By Caitlin Gunther

Julie Resnick (Culinary Arts) didn’t start the feedfeed with the goal of creating a behemoth crowdsourced food Instagram account with a following of over one million enthusiastic foodies. Her initial motive was simply to swap recipe ideas and to find inspiration for ways to use her weekly allotment of CSA (community supported agriculture) goods. Something like, How about a new way to prepare those sweet potatoes? But her education from ICE — which helped give her the ability to recognize truly good food and innovative preparations of it — along with her background in digital marketing, led to the creation of a community that self-selected foodies and talented photographers were clamoring to join. Luckily, the barrier to entry was easy — simply tag #feedfeed in your Instagram photos. Feedfeed seemed to fill a void in the food media realm. It was a call to action for home cooks and food photographers to share gorgeous images of meals made with vibrant, seasonal ingredients.

We were thrilled that Julie took the time to chat with us for the ICE blog, to reveal what it’s like running a massively popular Instagram account and website, and to disclose her “worst nightmare” of a meal (a bowl of cereal).

Julie with husband and co-founder Dan (credit: Lindsay Morris)

Julie with husband and co-founder Dan (credit: Lindsay Morris)

When did you decide to study at ICE?

It was right after September 11. I was trying to decide if I wanted to make a career change. That sparked my interest in ICE and going to the weekend program. It was for nine months on the weekends, so I was working full time and going to school on the weekends.

That seems like a big commitment. You have to really want it.

It was competitive because most people were professionals who were in that same state of trying to decide or had made a decision to no longer be an accountant or a lawyer or dentist. Also, everyone was a little older than the typical student age because they had already had a bit of a career.

What was your weekday job?

I worked at a digital agency, which I had founded. My background was in digital marketing. After college, I started out at a big agency that was one of the first to build websites, back when e-commerce websites were just starting up. That’s what ultimately led me to create feedfeed. I was one of the only people in my culinary school class who didn’t end up making the career change. I was super excited to finish the program and graduate with my classmates, but by the end, my career in digital had taken off, and the agency where I was working was doing exciting things.

I continued cooking at home. I went on to get married, had kids and then we moved out of the city to Amagansett. I started changing the way that I cook and the way that we eat when we became part of the local farms and CSAs where you get a weekly share from a farm. So I basically stopped going to the grocery store. Each week you get a bag with onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken and having to work with just those ingredients is what inspired me to start feedfeed. I was using the same ingredients week after week, and with three kids you want to make sure everyone is excited about dinner and not just like, Mom, I don’t want to eat sweet potatoes again. That was what ultimately led me to connect with other people on social media who cook the way I cook and who were using local and seasonal ingredients in their day-to-day cooking. It helped me get ideas for ways to cook instead of leaning on major food publications. Because really, how deep are they going to go with ideas of what you can do with sweet potatoes. I came back to food through a need I had and a connection with other people through social media.

I came back to food through a need I had and a connection with other people through social media.

How did the feedfeed start? With the Instagram account or the website?

It started on Instagram as a call to action. Initially, I began posting pictures of my own food and then asked people to share what they were making by also tagging their food with #feedfeed. That started to develop that community of people who were cooking the way I was. So I was connecting with people from all over the world. Maybe I would do a search for sweet potatoes and find some really cool sweet potato dishes, and I would follow those people and engage with them and comment on their posts. Then I would say, Hey, by the way, don’t forget to add #feedfeed to what you’re cooking and that way we can all share with each other. It was my need that was driving it. It took off from there. That was back when no one else was tagging. Now I feel like everyone is tagging and asking people to tag whatever to be featured. As more people started sharing with the hashtag, it became obvious that the content was amazing, and I didn’t want it to disappear in feeds and get forgotten. If someone makes something really amazing with sweet potatoes, why shouldn’t we catalog that and organize it on our website? Once we had a lot of content on the hashtag, we decided to start the website — to catalog all of the great recipes by ingredient or by topic.

The feedfeed seems to have been one of the first to utilize hashtagging. Then you have others like Infatuation, but that’s a different audience.

The hashtag #eeeeeats existed as a hashtag and was out there before we were, but because we didn’t live in the city, I wasn’t aware of them when we started feedfeed. Later we realized they were doing the same thing but on the restaurant side.

With all the different editors and types of feeds — from vegan to cold soups to French food to sandwiches — how do you manage to control the aesthetic and the content?

First, we reach out to people or they reach out to us because they have a passion or expertise, like brownies or chocolate or Spanish food. We use those people to help us find really good posts. Then once everyone sends in their selections, we have an internal team vetting the content and making sure it’s meeting our standards. Molly [Adams], who works for me, also went to ICE (she graduated from the Culinary Arts program in 2009). I found her by reaching out to ICE Career Services and asked them to post a job. At the time she was working as a private chef and reached out to me. It’s hard to find people who really get food. They cook but not at the level of someone who attended culinary school. So that was really important to me from the beginning — to find someone else who could look at a recipe or a picture and say, That’s really good and interesting and here’s why. Molly looks at everything and we have a couple of other people on our internal team who help us.

Right, because there are a lot of things that are popular, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good. Like if I see another picture of a rainbow bagel…

That’s a good example — if we were to post a rainbow bagel, we would find one that we think is interesting or a story behind it. Like the person used freeze-dried blueberries and beets to dye the dough. That’s the other thing about us as a publication: When we look for something to post on our website or Instagram, we think, What is it that makes this unique? Would you have ever thought to make this? A recent dinner post was a good example of that: BBQ pulled spaghetti squash sliders. I’m not sure that other major publications would invest in having a writer and recipe developer going through the process of testing out a vegan spaghetti squash slider. But we have amazing vegan cooks in our community who are pushing the boundaries. We see that post as an opportunity to tell people that they can do more with spaghetti squash than treating it as an alternative to pasta.

I guess you could say you have more freedom because you don’t have bottom lines to think of as much as a big publication under a larger media company.

We’re looking at content and creativity. Obviously the visual, too: The photos have to be at a certain level to post it. Often we’ll see something we love but the picture isn’t at the level we need it to be. We’ll remake it and develop a recipe for something we saw on our feed.

Did you have a social media strategy or has it been an organic process?

Definitely organic. My career has been in helping brands to translate their real-world brand into the digital space, and as digital developed into social, I’ve figured out social media strategies for brands. I think like most startups, we look at what’s working and do more of that, and look at what’s not working and think of ways to make it work better. Our main focus from the beginning has been making connections and building a community of people who really enjoy each other’s food content and like to share.

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

Yes. I grew up in Texas and my mom made dinner every night. I always loved to eat, I love good food. When people ask, what do you hate, there’s really nothing I can think of. I helped my mom in the kitchen quite a bit. Then when I went to college, I couldn’t eat the food in the dorm, and I wasn’t one of those people who would say, Oh I’ll just have a bowl of cereal for dinner. That’s my worst nightmare. If our kids are in trouble — all of our kids love to eat — we’ll say to them, If you don’t listen, you’re going to get cereal for dinner, and they’re like, Noooo! That’s how I was, too. I need something savory and delicious. So in college, I started cooking as a necessity.

How did ICE prepare you for your current role as founder of feedfeed or other aspects of your life?

It helped me with the ability to throw together a really nice meal quickly. Having the basis of the techniques, plus knowing the flavor profiles and pulling them together. Another thing: I’ve always had an idea for a restaurant — especially living out here, because we don’t have a lot of options. When we go to the city, I always say Let’s have Indian, or let’s have some Korean food or Thai, because we don’t have those types of restaurants out here. At home, one night I’ll make something more Middle Eastern, and then the next night I’ll make something more Thai-inspired. I always have coconut milk, ginger and a good harissa on hand. One thing you learn in culinary school is that all the cuisines are using the same ingredients for the most part, but the end results are so different. That’s what I like to do in my own home cooking and I would love to do the same in my own restaurant: Use the same ingredients the whole week but every night try a different cuisine. Show people that you can get by with pretty much the same ingredients and completely change the dishes based on the preparation.

For our readers that are trying to build their brands via social media, what advice can you offer?

First, I would say that it’s important to be active on social. Don’t just spend time composing a beautiful, well-lit shot, posting it and then logging out of Instagram or whatever social media platform you’re using. Spend the time looking at what people you follow are posting, like the content and comment on the content. I think there’s also this perception that you shouldn’t be following too many people — I disagree with that. If there are people out there who are putting out nice content that you’re interested in, follow them, engage with them and get to know the people behind these accounts. Read what these people are writing, don’t just look at the pictures. It’s about relationship building.

Interested in studying culinary arts at ICE? Click here for information on our career programs.


By Caitlin Gunther

Ben Wiley (Pastry Arts ‘06), co-owner of five successful Brooklyn bars, is on the move. Whether he’s scooting to a jiu-jitsu class in Manhattan or popping into one of his bars for a weekly visit, he’s always headed somewhere—that and a passion for the service industry seem to be his calling cards.

ICE Alum Ben Wiley

From his hometown in northern New Jersey, Ben headed west to the University of Illinois to study Japanese. He then traded the Midwest for Yokohama, Japan, where he enrolled in a master’s degree program through Stanford University. It was during this time that Ben developed a love for baking and craft beer. Motivated by a paucity of good, readily available bread, he spent countless hours in his home kitchen trying to create the perfect loaf. When he wasn’t studying or in the kitchen, Ben was a regular barfly and part-time bartender, which served to improve both his language skills and knowledge of good, craft beer. After five years in Japan, Ben returned to New Jersey, at which point, with visions of a small café or bakery in his head, he decided to enroll in the Pastry Arts program at ICE. After completing an externship in one of the hottest kitchens in New York City, Del Posto, he and his brother hatched a back-of-a-napkin plan to open their own business—a neighborhood bar.

Though transitioning from pastry chef to bar owner seems like a leap, the detail- and service-oriented nature of both are a natural fit for Ben. He took a pause from one of his typical, frenetic days to do the ICE alum questionnaire.

ICE graduation year: Pastry Arts ‘06

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation: Co-owner of five bars in Brooklyn: Bar Great Harry, The Owl Farm, Mission Dolores, Glorietta Baldy and Cardiff Giant

Ben Wiley at Mission Dolores

Favorite sandwich spot:

There is a bodega right on the corner of 27th and 8th Avenue, right by FIT. It’s a standard-issue bodega that probably makes the same wraps as every other one in town, but they know me. I get a spinach wrap with chicken, sautéed spinach and some kind of cheese—I always tell them to pick one for me. It’s perfect. It digests well, and I can work right after. It’s six bucks, and it makes me happy. 

Describe a day in the life.

My wife and I get up around 7:30 a.m. I make her coffee every day. I don’t have to get up early, but I like to. With the dog, I walk her halfway to work, then the dog and I come back. I work from home for about two hours—emailing stuff, ordering beers, working on upcoming events and organizing anniversaries. With five bars you end up having anniversaries all the time. I scoot on my scooter into Manhattan and train jiu-jitsu for an hour. I stop by the bodega, grab my wrap, then I scoot to whichever bar I’m working in that day. I generally pop into each bar once a week. I’ll work for about two hours, then come home to start prepping dinner and walk the dog. When my wife comes home, we’ll have a drink (or not—we take a month off drinking sometimes). Then we hang out, put our feet up and laugh at all the nonsense we’ve gotten up to that day. Or I work out again. We work out a lot.

Mission Dolores Brooklyn

Mission Dolores

What inspired you to go to culinary school?

After I got my master’s degree in Japan, I landed a job as a translator for the Japanese government. They shipped me to Fukui, where I lived for three years doing a “suit-and-tie” desk job. It’s hard to find good bread in Japan. There are amazing French bakeries spotted around the country, but the general level of bread was limited to big, fluffy white bread. I couldn’t find the “healthy” bread that I wanted, so I got into baking. I was making bread in bread machines, then experimenting with 48-hour fermented dough and trying to catch yeast in the air. I bought a ton of books. That’s one thing: if I get into something, I get into it pretty seriously.

After five years in Japan, I came back to the states. I moved into my mom’s apartment in Patterson, NJ, working for a garbage collection company and trying to figure out my life. I realized that I’ve always loved bread, so I Googled and found ICE, located right in New York City. “This could be my ticket to a new life,” I thought. I envisioned opening a small bakery or café one day. So I enrolled. When I graduated, I got an externship at Del Posto when it had just opened.

The key is to treat people well enough that they’re succeeding and happy so that they don’t have to take from you to be happy. I say, “Make the people who work for you win first, and you’ll win later.” 

What got you into the bar business?

After culinary school, I moved in with my brother in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. He was working in a job where he was doing well, but not happy and looking to shake things up. The craft beer scene was very small in New York at the time. One night over beers, my brother and I started talking about opening up a bar. I remember sitting in our kitchen, literally mapping things out on the back of envelopes— if we sell 10 beers an hour, open eight hours a day—those types of calculations. We both loved the idea. One night we were out at a crappy little bar at 280 Smith Street (where Bar Great Harry is now), and there was a little old guy at the corner of the bar, wearing a suit. I said to Mike, “What’s a guy like that doing here? He has to be the owner.” When he went out for a cigarette, Mike and I followed him outside. “Is this your bar?” I asked. “We want to buy your bar.” The guy smiled and said, “Really? I want to sell my bar.” Three months later the contract was signed, and we completely renovated the space. That was Bar Great Harry. I bartended every day for weeks and weeks until we could hire more staff.

How did studying pastry arts at ICE prepare you for owning bars?

Culinary school, especially pastry, is all about being prepared. The execution, a monkey could do. It’s how well you prepare and measure everything out, that’s what’s important. That skill set is tremendously important to a small business that’s inventory-based. In a service industry, it’s different, but we have liquid that I sell. Everything has to be calculated—what’s the yield from this keg of beer, how many servings do I get, which size servings, how many do we have to sell. That idea of weighing, measuring, preparation, mise en place—that had a tremendous impact on me and how I manage our business.

Bar at Mission Dolores

Bar at Mission Dolores

Advice for anyone considering getting into the bar business?

It cannot be said enough how important your staff is. In a bar, your staff will make or break you. If you’re successful with one bar, you’re going to open two and three. You can’t be everywhere all the time. As soon as you’re not there all the time, you can have all the checks and balances you want, but people will take from you. The key is to treat people well enough that they’re succeeding and happy so that they don’t have to take from you to be happy. I say, “Make the people who work for you win first, and you’ll win later.” Hire people who you trust deep down. You can train people to make a drink. But when I interview people I think about whether I really trust them and whether they really want to be there.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

In five, I’ll still be partners with my brother in the bar business. Maybe we’ll have six or seven bars at that point. I think six and seven will be different from the first five, but not sure what form they will take. Hopefully doing something a bit different from before. We’re also looking for houses up the Hudson River.

Ready to launch your new career? Find out more about ICE’s career programs. 

By Caitlin Gunther

Picture a culinary school graduate and chances are you imagine a white-toque wearing chef on his or her way into a traditional restaurant setting. Most people wouldn’t think that culinary school could also lead to working in the test kitchen of a food media startup located in Brooklyn’s coolest new creative hub, Industry City. That’s exactly where ICE alum Jiselle Basile (Culinary Arts and Culinary Management ‘14) recently landed—as chef and food stylist for Extra Crispy, Time Inc.’s new breakfast-centric website. Though the Career Services department at ICE set her up with her first food media internship (in the Birmingham-based test kitchen for Cooking Light), Jiselle’s willingness to try something different, leaving both her comfort zone and her hometown of New York City, helped Jiselle land her current gig.

Taking a break from such adventures as making green eggs and ham for grownups, Jiselle hopped out of the test kitchen to complete the ICE alum questionnaire. Unsurprisingly, this ICE alum has strong views on culinary school and where to score the best breakfast sandwich.

Jiselle Basile Extra Crispy

ICE graduation year: May 2014 (Culinary Arts and Culinary Management)

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation: Chef and food stylist for Extra Crispy

Favorite sandwich spot:
I narrowed it down a lot obviously (laughs). One place is Steve’s Pork Store on Bath Avenue in Brooklyn. They make probably the best Italian sandwich I’ve ever had. And for breakfast—because obviously I have an opinion on breakfast—at the bagel shop I grew up with, Bagel Boy in Bay Ridge, they make a power bagel that has sunflower seeds, flaxseed and millet in a whole wheat bagel. I know a lot of people hate whole-wheat bagels, but this one is delicious. I get a sausage, egg and cheese with ketchup on that bagel and it’s a perfect breakfast sandwich.

Describe a typical day in your life.
There’s not a typical day, which keeps it interesting. At Extra Crispy, there’s a startup mentality—within a major company—but it’s still a startup. Most of us take on a lot of different roles so no two days are similar. Usually I’m either researching recipes at my desk; or I can be at a video shoot with a chef; or testing and styling in the kitchen. Tomorrow, I’m going to be making Scotch eggs with an ostrich egg on Facebook live. I have to pick up ostrich eggs at Union Square Market at 8:00 AM, so I’ll start here whenever I get back.

Where do you look for recipe inspiration?
Food & Wine, Lucky Peach, Bon Appetit…I also read a bunch of food blogs. Or if I really like something I eat at a restaurant, I’ll try to recreate it. I research a bunch of recipes and then try to make something that’s my own. My family is also a big inspiration. Everyone in my family cooks, so I grew up trying to learn from them, though that’s mostly Italian food.

How did ICE prepare you for being a chef and food stylist at Extra Crispy?
I am where I am today because of ICE. If it weren’t for [ICE Career Services Advisor] Tessa, I never would have known about the internship with Time Inc. in Alabama. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know this kind of job existed before attending ICE. Both programs definitely prepared me for working as a chef/food stylist. The Culinary Arts program provided me with the necessary technical skills and I gained an understanding of market trends in Culinary Management. The recreational classes were also a great way to build on a particular interest.

Chef Jiselle Basile

What is your culinary voice?
I’m still trying to figure that out. Right now I want to make delicious food that makes people feel good, or that brings back a memory or a specific moment in time. That’s why I like working for Extra Crispy—there’s so much comfort and emotion tied to breakfast.

Wired recently released a video with David Chang of Momofuku and in the video he talked about his success. He said a lot of things I love, but one thing in particular was that he tries to evoke nostalgia in his dishes, but not in an overtly obvious way. So the dish one person is brought back to won’t be the same dish that another person is being brought back to. I’d love to be able to do that but I have a lot more to learn.

What inspired you to go to culinary school?
It was always something I thought I wanted to do. When I graduated from high school, I thought I wanted to go to culinary school but I ended up going to college and getting a communications degree. I didn’t know where I wanted to go from there. At some point I realized that cooking had always followed me—no matter where I was, I was always finding a way to cook. Even in college I took cooking classes when they were offered. Eventually I realized that it was what I wanted to pursue as a career—something I always loved doing.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
On my way toward starting something that will be my own. I don’t know if that will happen in five years because I need more restaurant experience first. So whether I’m back in kitchens or on the management side of things so I can learn how the FOH works, hopefully I’ll be on my way to owning my own restaurant.

Thoughts on the current culinary landscape?
The whole foodie culture thing is having an impact. People are either talking about things more than ever or social media is having an impact and brought to life how much people talk about it. People are more aware of their food; I’ve seen restaurants focusing more on where their food is coming from and I guess it’s in part because people are so much more concerned about the surrounding issues. It’s also interesting how owners and chefs now look at how social media affects their restaurants. Nowadays a lot of people, before they set foot in your restaurant, will see if you have an Instagram and check out what your food looks like, which has a huge impact on whether someone will eat in your restaurant.

Click here to discover how you too can earn a double diploma from ICE in Culinary Management and Culinary Arts or Pastry Arts.


By Carly DeFilippo

The words energy and determination only begin to describe the curious, enthusiastic force that is ICE alum Eden Grinshpan. Aspiring to work in food television from a very young age, Eden currently hosts two shows on the Cooking Channel, Eden Eats and Log On And Eat with Eden.


What were you doing before you enrolled at ICE?

I enrolled at ICE when I was 22; before that I was traveling through India, South East Asia, and lived in London and Tel-Aviv.

When I was in high school I became completely obsessed with the Food Network. I didn’t grow up cooking or baking; the passion came from watching the network. I could not get enough of Ina Garten’s buttery cakes or Jamie Oliver’s colorful culinary masterpieces (he was on Food Network Canada). I was hooked, so I started playing around in the kitchen.

When it came time to apply for University, I knew where my head was at…so culinary school it was. I enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu for the “grand diplome” in both pastry and cuisine. What a funny and incredible experience. I was so nervous my first day; I didn’t know anyone and my knowledge in the kitchen was minimal. But I quickly made friends with the students and the chefs and accepted my new calling in life: food. During my time studying in London, I took advantage of the opportunity to travel to neighboring countries in Europe. It was then that I realized another passion of mine, travel, and that the best way to explore a new country and culture was to dive right into their cuisine and to try and live like a local.

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After graduating culinary school, I was not ready to settle down, so I enrolled in a course that took me on an adventure to the north of India—probably one of the most incredible experiences of my life! I didn’t know that much about India, but soon found out that it was one of the most colorful, warm and exciting countries I have ever been too. I ended up spending almost a year backpacking and exploring, while taking cooking courses, volunteering and just simply bonding with the locals and other people who were backpacking and traveling across this magical country. After India I continued my travels through Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Israel.

Following these amazing, worldly experiences, I was itching to get cracking on my career—so, what better place to start than the culinary mecca of NYC? I moved to New York around 5 years ago. My younger sister just got into NYU, so I decided to follow her here and start my new adventure. The first thing I did was enroll at ICE for the Culinary Management program. I knew that one day I would want my own restaurant, and ICE was the place to learn that skill set. I had such a great time in the program. I met so many people from all walks of life that were just as passionate as I was about food and the culinary industry. The school gave me a great platform to learn about the service industry and also allowed me to network and meet great people in the industry. Since graduating from ICE, I have been able to pursue my dream of food television and I am very fortunate to the Cooking Channel for taking me under their wing and believing in me and my shows.

What attracted you to the Culinary Management program?

What attracted me to ICE was the school’s reputation and the great management program they offered. I had a great teacher and the speakers they brought in told us their stories and facts about their businesses. Having so many people come in really inspired me and I got some really great ideas from that course. It’s also so much fun meeting people that are as obsessed about food and the culinary industry as you are—they’re a very special group.


What have you been up to since graduation?

Through ICE, I was introduced to many people in the field that have helped me along the way with my career. Since leaving ICE I have worked on “Eden Eats,” a show that I created with my business partner Samantha Schutz, and am currently working on a brand new show for the Cooking Channel, “Log On And Eat with Eden,” which will be premiering this September…very exciting!

Briefly describe a day in your working life.

Every day is very different since I am traveling all over the country, meeting different people and featuring different foods in every segment. When we get to a new restaurant, we usually learn all about the dish that we are featuring on the show, make the dish, try the dish and try a bunch of other dishes that the restaurant is famous for, while speaking with the person I am interviewing.

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?

I think people would be surprised how much time and work goes into one episode. I was so surprised to find out what goes on behind the scenes—so cool! I love how creative everyone is.

5 years ago, did you ever think you’d be doing what you’re doing now?

I’ve always dreamt of having my own food television show, but you never know. As much as it is about networking and persistence, there is also luck that goes into it. I am so fortunate to do what I do and I am thrilled to be a part of the Cooking Channel family.

What’s next?

Well, I am working on a new show for the Cooking Channel, and I hope to continue working in television (I love it). But, one day I would love to take advantage of the skills ICE taught me and manage/run my own restaurant.


By Carly DeFilippo

When Kim O’Donnel traded in her journalism career for a future in food, she never expected that her true calling would mix her two passions. Kim was among the country’s first digital food correspondents, breaking ground as a writer for the original Washington Post website. Since then, she has become one of the country’s most respected food writers, celebrated by the M.F.K. Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing and serving on the James Beard Foundation’s Journalism Awards Committee. Read on to learn how Kim made her mark on the industry.

Kim O'Donnel - Food Writer - InterviewWhat were you doing before you enrolled at ICE?
Originally, I worked as a reporter for about five years before exploring a culinary career. Once I realized I wanted to work in food, I pursued a job under James Beard Award winner Ann Cashion in Washington, D.C. It was in the days of pre-Internet communication, so I typed her a note (on an electric typewriter) asking about openings at Cashion’s Eat Place for rookies, like myself, who wanted to learn. Ann came to be one of my mentors, and what I learned on the job in just five months really set me up for culinary school.

What was it specifically that attracted you to the program?
The program at ICE felt long enough to dive in, but short enough to get back to my life, or a new version of it, quickly. I wasn’t interested in two-year programs.

Where was your externship? Did it help you make any meaningful connections in the industry?
I started out in a high-end seafood restaurant in Philadelphia, but that was not a good fit for me, to say the least. I felt as if I was a working in a factory—the focus was all about how much we could get done and how fast we could do it. So I switched to the kitchen at MANNA, a nonprofit in Philly that prepares and delivers meals for people who are homebound with HIV and other chronic illness. I learned a great deal about dietary restrictions and food as medicine, and I loved the mission of the organization.

What have you been up to since graduating?
As my externship was ending, I got a call about a job in Washington, D.C. working with the Washington Post and “something called the Internet.” It turns out it was, and they were building their first team of feature writers, including someone to write about restaurants. I was offered the job, but had a crisis of conscience. At the time, I was thinking, “What am I doing taking a desk job after I just finished my culinary training?”

One of my mentors—Gillian Clark, the sous chef at Cashion’s Eat Place—told me, “You can always cook. Go see what this is about.” It ended up being the beginning of yet another career path, marrying my writing experience with my culinary training. For the next eight years, I worked on staff producing first-generation cooking videos, hosting a weekly cooking chat and exploring the different ways we could approach internet content through the lens of food. During the same period, as a freelancer, I wrote a daily column called Mighty Appetite, which took my food writing to another level. I’ve since written for Real Simple, USA Today and other publications. From there, I got the bug to write cookbooks. I’ve now spent 17 years in the industry and it has been anything but dull!

Kim O'Donnel - Meatless - Cookbooks - Interview

Are there any professional accomplishments of which you are particularly proud?
As far as awards, I earned second place in the 2014 M.F.K. Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing, awarded by Les Dames d’Escoffier International. I’ve also been featured in the 2013 and 2014 editions of Best Food Writing, an annual anthology, and sit on the Journalism Awards Committee of the James Beard Foundation.

On a more personal level, my two cookbooks, Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook and Meatless Celebrations aim to help meat lovers (like myself) dial back and make a little more room for plants on their plates. Additionally, for the past three years, I’ve been honored to teach cooking classes at Rancho La Puerta, a spa in the Baja peninsula of Mexico. We cook from the school’s six-acre organic garden, which is my idea of heaven.

But truly the most rewarding part of my work is when I hear from readers (who share their kitchen reports about trying one of my recipes) or see the look of amazement of one of my students who gets the hang of a technique or dish once deemed too difficult. Those are moments I’m most proud of.

How would you describe your “culinary voice”?
I primarily cook by the season, even if I’m craving strawberries in January. As part of that effort, I do a lot of preserving (I founded a group called Canning Across America in 2009), so my pantry is full of jars of berry jam, pickled carrots, jalapenos and cucumbers and tomato sauce. Having a preserved pantry really helps to “extend” the growing season, which is so gratifying.

Overall, my cooking style is quite simple, not too fussy. I love creating layers of flavor through spice blends in Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.  Because we live in Seattle, we eat a lot of wild salmon, which is quite affordable and top quality.

As for my writing, I aim to teach the simple pleasures of cooking at home, one crumb at a time. There’s no need to worry about “mastering the art” of anything or cooking your way through an entire recipe collection. The goal is just to cook as often as you can. From all the time I’ve spent on the road for book tours, I’ve learned that many folks are not cooking—not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know how. My mission, going forward, is to push that needle and get more of us bellying up to the stove.

Click here to learn more about culinary careers outside the kitchen.

By Carly DeFilippo 

With experience in the kitchens of Jean-Georges, Heston Blumenthal and Floyd Cardoz, ICE alum Jody Eddy has rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s top chefs. So it’s no surprise that her first book, Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants, secured Jody’s reputation as a respected storyteller among chefs. Since then, Jody’s career has taken off and she’s busier than ever. Read on for an inside look at the dynamic life of one of the industry’s most ambitious writers.

jody eddy - interview - headshot - What attracted you to the program at ICE?
I liked that the externship requirement took place at an actual restaurant [or other culinary business], because I was looking for real world experience to complement my time in school. I also frequently volunteered as an assistant for classes in ICE’s School of Recreational Cooking, which proved to be an invaluable experience.

Where was your externship? Did it help you make any particularly meaningful connections in the industry?
I externed at Jean-Georges in New York City and also at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray, England. I really enjoyed my externships, and I made lasting relationships with fellow externs and chefs that I still count as some of my closest friends and food world colleagues. When I was at The Fat Duck, I also experienced their incredible family meals, which inspired me to co-write my book Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants. I traveled to 25 different restaurants to experience their staff meals during the course of the writing process, and the most poignant, of course, was returning to The Fat Duck, the place where it all began.

What have you been up to since graduating?
I worked as a cook at Floyd Cardoz’s restaurant Tabla before assuming the position of Executive Editor at Art Culinaire for three years. From there, I published Come In, We’re Closed. Then, last September, my first cookbook, North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland, was published by Ten Speed Press.

On the heels of North, I’m launching a line of artisanal food products from Iceland and am working on several other cookbook projects. I also freelance for such publications as The Wall Street Journal and Food & Wine, and I do occasional recipe development for major food corporations. In the summers, I sometimes lead culinary tours of Iceland and teach cooking classes at various culinary schools around the US, and I organize the Chef’s Garden Roots Conference (the next one will take place in September 2015). I’ve learned over the years that one of the most important things you can do as a freelancer is to keep yourself busy!

Jody Eddy - Come In We're Closed - Staff Meals - Restaurants

A photo of Andoni Aduriz’ kitchen at Mugaritz from Come In We’re Closed.

Are there any accomplishments, awards, etc. of which you are particularly proud?
I was happy that Come In, We’re Closed was nominated for a James Beard Award. The writing and travel requirements for that book were a bit daunting, so it felt good to have our hard work recognized. I’m also proud to be a member of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance and the New York chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Briefly describe a day in your current working life.
I relocated to Ireland recently, and when I’m home and not traveling for work (which I do about 50% of the time), my day begins by going for an early morning run in the woods near my house to jumpstart my brain. I then write for several hours in the morning and reserve the afternoon for phone calls, interviews for books or articles and recipe development. The evenings are spent working on other projects such as conference planning and the execution of our Icelandic food line. As a freelancer, your working day or week never really comes to a close, but I prefer it that way.

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?
Because I travel so much, I think some people assume I am on a permanent vacation, but traveling for work can be grueling. I often find myself meeting deadlines or strategizing about projects on planes or in hotel rooms in the middle of the night. I frequently have conference calls at 3am because the time zone I’m in is so out of sync with the people I need to talk to. Being on the road can be exhausting, but I love it too.

Jody Eddy - Interview - Saffron Harvest - Kashmir

A photo from Jody’s research on the saffron harvest in Kashmir.

Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
I hope to continue to write cookbooks and articles, as well as to plan conferences. I have a few new projects in progress for 2015 that I hope will lead to impactful and meaningful work. I love working in the food world and feel the possibilities it affords are endless, dynamic and incredibly diverse.

How would you describe your “culinary voice”?
There are endless narratives in food just waiting to be told—but even more than this, I believe there is so much potential to make a meaningful impact. Food is one of the few things that every single person in the world is affected by and if we, as food industry professionals, strive to make the right choices, uncover the stories that need to be told, and engage with people interested in doing the same, we can collectively make a real and lasting difference.

Click here to learn more about careers in food media and other opportunities outside the kitchen. 

By Carly DeFilippo

ICE graduates Eric McIntyre and Scott Fagan are among a number of alumni couples who enrolled together with the hopes of owning their own business. Today, they’ve transformed a successful catering company—Tip of the Tongue—into a café storefront in their Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. We recently caught up with Eric to gain some perspective on their first year of business.

Eric McIntyre - Tip of the Tongue - Bakery - Brooklyn


What were you both doing before you enrolled at ICE?
Prior to ICE, I was working as legal recruiter for the contract and permanent placement of attorneys, paralegals and legal secretaries. Scott was working as a health and food writer, developing stories and production for, as well as recipes for The South Beach Diet and The Zone Diet. Prior to that, he was the producer of “Ask Doctor Weil,” a health website produced through Time Warner.

What was it specifically that attracted you to the program?
We were attracted to how comprehensive the curriculum was and that the final part of the program was an externship within the industry. We had looked at a few schools and ICE seemed to be an excellent value. I had a hard time deciding between the pastry and culinary programs but in the end I decided to go with the Culinary Arts program to get what I felt would be a broader range of training and education, even though I was most interested in pastry.

Where were your externships? Did they help you make connections in the industry?
Scott externed at Chanterelle, and I externed at Blue Fin. Personally, I made several connections through Joe Murphy (now executive pastry chef at Jean-Georges), who was the pastry chef at the time. ICE also helped me get my first job—at Eleven Madison Park. I met Nicole Kaplan (then the executive pastry chef) at an ICE career fair.

What have you been up to since graduating?
I worked at Eleven Madison Park from May 2002 – December 2005. During that time, Scott had been doing freelance catering work and then started his own catering business. In August 2005, things started to pick up and he leased a commercial kitchen. I left Eleven Madison to begin working with him in January 2006. For years, while we were working on catering for events, we talked about opening a brick-and-mortar bakery/cafe. After looking at many spaces in many neighborhoods (mostly in Brooklyn), we decided to open a shop in the neighborhood where we live, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, in May 2013.

Which accomplishments make you the most proud?
I’m happy to still be in business. As many of us know in the food industry, margins are tight and managing costs is a challenge. We’re happy to still be doing what we love.

Tip of the Tongue - Alumni Interview - Eric McIntyre - Brooklyn

Tell me about a day in your current working life.
Our day begins getting our 3-year-old son to school (which takes a notable amount of time, between getting dressed, breakfast, packing lunch and actually getting him out the door!). On Mondays, we have a meeting with our barista and pastry managers to review the current menu, changes that need to be made, staffing issues and exploring any new ideas for the cafe. Scott and I also try to spend a good amount of time on the cafe floor to maintain a personal connection with our customer base. We then move onto administrative tasks such as bookkeeping, P&L reports, scheduling, vendor ordering and paying bills.

What might people be surprised to learn about your business?
I think the biggest misconception about owning a small shop is that, while we are very busy most of the time, managing the bottom line and actually turning a profit is a major challenge. Even if you are steadily busy, the cost of running a small business is very high. Our customers regularly comment on how we must be doing so great, but the first year has been difficult and challenging, and we’re trying to figure out how to make a sustainable living for the long-term.

Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
We’re considering a second cafe or another type of shop—maybe even a wine shop.

Tip of the Tongue - Bakery - Brooklyn - Eric McIntyre - Scott Fagan

You’ve hired a number of other ICE grads to help run your shop. How has that been a meaningful part of your story?
With other ICE grads, there is always an immediate connection and everyone loves sharing stories of their experiences with the same chef instructors. On a practical note, Scott and I have often taken recipes from school and re-worked them into something that fits our own style—and since we experienced the same curriculum, these recipes and the techniques we reference are things that ICE grads are familiar with. That said, we also like hiring chefs from other schools, as they do bring a different perspective and experience that can be refreshing.

How would you describe your “culinary voice”?
Our food and style is very “tangible,” which is to say we prepare foods that are familiar, never too fancy or esoteric. We like to keep it simple with seasonal foods that people recognize and are drawn to. At our core, we’re “meat and potatoes” kind of guys.

Click here for more stories from alumni entrepreneurs.


By Carly DeFilippo

With more than 11,000 graduates in the industry, ICE’s alumni network is a hotbed of food and hospitality talent. In turn, it’s no surprise that many of our graduates have found success working together in the field. In the case of Cristian Quiroz and Ilse Herrera, sous chefs at Txikito, La Vara and El Quinto Pino—restaurateurs Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s trifecta of celebrated NYC restaurants—they may have met on the job, but they get along just like classmates.

isle and cristian resized

What were you doing before culinary school?

Cristian Quiroz: I worked as a waiter at a place called The Crepe Café back in Chile. It was my first restaurant job and I would always bother the crepe cook to let me make the crepes. He kept saying no, until one day he got tired of me and just let me do it. Soon I was able to manage the station on my own. That’s when I decided I wanted to learn back of house skills, to hopefully open up my own restaurant one day.
Ilse Herrera: I was studying singing in a conservatory in Guadalajara, Mexico. I moved to New York just one week before starting classes at ICE.

What specifically attracted you to the programs at ICE?

IH: I liked that ICE offered immersion into the world of cooking within a short amount of time. The modules were well rounded and the program was affordable. Being in New York City was definitely a big plus.
CQ: The length of the programs (Culinary Arts and Management). I had considered CIA because of its reputation, but my father suggested that I would probably benefit more from a shorter, hands-on program, than a traditional 2-4 year degree. I think he was completely correct. In the end, it depends on the learning style of the person.

What have you been up to since graduating?

CQ: I worked at Txikito for a year and a half and then helped opened La Vara in Cobble Hill. After Alex received two stars in the New York Times for El Quinto Pino, we helped open the restaurant’s new dining room, “El Comedor.” Currently, most of my time is spent at Txikito, but I occasionally work at the other two spots as well. As a personal project, I planned a sold-out Chilean food pop-up last September, which I’m considering developing into my own spot in the coming year.
IH: I was garde manger at Lupa during school, and later moved to The West Branch where I was quickly promoted to the pasta station. After a year, I left New York to spend two months in Italy, and upon my return I got a job at Txikito through a former co-worker. I started off as a lunch cook and then became the morning sous-chef. I also helped with research and development and staff training for the opening of La Vara in Brooklyn, and worked with Cristian on the expansion of El Quinto Pino, where I currently run the kitchen.

What are your proudest accomplishments?

IH: The critical acclaim in the press has been very gratifying in the five years that I have worked for Alex and her husband, Eder. I have also cooked at the James Beard House on two different occasions with Alex and have had the chance to cook my own Mexican dinner at Txikito for one of their “txokos” (a dinner series inspired by Basque private gastronomical societies), mainly focusing on food from the states of Michoacán and Sonora.
CQ: I’m very happy with the job I’ve done in Alex and Eder’s restaurants. In addition to helping achieve two stars at both La Vara and El Quinto Pino, the whole experience of starting two new restaurants from scratch is personally very gratifying and entertaining.

What is a day like in your working life?

CQ: My day typically involves quality control during dinner service, expediting, ordering, creating specials and maintaining food safety. Training staff is a big part as well.
IH: I get in at 9:00am and take a quick inventory of the kitchen. Then I check the morning production list, take on some prep tasks, and manage quality control for the team throughout the day. When the night crew comes in at 2:00pm, I communicate with the supervisor about any new specials or menu items. I have a lunch break from 3:00-4:00pm, then prep is continued until around 5:00pm. Finally, I do inventory of vegetables, fish, meat, dry goods, etc. and place any necessary orders before I go home.
CQ: Working with Isle has been amazing. Both times we helped open new restaurants (La Vara and El Comedor), it would basically be Isle in the morning, then I’d come in for lunch and dinner service. She would train prep cooks and maintain quality control prior to opening, while I would do the same during service. I remember hearing somewhere that chef/owners normally need two close and very trustworthy cooks to rely on to run a restaurant—it’s definitely been true in my experience.

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?

CQ: I wasn’t looking for the “celebrity chef” life when I got into the business, but I’ve met a lot of people who got into the job thinking it was going to be a piece of cake. You should be ready for long hours and hard work. Certain kitchens and staffs are more pleasant than others. One chef will think screaming is an essential part of his job; others are laid-back and don’t care—but you should show up ready for anything.
IH: There is more to being a cook than just cooking. A lot of discipline, respect for others, teamwork, cleanliness and speed are required. It’s not the way it looks on television. You have to truly be passionate about food in order to be happy in this field.

How would you describe your “culinary voice”?

IH: I would describe my culinary voice as clean and simple. I believe in staying true to the flavor of each ingredient and searching to complement it in unexpected ways. I have been taught (the Basque way) to get rid of black pepper as a staple seasoning. A little bit of olive oil and salt are all a great ingredient needs. As far as plating is concerned, I like natural-looking food that can make it to the table without looking ruined. I don’t oppose the modernist approach, but I love the example of a chef who once said to me: “Imagine a light breeze brought your salad over to the plate, and… ahh,” while letting the greens fall naturally.
CQ: The way I understand food is entirely influenced by Alex and Eder. I have far more experience working with Spanish food—and some Middle Eastern flavors at La Vara—than any other cuisine, but currently I’m excited to develop a Chilean restaurant concept. Chile is a country whose cuisine has been defined by the immigrants and colonies that have arrived there, especially Spanish, German and Italian. I’m looking to maintain the authenticity of traditional Chilean flavors, but present them in a more creative, appealing way.

Click here for more inspiring ICE alumni stories.


By Carly DeFilippo 

Before she even enrolled at ICE, Einav Gefen was already turning heads as the firstever female chef at cutting edge seafood restaurant Mul Yam in her native Israel. But when Gefen and her husband moved to NYC, she knew she wanted to go back to school and rebuild a solid foundation of techniques. Since graduating, she has worked in the fine dining kitchen of Restaurant Daniel, led the kitchen at Danal in the East Village, and even returned to ICE as a Culinary Arts Chef Instructor. Yet her greatest accomplishment to date is changing the way Americans eat—and serving up a TED talkas the Corporate Chef and Culinary Team Leader for Unilever Consumer Kitchens.



What motivated you to enroll in the Culinary Arts program at ICE?
Before enrolling with ICE I was working as a sous chef at a high-end seafood restaurant in Israel. By then, I knew that cooking was my passion and what I wanted to do for a living, but I felt I needed to go to a cooking school to fully understand the “what” and the “how.” With no good cooking school available in Israel, I was debating between Sydney and New York City. After doing some research, I decided ICE was the best option for me, with small classes and a great vibe—the perfect place for a foreigner in the “Big Apple.”

What have you been up to since graduating?
A lot has happened since I graduated in 1999! I externed at Restaurant Daniel. I wanted to aim as high as I could and learn from the best of the best in the industry. It set me up for a great career path. From there, I continued along my path in restaurants with an Executive Chef position at Danal in the East Village. My career direction took a different turn, however, when I was five months pregnant with my first child. I took a break from the physical work in restaurants to become the Director of the Culinary Center at the Manhattan JCC, building the culinary center from scratch and running it for two years. In that role, I had the opportunity to appear on a few live TV spots and was able to extend my network—which actually brought me back to ICE as a Chef Instructor!

I loved teaching at ICE and was not looking for a new job; however, after five years at the school, one of my students brought the corporate chef position at Unilever to my attention. I got the job and have been with Unilever for seven years, leading the culinary team that supports our food brands for the U.S. and Canada. The role encapsulates many of my interests—creativity, recipe development, chemistry and marketing—and it all has to do with creating good food and nourishing families.

In addition to your TED talk (an inspiring lecture by an industry leader shown to millions of viewers worldwide), are there any professional accomplishments of which you are particularly proud?
There are many things I am proud of. First and foremost, it is amazing to see former students of mine do well in the industry. It is also fun to see products I helped develop on supermarket shelves. In my current work with Knorr, I am now the face of the brand in a TV commercial and YouTube video recipes. I also recently visited the White House for a meeting with Chef Sam Kass!

And yes, one of the things I am most proud of, is the TED talk. I presented in September 2014—a huge accomplishment for me and an opportunity to talk about my personal goals and contributions to the industry.

Briefly describe a day in your working life at Unilever (one of the top five consumer brand companies worldwide).
No two days are alike in my role. Unilever oversees more than 1,000 brands—from Hellman’s to Bertolli to Lipton—so there really is an incredible amount of opportunity. If we are working on a hands-on project, we will be in the kitchen all day; otherwise I might be in meetings, ideation sessions or traveling. We have a lot of tastings: our products, recipes we are using to elevate their quality, or to find new ingredients. We also track culinary trends and do store-scouting. It is a very dynamic, busy role.

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?
People will be surprised to know the amount of thought and work that goes into Unilever products and recipes. Our consumer is the star of the show, and it is essential for us to meet their expectations, understand their struggles and identify ways we can help in putting tasty meals on their table. We have more than 200 chefs around the world, all of whom are working to make sure we reach these goals in everything we do.

Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
In the future, I would like to continue making a difference. We live in a time of change and sometimes uncertainty. If I can, through my role—or any role—help people eat better, cook a little more (so they can own the kitchen again) and never go hungry, I will be the happiest person alive. There is so much more we can do to make this happen.

How would you describe your culinary voice?
In reference to my style of cooking, I would describe my culinary voice as clean and fresh. Growing up in Israel, I ate a lot of vegetables and dishes seasoned with fresh herbs in a mixture of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Eastern European cuisines. Today, this style is infused with my background in fine dining. I believe that—with a few basic skills and some curiosity—good, tasty food is within anyone’s reach.

Are you ready to launch your own inspiring career in the Culinary Arts? Click here.


By Carly DeFilippo

In the ever-growing buffet of possible food careers, sometimes it’s hard to choose what will end up on your plate. Will I be a magazine editor or a restaurant owner? A cookbook author or an entrepreneur? Well, in the case of ICE alum Sara Deseran, she’s having her cake and eating it too. At the mere age of 42, she’s the co-owner of five restaurants, the food editor for San Francisco magazine and a cookbook author—and still, she’s plotting to one day write freelance articles for the New York TimesBecause why shouldn’t you get to do everything you’ve always wanted to do?

Photo Credit: Alex Farnum

Photo Credit: Alex Farnum

What sparked your decision to attend culinary school?
I was working in lowly position in publishing at Weldon Owen, a company that packaged books for Williams-Sonoma. I’d started working there because of my love for food, and my editor suggested I consider culinary school to round out my experience. I chose ICE because I really wanted to go to New York.

Where was your ICE externship and how has it affected your career?
For my ICE externship, I worked at Saveur magazine in the test kitchen, which was a complete thrill. At the time, there was no magazine I loved more. From there, I became the food editor at 7×7 magazine and a short-lived publication called Williams-Sonoma Taste. Today, I work as the food editor at San Francisco magazine and oversee our “Feast” section.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Well, my writing for sure. I currently publish a food think’y column called “Famished” that’s a ton of fun and keeps me on my toes. But I’m ultimately the most proud of Tacolicious, the restaurant that my husband Joe Hargrave and I started about four years ago. Proud is an understatement, actually. We have four locations now, and I pinch myself every day in regards to its success and the wonderful people we get to work with. On top of all that, we just recently published the Tacolicious cookbook with Ten Speed Press!

What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your time in the industry?
Colman Andrews, the former editor of Saveur and founder of The Daily Meal, once told me to “write about what you know and know more than anyone else.” That way it’s unique to you. In this very competitive and saturated world of food writing, it’s a thought worth holding on to.


Briefly describe a day in your current working life.
I work at the magazine part-time and for Tacolicious part-time. At the magazine, I’m in charge of developing and executing all of our food and drink coverage, which is a lot. For the restaurant, I spend my days on everything from managing our website to marketing, to brainstorming menu ideas for our latest restaurant project—a dumpling-centric, California-Chinese restaurant called Chino that we opened in San Francisco this year.

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?
That I’ve never been a restaurant critic. Everyone hears the words “food writer” and they automatically assume I’m a critic. (I’d be a terrible critic because I’m far too critical, honestly. I need to keep those thoughts to myself!) I also don’t enjoy classic fine dining, which can be too uptight for my taste. The final thing that’s surprising is that I’ve never grown tired of my job. Covering San Francisco’s vibrant—and obsessive—food scene is endlessly entertaining.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
I’d like to freelance more—pitch publications like the New York Times (and hopefully have them say yes). That used to be my “before I turn 40” goal. But I’m 42 now—with five restaurants and a magazine to help run—so I’m giving myself another 8 years. I’m a wee bit busy right now.

Passionate about food writing? Learn how a degree in Culinary Arts can help kickstart your career in food media.