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.
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.
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.