By Carly DeFilippo

This weekend marks the climax of the 2014 culinary awards season, as the industry’s leading chefs and culinary professionals head to Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater for the 24th annual James Beard Awards. For the second year running, ICE Culinary Management alum Matthew Riznyk will be the host chef at Friday’s 2014 Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards.

From busser to waiter, chef to purchaser, bartender to maître d’, Riznyk has worn many hats in the restaurant industry. In his current role as the Executive Chef of Great Performances, Manhattan’s premier catering company, he oversees the culinary production for many of the city’s most elaborate and elite events. In anticipation of tomorrow’s very special James Beard event, we caught up with Riznyk to discuss the arc of his career, what he’s learned from his varied roles in the restaurant business and what it’s like to serve dinner to several hundred VIPs.


What inspired you to enroll at ICE?

Though I’m originally from the New York area, I had gone out west to open up the JW Marriot in Scottsdale and then transferred to the Coronado Island Marriot in San Diego. I was working restaurants since I was fifteen or so, but around age 21 I decided that it was time to get serious about a career, so I came back to New York and enrolled at ICE while working at a restaurant in Westchester.

I really liked ICE’s tenure; it had a long standing tradition of culinary success and a great teaching program. And since I wasn’t coming straight out of high school and this wasn’t my first experience in the hospitality industry, I was looking for more of an intensive course. This way I could continue to work, rather than making a full-time four year investment. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn quickly, take that knowledge and put it to use.

I chose the Culinary Management program because, throughout my career, I’ve bounced around a little bit. Even in the same company, whether I was with a restaurant or at the hotel, I’d start off as a cook and then I’d pick up a bar shift here and there, and then I’d go back to cooking, then I’d go to serving, then I’d explore a different area. I’m kind of a sucker for knowledge, so I always like to learn a lot about different areas of the business.

Were there any instructors in particular who influenced you at ICE?

I remember Richard Vayda in particular as a Culinary Management instructor. He had great energy and an amazing way with people—very down to earth but just incredibly talented and informative.

What happened after graduation?

I got a spot in the management training program with Myriad Restaurant Group. I think that having an ICE education on my resume really allowed the doors to be opened a little bit. With my various work experience alone, I probably wouldn’t have been accepted into the program. In that program, I started at Tribeca Grill and basically worked through every position there from cook to buser to runner to server to maître d’—everything. After a few months, I was made general manager of (the now closed) Layla, which was a big step, and I think it was a test. When Layla closed, I accepted the job of the Director of Purchasing for the Tribeca Grill and most of the other Myriad group restaurants. My role was to streamline purchasing for the whole group, and I also worked with their consulting arm to open some hotels in Kentucky, Providence and New Jersey.

So how did you end up at Great Performances?

When I left Myriad, I realized that I had worked in restaurants (front of the house and back of the house), at the bar, in consulting, purchasing and all these different roles in hotels and restaurants—but I had never really done catering before. With my personality, I was always looking to learn something different, so I took a position as a freelance cook at Great Performances and worked my way up for the last seven years.

You’ve really done it all; it’s amazing that you’ve had so many different careers

Exactly. And I mean, you know, I think I did the absolute right thing. Because now I take with me not only the experience of cooking but the experience of managing a room or a floor, knowing how food gets purchased—where it comes from and how it gets served— the whole process. I think that’s really helped me build my career and move up the ladder, because I understand all aspects of the business rather than just being focused in on one area.


The James Beard Award is a veritable “Who’s Who” of the industry’s top chefs, media personalities and other culinary professionals. (Photo credit:

As far as the James Beard Awards, what exactly is your role?

This will be my second year as the Host Chef for the Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards. We develop all the hors d’oeuvres and the cocktail hour for the event, which are my recipes, and then support the guest chefs that they choose. When they come in from out of town, they work in our kitchen, we help them source their product, we give them prep, our equipment, and then also support their onsite execution, because a lot of them don’t have a lot of experience doing an event for 400 people in a tight timeline. We’re able to utilize our resources and our knowledge to help these world-class chefs take their food from an a la carte perspective to a catering perspective.

What would you say to ICE students who are thinking about catering as a future career path?

You have to have a passion for catering. Unlike a restaurant, it’s not just “a protein, a starch and a veg” on the plate and how quickly can get it on the table. We’re creating restaurant quality and style food in a large format. So it’s taking all the passion that you have for food, flavors, textures, plating—all those things that we love as chefs—and pairing it with a strong logistical and operational mindset as to how to get it done. It ends up being a lot more management. In most restaurants, even in really large restaurants, the kitchen staff is maybe ten or twenty people, whereas I oversee over 200 people. So it’s a lot of high-end culinary work, but also a ton of logistic, operational, management, and business acumen as well.


By Carly DeFilippo

As the Dean of ICE’s School of Business & Management StudiesSteve Zagor oversees one of the most innovative culinary business programs in the country. He has mentored countless alumni—from Jim Nawn of Agricola Eatery to Jason Soloway of Wallflower, Mark Sy of Vien to Christina Ha of Macaron Parlour. In fact, those four students-turned-entrepreneurs hail from just one of Steve’s graduating classes. Multiply their success by his 10+ years as a teacher (not to mention his lengthy career as a restaurateur and consultant) and you’ll get a ballpark idea of Steve’s undeniable impact on today’s culinary industry.

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Growing up in New York City, Steve’s parents were friends with a number of successful restaurateurs, most notably the owners of historic speakeasy the 21 Club. So after his undergraduate studies at Tulane, it was no surprise to Steve’s friends and family when he chose to pursue a Master’s degree at Cornell’s renowned hotel school, with the intention of one day returning to the New York restaurant scene.

Yet after a three-year stint at Marriott Hotels, which “taught him how to make money” in the business, Steve bypassed New York for a more ambitious project in the American south, opening the 300-seat “New York Café” in Houston, Texas. At the mere age of 26, this first entrepreneurial venture was a home run. Not only was Steve a local hero, but he was also written up as the “hippest lunch spot in Texas” in Rolling Stone. His business expanded to a small restaurant empire, including “the best deli in Texas”, a cafe with singing waiters and a huge off-premises catering service. But in the ninth year of the New York Café’s ten-year lease, Steve’s landlord announced he wanted to build a high-rise on the property.

Steve has even coached the pros—current and former NFL players—on the ins and outs of the restaurant business.

Steve has even coached the pros—current and former NFL players—on the ins and outs of the restaurant business.

Finding the opportunity in this unexpected turn of events—an essential skill he teaches our Culinary Management students—Steve sold his business to pursue work in corporate food & beverage consulting. That is, until he met the “crazy brilliant, genius IQ” Shelley Fireman of The Fireman Group. Steve couldn’t resist Fireman’s offer to oversee management at Midtown’s trendy Trattoria del Arte, boasting 170 employees and an unbeatable celebrity clientele. Steve describes the work as so engaging that he barely cared about the grueling hours.

But after three years at one of New York’s top Italian restaurants, Steve was itching to try his hand at something new and lay his stakes on a restaurant in Greenwich, CT. Yet unlike his “home run” in Houston, the Greenwich restaurant was a challenge from the get-go. Opened during one of the snowiest winters in New England history, the restaurant had too many investors and not enough success to sustain the venture. Today, Steve credits this failure as much as his success in his formation as a teacher. “Your life is how you handle the bad times,” he says, and having instructors who have weathered such failures is of inherent value to any business education.

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Steve returned to consulting and began teaching at New York University. In 2001, he joined the faculty of ICE’s Culinary Management program and was named program director later that year. A charismatic lecturer himself—known for the occasional magic trick and his stand-up comedy style—Steve knew he wanted to diversity our students’ experience. Since then, he regularly taps into his wide network of contacts to invite successful culinary entrepreneurs to speak with our students or integrate field trips into the curriculum, expanding both the diversity of our students’ educational experience and their access to networking opportunities.

Today, Steve maintains an active consulting practice—as do all ICE management instructors In his long list of clients, he has worked with everyone from Federal Express to Universal Studios, Paul Newman to the Time Warner Center in New York City, and is frequently quoted as an industry expert in the media. This year, Steve and his Culinary Management colleagues have also added a new consulting division to ICE’s roster of services—offering clients the combined expertise of our top-notch faculty, while simultaneously providing students with a first-hand opportunity to work on the next generation of culinary businesses.

Despite all his success, what is perhaps most impressive about Steve is the endless hours he spends mentoring our students and alumni. His sage advice always comes with a side of salty humor, generating an enviable list of witty one-liners that sum up his wealth of wisdom and experience. With his deep connections to the industry and New York as his classroom, it’s safe to say that a day in Steve’s class is unlike any other.


By Liz Castner, Pastry & Baking Arts and Culinary Management Student

Every year, ICE Culinary Management students are exposed to some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the business. These industry leaders generously take time out of their busy schedules to share their stories and offer advice to the next generation of restauranteurs.

Most recently, my class was lucky enough to visit Chef David Bouley’s whimsical TriBeCa restaurant, Bouley Botanical. Filled with window gardens, a gleaming kitchen, film equipment and every type of new culinary gadgetry you can imagine, Bouley Botanical is a culinary fairytale of sorts. Chef Bouley has clearly succeeded in creating a foodie fantasy.


Chef David Bouley

Bouley Botanical’s success should come as no surprise, as Chef has a long history as an innovator in the restaurant business. He has studied in France under some of the most masterful chefs in the world and is credited with opening Montrachet, which revolutionized New York City Restaurant culture. His success is largely attributable to his attention to detail and devotion to exceptional service. He shared with us the importance he places on a well-crafted tasting menu, as well as investing time in understanding what his guests like to eat. This enables him to provide patrons with the best meal possible, his primary goal as a chef.

While Bouley’s bio for the Meet The Culinary Entrepreneurs event series only mentions it briefly, the chef emphasized the importance of health and wellness as central to his business. Bouley has dedicated his life to learning anything and everything he can about health in different ways. I really admire this aim, because while many chefs are interested in nutrition, most chefs consider dining out as a departure (as opposed to a central part of) their guest’s nutritional needs. Bouley also is essentially a Mother Nature purist. He views it as his responsibility to take the best that nature can offer and make it even more delicious, while maintaining its nutritional content.


I consider myself fairly well-educated on the subject of health, but the tidbits he shared with us blew my mind. One fact he relayed to us is one that I had heard before, but never stopped to really examine: each plant food provides our body with nutrients, but the way that we prepare that food can diminish the quality of what it has to offer. Garlic, for example, is one of the healthiest foods we can eat, but according to Bouley, most of us are overcooking it, diminishing the positive health impact of eating it in the first place. Similarly, we are all ruining the properties of green tea, which should never be heated to over 150-160 degrees. With the boiling temp of water at 212, we are basically murdering those leaves every time we heat the kettle to a boil and pour over them.

Bouley also shared some facts that I had never heard before. He explained that our plants have changed, and as a result, the gluten that we develop from our wheat has changed as well. While gluten for wheat used to be primarily water-soluble and easy for our body to digest, it is now mainly fat-soluble, making it more difficult for our body to process. This is why gluten has become increasingly difficult for people to digest comfortably, and helps explains why those without a known gluten allergy still feel better when they forgo eating gluten.


Inside Bouley Botanical

Trained in pastry, Chef Bouley has been working on using alternative plants to make breads and chips. He gave us a chip made out of kuzu – the leaves of a flowering vine given to the United States by the Japanese – topped with a kind of cheese and truffle oil: simply delicious.

Chef Bouley has educated himself not only on how to best consume all of what nature can give us, but has also studied the ways in which science can enhance what nature provides. He drinks only kangen water, which is ionized to a pH value of 9.5. According to Bouley, water with a pH of 9.5 is the optimum water for human consumption because it does all the things that water is really supposed to do for the human body. It detoxifies and washes away toxins we’ve taken in, it hydrates our cells and it provides us with the oxygen and hydrogen molecules our body needs.

Keeping with the health focus, next on the horizon for Chef Bouley is a plan to educate and help the general population get the most out of natural products. He is filming the production of what he calls “Building Blocks: Ingredients in a Living Pantry” to show consumers how to best use food products to make quality, nutritious and efficient meals at home.


Examples of these building blocks include showing viewers how to roast fresh garlic to the appropriate “blonde caramel” stage and then use that product to make garlic puree and garlic oils, which can be used in a number of applications. Others examples include demos for parsley water, various applications for vanilla and the many ways to use herbs in cooking. The shorts are beautifully filmed in-house at Bouley Botanicals and are hugely inspiring, showing what a master does to get the best of his ingredients. Bouley sees this living pantry as a way of prepping the mise en place for all your meals, of preserving ingredients that can go bad, and most importantly, of providing the highest amount of nutrients and flavor with the most reasonable amount of effort.

Bouley offered some particularly ingenious examples, including using onion puree to thicken a sauce rather than flour or cornstarch. It’s both healthier for you and delivers far more flavor—sheer brilliance. He also recommends drizzling a tomato with a little garlic oil and vanilla oil, and then taking a bite. I haven’t done it yet, but he claims it will be one of the best things we have ever eaten.

Over the course of his talk, Chef Bouley clearly communicated some sound advice for those of us pursuing a career in food. First: our careers are ever-evolving, so we should never feel boxed in. There is always room for growth and experimentation, both in the kitchen and beyond. Second: it is very important to learn as much as we can about the ingredients we intend to use, whether in a restaurant kitchen or our own home cooking. Even though I plan to pursue a career in desserts, not generally thought of as the “healthiest” part of a person’s diet, Chef Bouley has inspired me to learn as much as I can about my ingredients in order to deliver the best flavor and value to my guests.


By Grace Reynolds

ICE alum Jim Nawn is the owner of Agricola, a self-described “community eatery” located in Princeton, NJ. The restaurant celebrates the creation of fresh, wholesome food, using locally sourced ingredients as often as possible. Nawn–who has already received acclaim from the New York Times—graciously agreed to share his story with us this past month, offering some key insights into his successful new business.

Courtesy of

Jim Nawn (left), owner of Agricola, with executive chef Josh Thomsen, courtesy of

What were you doing before you enrolled at ICE? And what sparked your decision to attend culinary school?

I was an area developer for Panera Bread, owning and operating 37 bakery cafes in northern New Jersey. I sold my Panera business and chose to attend culinary school to learn about food. I had no immediate plan to open my own restaurant and no real personal passion for cooking at the outset. It was a learning exercise to start. I anticipated it would lead to what was right, and it has.
Where was your externship, and where have you worked since graduating?

My externship was at Veritas. I selected the site because Sam Hazen was recommended as a experienced chef/business person who ran a good operation. My time there gave me insights into a commercial kitchen at a 3-star restaurant and provided a vision for my own restaurant operation.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I formulated my restaurant concept from the Culinary Arts and Culinary Management programs which I completed. It married my experience with a national brand with the local/community flavor important in Princeton. Synergizing the many considerations into a functioning 200 seat restaurant was a major accomplishment.

Courtesy of Agricola Eatery

Courtesy of

What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your time in the industry?

1 – Food cost and labor costs must be in control. 2 – Every guest has a different expectation and, while one cannot be all things to all people, the restaurant must be crystal clear in what its personality is and deliver on that consistently.

Briefly describe a day in your current working life.

As the owner, I am active and working with my front of house and kitchen team every day. After 10 months we still spend time on finalizing routines in operations, but we are shifting now beyond the basics to establishing every day strategies/opportunities to make our guests feel special.

What might people be surprised to learn about your job?

Agricola is a successful business, but I never stop worrying about the people and systems that run the business—which is the engine that drives the outcome. One cannot focus on the bottom line alone; the people and systems are what keep me up at night.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to know that Agricola is producing a consistent, outstanding guest experience. But if the opportunity presents itself, there could be room for another restaurant in our group serving the same outstanding experience, which has given growth and development opportunity to my team.



By Liz Castner

One thing that certainly draws people to culinary school is the fact that the emphasis is on learning, not letter grades. At ICE, this also holds true in our business-focused programs, like Culinary Management, which is essentially a small, college-level seminar for the restaurant industry.

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That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of work to be done, however. As a class, we just finished taking our ServSafe certification test and are awaiting our results. Here in New York City, the NYC Food Handler’s license may reign supreme, but the great thing about ServSafe is that it is recognized throughout the US. Even if you end up staying in New York, passing the ServSafe test means you will have no difficulty getting your NYC Food Handler’s license.

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ICE instructor Stephen Zagor leading a culinary management lecture

Being ServSafe certified means that you have been trained in food safety and have a certificate documenting that training. This process is essential if you want to be a manager in the food service industry, as food safety is far more complicated than just learning to wash your hands. We studied the various viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi that can cause food-borne illness, and learned how to properly train staff about preventing contamination. Culinary Arts Chef Instructor Ted Siegel also taught us about safely receiving and storing meat and fish, as well as how to determine if the animal protein in question is in good condition. Finally, we learned how to purchase the best equipment to ensure food safety.

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Culinary Management student presentation

After learning these skills, I feel like I have a lot more restaurant industry knowledge to help me as I move forward in my career. For example, did you know that unless a countertop deep fryer has legs, you can’t use it? Or that there’s a type of bacteria leading to food-borne illness that can trigger a miscarriage in a pregnant woman? Knowing about these types of issues is essential for those in the food service industry, as it ensures customers’ safety.

While safety is key, the Culinary Management program covers a number of other important topics as well. Our four-hour classes are each broken into two-hour segments. During the second half of class, we have been focusing on marketing—which actually encompasses more than you might think. In addition to learning about advertising, public relations and promotions, we have also been learning about opening strategies, following trends, creating a brand promise and a positioning statement, and performing a competitive analysis.

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While learning all of these facts takes a lot of focus, the task I’m working on lately is the most challenging of all: completing a marketing plan outline. It’s one thing to learn cold facts, but applying them to your own hypothetical business is another level entirely!

So here I sit, staring at my laptop, wondering how to devise an opening strategy for a wine bar. While I won’t get a grade for this assignment, the pressure is still on—because better than the feeling of any “A+” is knowing that I’m fully prepared to open my own business.


By Richard Vayda

What exactly makes a “Top Chef”? Well, you could win a contest on a popular TV show, or perhaps run top rated restaurants—or better yet, both. During ICE’s ongoing Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs lecture series, ICE students, instructors and guests were fortunate enough to hear Top Chef winner and highly-regarded restaurateur, Harold Dieterle, share his experience.


Born in Long Island and educated in New York, Dieterle’s background presents an appealing scenario to aspiring chefs and restaurateurs, especially for our students who come from the New York area. His work history includes stints at well-known Manhattan spots, including 1770 House and The Harrison. He explained that his early interest in food came from helping with family suppers of traditional Italian and German fare. Dieterle claims to have polished his skills further in his high school Home Economics class (and also confessed that he thought it was a great place to meet girls).

Relying on his experience cooking and working in the food service industry, Dieterle competed and won the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef in 2006. Yet, given his multiple successes since then, this fact barely came up in our conversation. The year following his Top Chef win, Dieterle opened his first restaurant, Perilla, with partner Alicia Nosenzo. When asked about financing this initial venture, Harold remarked that, despite his success on Top Chef, it still took a good year to pull the funding together. Winning the TV contest certainly made opening a restaurant easier, but investors are still generally wary of investing in a restaurant unless its owner can point to previous successes. “You have to be able to sell yourself to secure investor funds,” Dieterle stressed.

When it came to discussing the development of his three West Village restaurants and the challenges posed by each—specifically, juggling his time between them—Chef Dieterle had some very practical advice. The partners wanted to develop businesses where they knew their audience and could better cater to their needs, hence the same neighborhood location. Perilla (New American with Asian Accents) is the more casual place for locals, having many regular clients that return frequently. Kin Shop (contemporary Thai Cuisine) was given 2 stars by the New York Times and was born from his interest and travels to Thailand, whereas The Marrow (contemporary German and Italian cuisine) taps into his family roots. From a logistical standpoint, having the restaurants located within walking distance of each other made them easier to manage. Still, an owner has to spend the time where it is most needed. The Marrow, being the youngest and perhaps most complicated sibling, gets the majority of Dieterle’s attention, while the more mature Kin Shop runs like a well-oiled machine.

Harold was also very candid about some of the more practical aspects of food service, such as cost percentages and lease negotiations—highly deliberated topics in Culinary Management classes. “Kin Shop may have a better food cost percent, but one of the other operations is more profitable.” “Our first lease, we probably paid more than we should have and the construction was difficult, but it was a good experience that made the next negotiations easier.”

Further, Dieterle offered some earnest insights into relationships with partners and investors, concerns that are often discussed among graduating ICE students. According to Harold, communication, honesty, trust and maintaining the business focus are key to good associations. Harold worked with his partner, Alicia, at one of their earlier restaurant experiences were she was Director of Operations. They knew each others’ skills and they brought complementing talents to the table. Frequent meetings about each others’ business activities and problems keep the discussions centered and forward-moving. Concerning investors, he advised searching for people that want to be part of the business for the right reason and to maintain frank and open communication.

After this fast moving and varied discussion, Harold was asked if he had a final thought to leave with aspiring entrepreneurs, something that might help them when the road gets tough. His advice: “Keep focused, keep inspired. That’s what keeps you going.”


By Liz Castner


My first thought on day one of the Culinary Management program was, “Oh boy.” As in—oh boy, eleven textbooks is kind of a lot. Oh boy, this is a room of people I’ve never seen before. Oh boy, this is the thickest information packet of all time. Oh boy, I have a lot to learn.


By contrast, my thoughts on the first day of my Pastry & Baking Arts class were something along the lines of: “Yay! Finally!” But today, a month into management, I’ve learned to accepted this contrast between my passion-driven approach to pastry and my practicality-driven attitude towards management. In fact, I’d be quite surprised if at the age of 24 I suddenly discovered an unrealized fire raging in my heart for economics or finance.


Liz Castner

From day one of “CMD“—as we ICE students call Culinary Management—we dove straight into our work. We split the class in terms of the type of restaurant concept each student wanted to pursue, with myself and two other women interested in launching bakery/pastry shop working in a group. Over the course of the next few classes, we examined different aspects of our chosen restaurant concept and learned how just one misstep, like a poorly chosen location or the ability to only operate at certain times of day, can lead to going out of business. We also went on two field trips to two very different businesses. For each location, we were asked to think about what type of restaurant concept we thought would best work in the space, based on the information we had learned.


Another highlight of the CMD program is access to a team of several different instructors, as well as guest speakers. Hearing multiple points of view from experienced professionals—not to mention those of my classmates—has made for an intense learning experience. I have definitely gained a newfound appreciation for what it takes to succeed in the food industry.


As my awareness has grown, my initial business concept has evolved in several ways. It has grown from a simple bakery and cake shop to a sleek, Northern Californian dessert bar with dishes designed to pair with specific wines and beers. As a self-declared wine lover, I would ideally partner was a vineyard and create seasonal desserts to pair with their wines. I would like to feature select beers to match with the desserts as well. Expanding on the idea, I would like to provide customers with a take-home experience, allowing them to order a cake, paired with a bottle of wine, to pick up at their convenience.IMG_2514

Other exciting thoughts I’m currently toying with include: tasting flights, dessert pairing and baking classes, and catering or hosting special events. I also like the idea of creating wedding cakes designed to pair with the bride and groom’s signature drink, whether it be a glass of champagne, a cocktail, or a wine from our potential vineyard partner.


As you can see, the hesitation I felt the first day of Culinary Management class has now been replaced by excitement. I feel very passionate about this restaurant concept and am determined to educate myself as thoroughly as possible in order to make it a reality. My concept presentation is in two weeks—stay tuned to hear how it goes!

Every year, ICE’s Culinary Management program hosts a one-of-a-kind series of lectures called Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs, during which a wide range of successful culinary business leaders and luminaries share their expertise with students and guests. Yesterday, Howard Greenstone of Rosa Mexicano restaurants came to ICE to discuss his experience helping grow and develop what is now an international restaurant group specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine with the Culinary Management students. More…

Summer break is here!  While, in my previous school experience, summer break meant at least two months off, this time, it means the first week of July off. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? We’ve been doing so much in school, I could definitely use some time to catch up on something I call sleep.

In the past few weeks, we learned about financing a restaurant and setting up the corporate structure. When Simon and I opened up Macaron Parlour, I felt like I looked through hundreds of descriptions of corporate structures and was still confused. For example, why open as an LLC when we have to determine what other corporate structure we want to be taxed as? What is an S-Corp? I’m not going to lie, it’s still a little confusing, but I’m glad we covered it in class.

ICE alum Jason Apfelbaum from Chef & Co. also stopped by to chat. He said that a single class speaker who came in 1998 to speak to his culinary management class influenced him so much, his dream expanded from buying a small hotel to starting a catering business out of his apartment. That business eventually became Chef & Co and from there, Jason has been all over the place — from opening Cibo Expresses in Delta airports, to being a partner in Guerilla Culinary Brigade and opening pop-up restaurants. He is a prime example of how expansive the food industry is. More…

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