchasing for your restaurant:

  • If feasible, put someone in charge of purchasing. These people usually have titles such as purchasing manager or purchasing director. Because it takes a lot of effort to properly purchase goods, you want it to be someone’s job to do it correctly.
  • Create a budget for goods. You need to know how much money is going to be spent so you can organize your funds strategically. This also provides useful boundaries for the chef and purchasing director.
  • Audit invoices and payments to make sure you’re being properly charged.
  • Have at least two vendors that you are buying from. You want more than one so you can price check and make sure you’re not being scammed, but also in the event that one vendor runs out you have a backup plan.
  • Your purchasing director should go through everything with the purveyors, which means he or she should randomly weigh items and count the number of items delivered. Some examples of things to look out for include delivering scallops in water so it costs more (order dry weight scallops), fish that isn’t fresh and items that weigh less than what you originally ordered (weigh items to make sure you’re getting the exact ounce you ordered).
  • Consider whether you want fish or meat delivered fabricated or pre-fabricated. If you want the meat already cut to order, this may save you money in the long run because you won’t have to pay for the labor of butchering meat in-house. Run the numbers so you know which option is best.
  • Take inventory of what you have at least once a month. This will inform you of which goods you’re buying too much of and will give you an idea of what needs to be adjusted.
  • Create a system and cycle so you know which days during the week you need to order goods, the process of how the food and beverages will be delivered and what time of day you (or the purchasing director) will receive the goods.

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Purchasing requires trial and error and continuous adjustment. The good thing is that you can try new ordering strategies every week and improve each day. The world of purchasing is a hands-on and ongoing learning experience.

Ready to learn to manage and build your own food business? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Culinary Management program. 


By Lauren Katz—Student, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

One of the first things people ask when I tell them I’ve started the Pastry & Baking Arts program at ICE is, “So, are you still working?” I was surprised the first time I was asked this question, because, to me, the answer was so obvious. I currently work as the web editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, and on Mondays and Tuesdays I leave about an hour early to rush down to Battery Park for class.

At first I was terrified to juggle work and school—scared that the trains would be delayed, that I wouldn’t have time to eat dinner and, most of all, that I would be exhausted and unable to pay attention after an eight-hour day at the office. But what I quickly discovered is that my passion for baking overrides all of the above.

My most vivid memories of growing up are those of helping my mom cook and bake. From sitting on the counter to perching on my tippy toes, to eventually standing right by her side, my appreciation for culinary education starts with her. My grandma was also a phenomenal cook and baker, and it has become very apparent how much of her talent has been passed down through two generations. Yet it wasn’t until I was old enough to prepare entire meals for my family and friends that I fell in love with cooking. It was so gratifying to see something go from a collection of ingredients to a beautifully composed dish, all due to my diligence and hard work.

When thoughts of working in the real world began to populate my brain, I started focusing on perfecting my two passions: cooking and writing. It only took about a semester in college to realize my dream job: editor-in-chief of a major food magazine. At 24, I’m so lucky to already work at a food magazine, but I knew that to further my career, the hands-on part of my professional education still needed to be fulfilled. So after more than a decade of watching the Food Network, attending recreational cooking classes and hosting dozens of dinner parties, I knew that it was time to pursue my passion for pastry and baking.Lauren Katz Food Media Culinary School

It took watching just one episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table for me to pull the trigger and submit my application for Pastry & Baking Arts at ICE. Seeing the drive and devotion of such chefs as Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber was one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever witnessed. I could relate on so many levels, and I realized that, at one point, these chefs had the same dreams that I do now.

Lauren Katz Everyday with Rachel Ray Culinary School

Now that I’ve enrolled in culinary school, those dreams are closer to being realized than ever before. Being away from my apartment for more than 13 hours a day, eating dinner on the subway and getting significantly less sleep is far from an ideal lifestyle, but the gratification I have received in just four weeks has been worth it. What’s more, my fellow evening class students share my drive to succeed. They too are juggling unusual schedules, and their commitment is proof that they genuinely care about making it in this industry, just like me. They make excellent taste testers, too!

In just the first few weeks of class, I’ve had so many different experiences, and one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was from Alice’s Teacup owner Michael Eisenberg. He spoke to our class about the trials, tribulations, risks and rewards of owning a restaurant and to use this time to fail as much as we can. Those words alone have made me infinitely more excited to learn, experiment, fail and—eventually—succeed. So bring on the soufflés, flambés, pâte à choux, fondant, ganache and sugar sculpting. I’ll be waiting at ICE with open arms.

To learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking program, click here.

By Grace Reynolds, Culinary Management Student

As a general rule of thumb, the anticipation of a new experience comes with a heavy dose of expectations. Be it your first trip to a foreign country, a new job or a first date, it’s easy to construct a romanticized notion of “what could be” before even setting foot in the airport, office or restaurant. But how often does reality actually meet our expectations?

Restaurant Consulting Empire State

Personally, I try not to get too excited about new opportunities. My optimistic daydreams have resulted in disappointment on many occasions, some worse than others. So in the days leading up to September 29th (my first day in ICE’s Culinary Management program), I made every effort to keep my expectations in check. Even as ICE alums raved to me about their experience in the program—how it helped them reach their professional goals, changed the way they think, gave them the tools to succeed in the restaurant industry—I tried to stay pragmatic. If this program was really the professional game-changer they suggested, it would still have to prove itself to me first.

Before I continue any further, I should probably tell you a bit about myself, as you’ll be hearing from me frequently over the course of the next seven months. I’ve always wanted to work in the food world. From the time I could spell “reservation,” I’ve been fascinated with restaurants—whether it was eating in them, researching their history or brainstorming new business concepts. But, despite this obvious passion for the food industry, I’ve never wanted to be a chef. So as I entered adulthood, I dismissed my restaurant obsession as an expensive hobby and decided I would become an anthropologist, psychologist or some other sort of “-ologist.”

Restaurant Kitchen-8

It wasn’t until three years ago that I realized a future in food didn’t have to mean a career in the kitchen. I was a senior in college, researching graduate school opportunities, when I stumbled across the NYU Food Studies program. It was love at first Google search: I applied, got in and packed my bags for New York City. But a year into the program, it became clear to me that academia and business acumen are two entirely different beasts. In order to break into the food industry and put the knowledge I was gaining to use, I needed to learn about the business side of food. But how?

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A year later, I’m six classes into the ICE Culinary Management curriculum and I can say with complete confidence that enrolling in this program is the best professional decision I’ve made to date. We’ve already covered topics like entrepreneurial opportunities in food, finding a good location for your business, menu development, food cost percentages and promising food trends—and it’s only been two weeks! The amount of food world talent we’ll be exposed to—lectures by representatives from the highly regarded Union Square Hospitality Group, visits to Michelin-starred restaurants like Daniel, discussions with food startup geniuses like the founder of Chipotle—is mind-boggling. Add to this the caliber and experience of our instructors—restaurateurs Steve Zagor, Andy Pforzheimer and Vin McCann, as well as sommelier Richard Vayda—and the knowledge my classmates and I are sure to gain is staggering.

So was I right to dampen my excitement about the ICE Culinary Management program? In retrospect, no! It has certainly made the rush I feel now all the more intense. Plus, it’s just the beginning, right? There’s still plenty of time to let my imagination run wild, knowing that this program will continue to surpass my expectations and surprise me in the process.

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I’m not entirely sure what the next seven months will bring (A new job? An entrepreneurial opportunity? A business plan for my own restaurant?), but big changes are afoot—I can feel it. As we’ve already learned from the industry experts we’ve met, the path to success is more than a simple ascent—there’s sure to be hard work and some disappointment along the way. But like any aspiring entrepreneur, I’m ready to learn from these challenges, and the skills I learn in the Culinary Management program are sure to help me navigate every step of my professional journey.

Call 888-995-2433 to schedule a personal tour of ICE and learn more about our Culinary Management program.