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.

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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…

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