By Lauren Jessen­—Culinary Arts/Culinary Management ‘16

As a student enrolled in a dual-diploma program at ICE, I juggled a schedule for both the Culinary Arts and Culinary Management programs. Three days a week, I had management classes from 8AM to 12PM and then quickly I’d have to change for my 1PM culinary arts class, which ran until 5PM. On the days I didn’t have management classes, I would spend my mornings working on reading and classwork for management, and then the remainder of my day honing my cooking skills in class.

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Once my Culinary Arts program ended, I had one month left of my management classes. The catch? I had just two weeks until I had to start my externship in a fast-paced NYC restaurant. This meant I had to build my management class business plan—the culmination of the Culinary Management program—with a full work schedule. My externship schedule was anything but lax. I worked in the restaurant’s kitchen five days a week—being smart with my time was more important than ever. While I had reading, presentations to deliver and business plans to develop for my management class, I also wanted to do a great job at my externship.

When situations like this happen, time management is crucial. Here are four ways I managed my time between my management class and externship:

  1. Plan ahead. If you know you’re going to be busy in the near future, work extra hard ahead of time to accomplish as much as you can beforehand. This way, when you’re tired and busy during your externship, you’ll feel better knowing that a solid chunk of your work is already done.
  2. Use free hours wisely. Some days I would have a full morning of class and then run to work to start my shift at 1PM, leaving barely any free time in the day. On the days you don’t have class or if you work a morning shift and get out relatively early in the evening, make use of that time by working on your business plan or putting together your presentations for class. Set aside one or two hours during your non-work/class hours to get your important work done.
  3. Focus on one task at a time. At times, the workload of two programs may feel overwhelming. But working step-by-step and checking off small tasks systematically, rather than procrastinating and scrambling to get things done at the very end, will feel more manageable and the payoff is huge.
  4. Prioritize your health. Throughout my management class, my instructor would always tell us to take care of ourselves. Working in the restaurant industry can be physically tiring and the long hours aren’t conducive to good health. When balancing a schedule of working and going to school, rest when you can and don’t neglect down time. If you burn out or get sick you won’t be able to go to class, do your work, or excel at your job.

Ready to launch your culinary career? Click here to learn more about our career programs.

By Caitlin Gunther

One of the great things about studying at ICE is the wealth of experience that each instructor brings to the curriculum. Culinary Management instructor Alan Someck is no exception. As general manager of two perpetually packed Long Island restaurants for decades, Alan developed an understanding of what makes a restaurant not only successful but an integral part of the community. Between this role and his years of consulting work, Alan has the kind of expertise that only comes with time and the opportunity to study changing trends in the industry. At ICE, Alan shares his insights with each aspiring restaurant owner or food business entrepreneur who walks into his classroom.

Alan Someck

A native New Yorker with the restaurant industry in his blood (his father owned a seafood restaurant in Brooklyn), Alan didn’t initially gravitate toward the culinary world. It wasn’t until after college when he moved to San Diego that Alan was inspired to join the food industry. With a shared desire for local, fresh produce, Alan and friends began a food co-op—a small operation where members would assemble in someone’s backyard and handpick their weekly produce. The co-op, which doubled as a community center, grew until it eventually relocated to a larger space that was previously a pool and dance hall. It was during this era that Alan learned to tap into local needs and organize ways to meet them.

Though he loved the Golden State, Alan eventually relocated back east, where he took the helm of two popular North Fork restaurants, both called Millie’s Place. Recognizing that the restaurant space had evolved into more than a place to eat, but rather, an extension of people’s homes, Alan infused Millie’s Place with the same sense of community that he helped to create in the San Diego food co-op.

Alan Someck and student

Alan with ICE graduate

Asked about the lessons gleaned from his time running Millie’s Place, Alan says, “Hook into the community. Get involved and create relationships with customers.” This entails everything from getting to know your customers by name to giving back to the community—Alan’s staff used to cook Thanksgiving dinners for seniors in the area. A second lesson is to observe what’s going on in the industry. Alan explains, “Once a week, I would go out to another restaurant. Go to restaurants and food shows and learn from them. Your food should adapt to the current trends.” Alan’s final piece of advice? Choose the right location. More specifically: a location that fits your concept. This and other vital elements involved in launching a food business or restaurant are the kinds of discussions that Alan has with each of his students. Says Alan, “I start with the premise of, ‘What’s the experience you want to create?’ Let’s work backward from that.”

With New York City as a backdrop for his classes, Alan is also able to incorporate local restaurants and entrepreneurs into his curriculum. From a guest lecture by Gabrielle Hamilton, author and chef/owner of the acclaimed East Village restaurant Prune, to a field trip into the bakery of Amy’s Bread, guided by owner and ICE alum Amy Scherber, Alan ensures that his students receive a comprehensive food business education.

Today, Alan continues to advise restaurant startups, franchises and restaurants aiming to solve operational conundrums. An avid cultural observer, especially when it comes to the way people eat, Alan keeps a constant pulse on the evolving food industry. Whether inside of the classroom or out, Alan is inspiring the next generation of food visionaries and helping to make their lofty business dreams a (profitable) reality.

Want to study with Alan and start mapping out your own food business? Click here to learn more about our Culinary Management program.

By Caitlin Gunther

Where do you see yourself in ten years? That’s the question Chloe Vichot (Culinary Management ’15) heard when she was interviewing for admission to business schools after graduating from high school. Though she didn’t say it aloud, in her head the answer was clear—owning a restaurant. A successful career in finance and an ICE Culinary Management diploma later, the Paris native is on the cusp of realizing that dream in New York City. This fall, she will open the doors to Ancolie, a Greenwich Village grab-and-go eatery, where glass jars will be the eco-friendly packaging of choice. Serving fresh takes on the seasonal, home-cooked meals she grew up eating, Chloe is sharing her culinary voice with downtown Manhattan.


In the midst of juggling the roles involved in opening a restaurant, Chloe sat down with us to answer the ICE alum questionnaire.

ICE graduation year: July 2015 (Culinary Management)

Location: New York, New York

Occupation: Founder of Ancolie, a restaurant with a grab-and-go concept that will open in the fall of 2016. It’s going to be in Greenwich Village in the NYU area. I chose this location, rather than midtown, because I wanted to be close to the student life. And people will come in the morning, evening and weekends.

Favorite sandwich spot: Tartinery in Nolita. They have open-faced sandwiches that I love…and there’s also a location in ICE’s building, Brookfield Place.

Describe a day in the life.
My life changes every day—one day I’m cooking for an event, another day I have to deal with the contractors and construction, another day I have to talk to my interior designer and make sure the plans are on track. Other days I have to take care of social media. There’s a lot of multitasking and wearing different hats in a single day. Then I’m also trying to plan ahead for all the things we’ll need once the store opens, which is challenging.

Did the management program at ICE prepare you for making these decisions?
Absolutely! Being with professionals from the industry who have done this for more than 20 years was fantastic. I was able to learn from professionals who have seen a lot of concepts and know the industry trends. I could pitch them my concept and get valuable feedback. And with three professors, I had more than one opinion.

What is your culinary voice?
I took recreational culinary courses, but I never considered myself a chef. I considered myself a businesswoman and someone who wanted to create a new concept, with a goal to touch people through food. Originally, I thought I would have a professional chef at Ancolie, but as the days went by, I realized that I was going to be the chef…it’s been an interesting transition.

My culinary voice comes from what I grew up eating and what my mother and grandmother taught me. I was lucky not to have to worry about what I was eating growing up—because my family was always cautious about picking the right ingredients and in the right proportions. So I’m trying to bring this culture to the U.S.: to enjoy food and find a balance.


What or who inspired you to go to culinary school?
I always dreamed of having a restaurant. I started with an amateur cooking course, and at the time I wasn’t even considering quitting my job in finance. The course made me so happy and excited that I realized I wanted to switch from finance to the food world. When I decided to take the Culinary Management program at ICE, I think I had just had a fight with my team at work, and it made me consider what I wanted to do with my life. I was married and going to have children at some point, so if I was working and had kids I wanted to make sure I was doing something I was passionate about, and I knew finance was not that. So I started thinking—could I do something in food, but something more daytime-oriented for when I have a family? I started the ICE program knowing I wanted to do something in food but not sure what. The program helped me confirm that the food business is what I wanted to do and that I could do it by myself.

After graduating from ICE, I worked in a restaurant in front of house for a couple of months. I thought I’d have to gain a couple years’ experience, but then I realized it was time to just to do it. I’d never be totally prepared to open a food business, so I decided to jump in the water and do it.

Thoughts on the current culinary landscape?
I’m very inspired by what’s happening in the current culinary landscape, especially the focus on eating locally and seasonally. Dan Barber is an inspiration – he is trying to reuse things that are typically thrown away.
I think the culinary world needs to take the next step and focus on packaging. Ancolie is going in the right direction by using glass instead of plastic. Every time I talk to a restaurateur, they think I’m crazy and wasting money, but I think more people will start using glass and reusable packaging.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I would really love to have a couple of Ancolie stores in the city and an operation that is successful. To me, success means making a difference in the local community and the environment—which is why I’m using glass, so people don’t need to throw away their packaging. Success also means making sure my investors are happy with their investment. And of course, I want happy customers. I feel like I’m finally on track to realizing my dream.


Ready to start your own food business? Check out our Culinary Management program and find your culinary voice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Grace Reynolds, Culinary Management Student

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

Restaurant Consulting Empire State

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

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

Restaurant Kitchen-8

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

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

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

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

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

By Carly DeFilippo

From 17-year-old high school grads to former doctors, artists and executives, ICE students come from all walks of life. In the case of Brooklyn native Christian Souvenir, it took many years in the military before the desire to attend culinary school took hold.

The switch from government intelligence work to cooking may seem like a drastic change, but Christian’s disciplined background is serving him well in the kitchen. Since graduating from ICE’s Culinary Arts program in 2011, he has worked in some of Brooklyn’s most innovative new restaurants, including Nightingale 9 and French Louie, growing his love for a new kind of service.

Thanks to ICE’s flexible scheduling options, Christian is able to continue kitchen work while pursuing a second ICE diploma in Culinary Management. “I love cooking in restaurants,” Christian explains. “But I saw myself on this path where I could potentially be in charge of people and not have the tools to help them get better. What I’ve learned in management is helping me form what I want in my eventual restaurant, and what I want for myself as a leader. That is so important.”

To learn how ICE’s Culinary Management program prepares grads to own or operate culinary businesses, click here. For more information about the range of active duty, reserve and veteran’s benefits available to ICE students, click here.


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

Today, it’s nearly impossible to remember a time before food media stars and celebrity chefs. But, in fact, many of the most respected restaurant industry pioneers grew up knowing that their parents and friends looked down on their career choice.

Such was the case for Brian Buckley, ICE’s first Culinary Management instructor. After more than 35 years in the industry, Brian has seen it all—and he’s having the last laugh. “After college, I tried working a normal job writing advertising copy, but after a year, a friend told me about a really good bartending gig. I realized I could make way more money doing something I liked! My parents were totally freaked out and begged me to go to law school, but I was smart enough to see that there was a real possibility to make a name for myself in the restaurant business.”

To structure his culinary education, Brian strategically worked a wide range of positions in every kind of food establishment imaginable—from three-star Michelin restaurants to dive bars. “It was a real awakening because I saw different aspects of the industry, and I learned a lot about the people management side of the industry.” Then, about 10 years into his career, Brian decided to advance his skills by enrolling in the culinary arts career program at ICE (then known as Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School).

Watch Brian explain the concept of “food cost” in our restaurant success video series:

“After 10 years in the business, I thought I knew everything,” Brian explains, “but ICE made me aware of so many more aspects of the industry—it kicked my butt.” The experience also stoked Brian’s entrepreneurial fire, and he started researching possibilities for an Italian steakhouse concept. At the same time, Brian’s network of contacts started reaching out with various consulting opportunities.

Brian credits his ICE diploma as the primary driver behind this unexpected consulting business. From developing a series of chicken recipes to establishing strategies for staff training, there was nothing he wasn’t recruited to do. “After about the third or fourth consulting gig, people starting telling me I was good at it. So I printed up some business cards and, 25 years later, I’m still consulting for a living.”

As a consultant, Brian has worked with everyone from California cuisine innovator Wolfgang Puck to the Food Network, Kitchen Arts & Letters, Cook’s Illustrated and even a wildly successful New York City Penn Station bar and grill called “Tracks.” “I’ve done every job in hospitality except valet parking,” jokes Brian. “If I saw that I could learn something new, I took the job.”

Watch Brian report in as an expert on breaking food safety news on CBS:

That diverse range of experience made Brian the ideal candidate for teaching, which is how he became the first instructor in ICE’s Culinary Management program. Sixteen years into teaching, the program has an incredible roster of alumni, including successful restaurateurs, specialty food retailers and food marketing professionals.

“It’s such a positive experience to work at ICE, and I love the students,” Brian notes. “For someone like me who has an insatiable appetite for learning, the ability to walk down the hall and see Michael Laiskonis working on chocolate or to have Chef Chris Gesualdi say, ‘Here, taste this sauce…’—that’s the dream.”

Brian’s advice for his students is to take the long view: “Your first project may not be your dream project, but it may help you establish your reputation or raise financing. You never know where this career will take you, so intentionally learn things you don’t need for your current job. With the nature of this business, there’s no skill that you won’t use at some point.”

Ready to boost your entrepreneurial skill set? Study with Brian in ICE’s Culinary Management program.

By Grace Reynolds—Student, School of Culinary Management

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

Culinary Management Graduation

Celebrating graduation with my Culinary Management classmates

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

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

Restaurant Management Program at ICE

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

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

Food Entrepreneur Speaker

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

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


By Lizzie Powell—Student, School of Culinary Arts and Culinary Management 

It’s been two months since I started class at ICE, and from butchering nearly every type of protein, to learning how to properly sauté, grill, roast, poach and steam, to exploring the financial side of culinary business, I can confidently say I’ve learned a lot.

But I’m not just learning how to do all these things. I’m learning the why behind everything as well. No matter what my question is (and I ask quite a few!), the teachers at ICE are incredibly knowledgeable about the topic at hand, and every task we take on in class has a strategic educational purpose. For example, in Module 1 of Culinary Arts, my classmates and I joked that Chef Ted had an encyclopedia for a brain—ask him any question and he knows the answer to it and more. The same goes for my Culinary Management instructor, Steve Zagor. He has an endless supply of industry stories that provide tangible lessons about running a culinary business—making our classes a series of hilarious and informative parables!

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ICE Instructors Ted Siegel and Steve Zagor

Learning how to cook professionally and manage the business side of restaurants at ICE has taught me more about efficiency and waste than I ever thought possible. Take my home cooking habits as an example. Since starting school, I’ve learned I wasn’t cooking nearly as efficiently as I could’ve been in my own kitchen. Sure, I would think through cooking times and what ingredients I needed, but I never made a mise en place list or production schedule before I turned on the stove or oven. As obvious as it may sound to some, doing these simple things has helped me transform into a more strategic, efficient and methodical home cook.

Yet this education goes far beyond reinventing my own home cooking strategy. I’ve discovered that successful restaurant management (see: keeping the rent paid and the lights on) depends on the business skills of the back-of-the-house (BOH) staff. This is because the BOH must help control “food cost,” an essential formula that guides the strategy of any restaurant management team. In simple terms, food cost is the difference between the amount it costs a restaurant to make a menu item and the price a customer pays for that item. If the kitchen knows how to use every bit of edible food that is bought for production, the management team gets more bang for their buck and, in turn, more money is generated to invest in the restaurant’s future.

Salmon Fabrication - Culinary Arts - Institute of Culinary Education

In short, this means that cooks can’t just show up to work and use the prime cuts, the pretty carrots, etc. A good cook—and certainly a chef—is a smart, efficient worker who has mastered strategies for reducing food waste. As a practical example: the other day, I had the chance to fabricate a whole salmon. The goal was to get eight fillets from the whole fish, but even after fabricating the fish, there was still some salmon meat left—called “edible trimmings.” For any food business, the smart thing to do is to take those edible bits and make, say, salmon tartare, turning that potential waste into an elegant appetizer (and a moneymaker!).

Salmon - portioned - Institute of Culinary Education - Fish- Fabrication - Butchery

At this point, you may be wondering just how I’ve learned this much in just two months. While ICE offers flexible schedules for students who are still working full-time, I’ve been pursuing a full class schedule at ICE—meeting every weekday afternoon for Culinary Arts and three mornings a week for Culinary Management. What’s great is that the course times allow me to complete both programs at once, which means I can finish my diplomas and start my new career in food as soon as I possibly can.

It’s a lot of hard work and takes a lot of commitment, but I wouldn’t change a single thing about taking this leap into culinary school. Just like ICE is teaching me how to work efficiently in the kitchen, they’ve taken the same approach to their curriculum. For a career changer, the fact that I can gain both kitchen and business skills in only seven months is key, and I know I’ll be able to hit the ground running after graduation.

Click here to learn more about ICE’s “double diploma” in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management.

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