What aspiring baker hasn’t admired Martha Stewart’s meticulously crafted desserts and dishes—or dreamed of exploring her farm and studio spaces? Three ICE students recently had the pleasure to experience both when they were invited to join Martha in her kitchen for a special episode of Martha Bakes. Now in its sixth season, Martha Bakes is an Emmy®-nominated teaching show on PBS filmed on location at her farm in Bedford, NY.

ICE Students join Martha Stewart for an episode of Martha Bakes | Institute of Culinary Education

Amy Simidian (left), Gina Ansaldo (center) and Denise Flores (right) make frangipane with Martha Stewart on the set of Martha Bakes.

Each episode of the show introduces viewers to a new baking tip or technique. “The sixth season of the show is particularly special to me, with talented culinary students joining me on each episode,” said Martha. “Every season is meant to inspire and educate, and the sixth season has even more of my favorite recipes and techniques.”

ICE students Gina Ansaldo, Amy Simidian and Denise Flores stepped on set to help Martha prepare various types of frangipane, a sweet nut cream found in many popular baked goods, to fill different recipes such as coffee cake, an apricot tart, a classic English bakewell tart and Bostock, a well-loved French pastry.

But the real lessons came from beyond the kitchen. Says Gina, “My experience with Martha was priceless. [She] taught us that hard work pays off and no goal is impossible to reach. She had an incredible farm, multiple chicken coops, several test kitchens for filming and an amazing team that works with her every day. Seeing that has taught me that if you push yourself and work for what you want, you can obtain your goals and aspirations. It was definitely a day I will never forget.”

Learn more about opportunities to work alongside culinary luminaries and network at ICE. Click here to get information about our School of Pastry & Baking Arts.


ICE was once again the proud host of the pastry industry’s sweetest night, welcoming Dessert Professional’s 2016 Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America Awards. With a beautiful sunset and the Hudson River as a backdrop, hundreds of guests filled our halls to celebrate the talents and artistry of this year’s winners.

Dessert Professional Magazine Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America Awards 2016 Institute of Culinary Education

From homey treats (gourmet cookies and rice crispy squares from Willa Jean’s Kelly Fields) and playful presentations (push-pop trifles from Franck Iglesias of Foxwoods Resort Casino) to the truly transformational (a fine dining presentation of a Duncan Hines mix from Joseph DiPaulo Jr. of Pinnacle Foods), the 2016 selection was a dynamic bunch that demonstrated the wide range of tastes and techniques today’s pastry chefs must master to stay at the top of their game.

Dessert Professional Magazine Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America Awards 2016 Institute of Culinary Education

For ICE students interested in practicing pastry, the event is also rife with opportunity to network and pick up new skills. With each of the ten chefs preparing multiple desserts en masse, our students serve as an essential support for the honorees, prepping and plating dishes. At the same time, the event gives them the opportunity to connect with the industry’s current leaders. ICE student (and 2016 US Pastry Competition silver medalist) Pooja Jhunjhunwala had the chance to work with several of the chefs throughout the evening: “Working with amazingly creative chefs like Chef Scott Green, Chef Jean-Marc Viallet and Chef Robert Nieto on a one-on-one basis and seeing the fabulous work of all the chefs was such an educational experience. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to be part of this event—definitely worth a repeat!”

Dessert Professional Magazine Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America Awards 2016 Institute of Culinary Education student volunteers pastry school

With the wealth of talent the winners brought to the school and a seemingly endless array of sweets, it was certainly a sensational night at ICE. Check out more photos from the event below, and click here to find out more about the networking and volunteering opportunities available to ICE students.


By Lana Schwartz—Student, School of Culinary Arts

As a culinary school student, I spend most of my weeknights catching up on laundry, going to the gym or making dinner plans with friends. Last month, when ICE Chef Instructor Jenny McCoy approached my classmates and I in our sunny student lounge, my Wednesday night plans got a significant upgrade.

Top 10 Chocolatiers Dessert Professional

Chef Jenny was recruiting students to support a showcase for North America’s “Top 10 Chocolatiers,” an event hosted by Dessert Professional magazine with a guest list of 250+ industry insiders. As a Culinary Arts student, I haven’t worked much with chocolate, so I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about this growing industry.

Over the next few hours, I was exposed to an incredible level of talent. The diversity and creativity expressed through chocolate was inspiring from any culinary perspective. Self-expression reigned—from the vegan chocolatier who avoids milk products to a Mexican pastry chef infusing flavors of fruits and spices into his creations.

Top 10 Chocolatiers Dessert Professional

Beyond the obvious decadence and delicious tastings at this event, it was a fantastic opportunity to network with culinary professionals. When I started school, I knew that being in New York City would offer the perks of relationship building, but I never anticipated that I would have the chance to interact with so many industry professionals, exchanging experiences, ideas and contact information.

The event emphasized why I love being a part of the ICE community. Every person who attends school here shares a passion for food, but collectively, we are greater than that. As culinary, pastry, management and hospitality students, we have chosen to dedicate our lives to creating moments of joy and memories filled with happiness for others.


By volunteering at the Top 10 Chocolatiers event I had the opportunity to do just that, and I found clarity in the experience. What’s more, the award-winning chocolatiers were grateful for the extra hands, allowing them to take a moment to celebrate their moment of joy while simultaneously providing a top-notch experience for all the event’s guests.

I say with confidence that while this was my first volunteer experience as an ICE student, it won’t be my last!

Click here to learn more about networking and volunteering opportunities for ICE students.

This past Monday night, ICE’s Career Services Department held a social and networking event for career program alumni. The venue was Beerparc, part of Foodparc in the new Eventi Hotel at 6th Avenue and 29 Street. The Sous-Chef at Beerparc/Foodparc is Brion Wong, an ICE Culinary Arts and Culinary Management alum from 2007. He provided an Oktoberfest spread for the group that included sausages, schnitzel and charcuterie as well as a selection of beers.

I enjoyed reconnecting or meeting many of ICE’s former students. The list includes Jeffery Palma (Culinary Arts/Culinary Management ’08), who is the junior sous-chef at Mario Batali’s restaurant Lupa. Jeffery is now the key cook at Lupa who trains new hires. Jewel John (Culinary Arts ’09) is also a trainer, in this case for Shake Shack. She recently returned from training at Shake shack openings in Dubai and Kuwait. More…

When ICE President Rick Smilow and Anne E. McBride wrote Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food they discovered a plethora of food jobs they had never heard of before. Since the book’s release, they have been discovering even more interesting culinary career paths. DICED shares some of them with you in a reoccurring feature: “Unique Culinary Careers.”

If you live in New York, you may recognize Lauren Shockey as part of the team behind the food section of the Village Voice where she works as a food critic. Her job has her travelling to all corners of the city to taste and sample menus (all while trying to stay incognitio), but Shockey also travelled around the world learning to cook in four very different kitchens in New York City, Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris. She chronicled her experience in the food memoir, Four Kitchens: My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Ten Aviv, and Paris. We sat down and asked her about her experience and her life in the food industry.

How would you describe your job?
I am a staff writer at the Village Voice, the alt-weekly newspaper, where I write a weekly restaurant review and I blog daily about food and restaurant for the paper’s blog, Fork in the Road. I am also the author of Four Kitchens, a just-released culinary memoir of learning to cook in restaurants in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris. More…

Subscribe to the ICE Blog

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notification of new posts via email.