health-supportive culinary arts students

Natural Gourmet Center

Diploma Program

Harvest a Health-Forward Future

The Institute of Culinary Education brings Health-Supportive Culinary Arts career training to the West Coast! Our exclusive curriculum promotes whole foods, nutrition, wellness and sustainability with vegetable-forward recipes inspired by the Natural Gourmet Institute. Health-supportive cooking can optimize plant-based, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, while including instructional exposure to proteins. The program explores food as medicine and diets such as Ayurvedic, macrobiotic, gluten-free or dairy-free.

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Quick Facts

Program duration: 8-12 months
Class times: morning, afternoon, evening
Tuition, Fees & Charges: $35,539.67
Open House: November 18, 6 p.m. Pacific Time

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ICE & Natural Gourmet

America's Best Culinary School* now offers America's first nationally accredited health-supportive, plant-based curriculum. Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D. founded the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in her Upper West Side apartment in 1977, two years after Peter Kump founded his eponymous cooking school (now the Institute of Culinary Education) in his apartment nearby. Both went on to become accredited diploma programs, move to the Flatiron district and change their names. In 2019, the educational institutions collaborated to offer Natural Gourmet Institute's unique health-supportive approach to cooking at ICE's New York and Los Angeles campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. Aspiring chefs and food enthusiasts can explore ICE's fifth and newest career program to customize their education in one of America's culinary capitals.

Assorted plant-based dishes from the Health-Supportive Culinary Arts curriculum

Foundations of the Curriculum

The Natural Gourmet Institute used specific criteria for making mindful and deliberate decisions when sourcing ingredients: whole, fresh, seasonal, traditional, balanced, local and delicious. These seven principles of food selection promote a sustainable food system with regard for natural resources and people while empowering chefs and cooks to lead the conversation about food, wellness and health. This mission is at the foundation of ICE’s new curriculum, which incorporates whole foods, nutrition education, plant-based cooking and meals that heal. The principles extend to the pastry modules, which include flourless, vegan and gluten-free desserts and breads, as well as traditional pastries. 

Students work with sea vegetables in the Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program.

Food & Healing

Food has powerful potential to promote health. The Natural Gourmet Center’s food and healing coursework focuses on how to maximize the health benefits of ingredients and cooking techniques. Eastern and Western food theories and applications are incorporated into interdisciplinary training. Nutrition and health experts lead practical classes and lectures on topics such as soy foods, raw foods and cooking for specific diets, whether Ayurvedic, dairy-free, gluten-free or macrobiotic. See what recent graduates say about the program.

Natural Gourmet Center externships


Students are required to apply the skills and techniques taught in the classroom in professional kitchens or workplaces through a 200-hour externship that completes the program. ICE’s career services division will help you find the best position for developing, learning, gaining work experience and building a professional network in your desired field.

various spices

A Career in Health-Supportive Cuisine

Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI) alumni are known for prominent vegan restaurants, cookbooks, celebrity meal plans and thought leadership on food and health. Aspiring nutritionist consultants, chefs and restaurateurs can all apply health-supportive cooking skills in their careers, and NGI’s holistic, wellness-minded approach to the culinary arts has translated to an array of food-focused career paths. On the West Coast, NGI alum Sara Kramer owns what Refinery29 refers to as “wildly popular Los Angeles restaurant, Kismet;” in the Midwest, NGI alum Cara Mangini founded farmer and produce-focused Little Eater restaurants in Columbus, Ohio; and on the East Coast, NGI alum Amanda Cohen founded NYC’s most notable vegetable-forward restaurant, Dirt Candy.

Health-Supportive Culinary Arts Schedule & Cost

The Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program consists of 632 instructional hours. Students are in the classroom for 432 hours and then complete an externship over the course of 200 hours, acquiring real-world experience in the culinary field.

To provide flexibility, we run several schedule options for our Health-Supportive Culinary Arts diploma, including morning, afternoon and part-time schedules. Choose from schedules that meet from two to five times per week.

  • Hours: Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Cost: $35,539.67
  • Starts: TBD
  • Hours: Mon.-Fri., 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: $35,539.67
  • Starts: Dec 9
  • Hours: Tues.-Thurs., 6-10 p.m.
  • Cost: $35,539.67
  • Starts: TBD

Tuition, Fees & Charges Include:

  • All food
  • Uniforms
  • Books
  • Knives
  • Culinary Tool Kit
  • Application fee
  • All applicable taxes

Take the next step

The admissions process is the start of a lasting relationship with ICE. Your admissions representative will introduce you to the personal experience the school is known for. His or her mission is to understand your career goals, help you select the right program to fit your needs and ensure you find a class schedule that suits your lifestyle.

Why Choose ICE

You know it's in you — the ambition to pursue a rewarding career in food. Attending culinary school is one of the best ways to begin the journey. ICE is ready to help you find your culinary voice.

12 Reasons Why You Should Choose ICE.

International Students

ICE is a hub of multiculturalism. We are proud to have students from over 44 countries, giving our classrooms a unique international character. Los Angeles is a diverse and exciting food city, providing international culinary students with opportunities for vibrant cultural experiences that include access to an array of ethnic restaurants, gourmet markets and culinary resources. It’s no wonder that so many international culinary students have chosen ICE as their passport to a rewarding and successful culinary career.

Learn about International Students at ICE.


Ready to take your interest in ICE further? Speak to an admissions representative about your personal goals, start your application, or download our career brochure so you can access our program information anytime.

Admissions Services

Applying to ICE

ICE Career Brochure

The 632-hour Career Health Supportive Culinary Arts program contains four modules divided into nine courses. The first eight courses are composed of 108 four-hour lessons that are held on campus. The ninth course is an off-site externship.

The program is constructed as follows:

Course 1


52 hours

Focusing on fundamental culinary techniques and criteria for selecting quality ingredients, this course will offer an introduction to the foundation for preparing health-supportive, whole-foods cuisine.

Course highlights:

  • Knife skills training.
  • Principles of food science.
  • Culinary techniques including sauté, roast, blanch, braise and pressure cook.
  • Exploring the health benefits, healing qualities and versatility of sea vegetables and how to prepare them.
  • Dishes include: arame strudel, wakame salad with orange and coconut-lime flan.
Course 2


56 hours

In this course, we continue your education on plant-forward cuisine to include a variety of bean and grain, seitan, stock, soup and sauce preparations. We also teach how to prepare eggs in a variety of savory and sweet applications. 

Course highlights:

  • Identifying and preparing a variety of beans in salads, purees, stews and soups.
  • Identifying and preparing whole grains using various techniques.
  • Preparing vegan and vegetarian stocks using traditional culinary techniques.
  • Preparing vegan and vegetarian versions of mother sauces and other modern vegan sauces.
  • Preparing soups and stews.
  • Preparing soufflés, custards and emulsified sauces.
  • Dishes include: curried red lentil soup with coconut; beet borscht with tofu sour cream; shiitake broth with shrimp, soba and baby bok choy; and baked quinoa with fresh peas and herbs.
Course 3


56 hours

In this course, we prepare soups and stews highlighting whole grains, beans, vegetables and non-dairy alternatives. We teach how protein sources come in a variety of forms – both plant and animal. We also teach how to source and prepare poultry, fish and shellfish, as well as how to prepare soy foods in health-conscience, traditional forms.

Course highlights:

  • Identifying and preparing traditional soy foods, such as tempeh, tofu, edamame, miso, shoyu and tamari.
  • Fabricating and preparing poultry, finfish and shellfish.
  • Making seitan and preparing it in a variety of ways.
  • Plating theory.
  • Dishes include: stuffed poblano chilies with browned tempeh, hazelnut-crusted flounder with mango salsa, and golden turmeric panna cotta with ginger-pepper lace cookies.
Course 4


52 hours

In this course, you will apply your growing command of health-supportive techniques to preparing salads, hors d’oeuvres, pâtés and terrines, and a buffet. In the career realm, you will hone your skills at menu planning and recipe writing while exploring career paths in personal and private cooking, catering and teaching. You will also study theoretical approaches to the energetics of food, factors that impact longevity, and the role of fats, protein and carbohydrates in a healthy, whole-foods diet.

Course highlights:

  • Preparing pâtés and terrines.
  • Preparing salads that showcase whole, seasonal ingredients.
  • Writing and formatting a recipe properly.
  • Learning how to design menus that are nutritious and balanced according to the program’s criteria.
  • Preparing a balanced, health-supportive brunch and buffet menus.
  • Preparing appetizers, entrees and desserts to order.
  • Dishes include: massaged kale salad with roasted chickpeas and pickled red onions, truffled portobello mousse with fig-thyme preserve, and Asian buckwheat noodle salad.
Course 5


56 hours

The quality of our baking and desserts can benefit from using ingredients that are more natural, unprocessed and whole. In this course, we convert conventional baking recipes to alternatives featuring whole-grain flours and less-refined sweeteners, without sacrificing taste or texture. You will also prepare baked goods and desserts that meet special dietary needs, such as vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Course highlights: 

  • Preparing pies, tarts and galettes using vegan ingredients.
  • Baking and decorating cakes.
  • Preparing vegan cookies, puddings and ice creams.
  • Preparing flourless desserts.
  • Understanding how to utilize sugar, butter and white flour alternatives.
  • Dishes include: chocolate cherry pecan bars, ginger cake with lemon coconut cream and black sesame ice cream.
Course 6


52 hours

As you continue to explore the art and science of baking, you will focus on yeasted breads, quick breads, pizza and focaccia with wheat-free and gluten-free options. This course also includes pasta making.

Course highlights: 

  • Preparing quick breads, scones, pancakes, crêpes, waffles and biscuits.
  • Preparing hearth and pan breads.
  • Using alternative flours and ingredients in bread baking.
  • Preparing ravioli, tortellini, fettucine and gnocchi.
  • Preparing and serving a healthful brunch à la minute.
  • Dishes include: herb ravioli with porcini mushroom pesto and tofu ricotta; wild rice pancakes; and bulgur raisin pan bread.
Course 7


52 hours

The link between diet, lifestyle and wellness is well-established, and this course will provide perspectives on this relationship by looking at cardiovascular system health, the microbiome and detoxification systems. On the culinary side, we prepare raw foods, living foods, and spa and retreat specialties. You will also focus on improvisational cooking using seasonal ingredients and developing a vegan, four-course banquet project.

Course highlights:

  • Improvisational cooking.
  • Preparing spa and retreat cuisine.
  • Preparing raw foods.
  • Recipe costing and testing.
  • Dishes include: pomegranate, blueberry and ginger elixir; vegetable and tempeh wraps with avocado-cilantro cream; and Mediterranean roasted black cod with muhammara.
Course 8


56 hours

This course extends the emphasis on integrative health as it explores food and the immune system, kitchen pharmacy, diets designed to promote cancer prevention and treatment support, Ayurveda, and Macrobiotics. You will prepare specialty dishes from Asia, Mexico, India and Italy.

Course highlights:

  • Preparing dishes and meals designed to boost immunity.
  • Preparing Macrobiotic cuisine.
  • Preparing Ayurvedic cuisine.
  • Preparing world cuisine menus.
  • Presenting a four-course vegan banquet.
  • Dishes include: hiziki with carrots, onions and agé tofu; burdock, carrot and onion kimpura; and eggplant buns with fermented plum condiment.
Course 9


200 hours

At the end of their in-class training, all students are assigned an externship. While the Institute of Culinary Education recommends that students extern in restaurant kitchens, they may request venues such as hotels, catering companies, corporate dining rooms or pastry shops in accordance with their professional goals.

Please note: Dishes are examples and are subject to change with curriculum updates, without notice.

At this point, you’ve already decided that you’re interested in a professional future in food and hospitality. But should you attend culinary school, and can you can really afford it?

The ICE Office of Student Financial Services puts an award-winning culinary education within your reach. Our advisors are available six days a week to help make your dream of attending culinary school at ICE a reality. 

Learn more about ICE's Student Financial Services.


ICE provides various scholarship opportunities to assist students on their journey towards a career in food and hospitality. Whether offered by ICE itself, our food industry partners or a vetted list of outside organizations, these scholarships provide students with additional resources to realize their dreams of attending our career training programs. Please be aware of the varying deadlines and application requirements for each individual scholarship. For additional information about any of the available scholarships, feel free to contact our Office of Student Financial Services directly at (888) 826-CHEF or

View all ICE Scholarship Opportunities.

Chef Barbara works with students on recipes from the Natural Gourmet Center.Financial Assistance

ICE offers financial assistance to those students who qualify:

• Private Student Loans
• Payment Plan
• Tuition Flex

To learn more about financing options, feel free to contact our Office of Student Financial Services directly at (888) 826-CHEF or

View all financing options. 

Applying for Financing

Please contact us with any financing questions. We will work closely with you to prepare the necessary forms and documents. 

Learn how to apply for financial assistance at ICE.

In Europe, aspiring chefs learn their trade through culinary apprenticeships. ICE's global teaching perspective takes inspiration from this centuries-old tradition, with our hands-on externship program.

What exactly is an “externship”? Similar in concept to a culinary internship, these paid or unpaid placements are chosen at a student's discretion with the assistance of Career Services Advisors. Each externship is is designed to fit the interests and career goals of the individual student, and externships consistently prove to be an exceptional opportunity for hands-on training and networking at the heart of the industry. What’s more, many externships lead to job offers and full-time employment.

How does the externship program work? The final course of our Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program is a 200-hour externship at a restaurant, bakery or other culinary business.

Proven Results

From 1977 to 2018, the Natural Gourmet Institute graduated more than 2,500 professional chefs from 33 countries who became chefs, entrepreneurs, teachers, nutritionists, authors and even physicians. Meet some of the NGI community's thought leaders:

  • Pablo Garcia, co-founder of, a health coaching business and wellness blog for men.
  • Dustin Harder, host and creator of “The Vegan Roadie” web series, on which he explores vegan businesses and plant-based food across America.
  • Elyse Kopecky, co-author of two cookbook for runners: "Run Fast Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes" and "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes."
  • Stefanie Sacks, certified nutrition specialist and certified dietitian nutritionist, consultant, radio host, blogger and author of “What the Fork Are You Eating?”
  • Bryant Terry, author of "Afro Vegan" and chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco.

The Institute of Culinary Education also has successful alumni serving health-supportive and/or plant-based cuisine:

  • Abbie Gellman (Culinary, '01), dietitian, chef, founder of Culinary Nutrition Cuisine LLC and scientific advisor to Jenny Craig.
  • Vivian Howard (Culinary, '03), chef and owner of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina.
  • Dan Long (Culinary, '04), founder of fast-casual salad chain MAD Greens in Colorado.
  • Cai Pandolfini (Culinary, '03), owner of five locations of plant-based cafe Green & Tonic in Westport, Connecticut.
  • Pnina Peled (Culinary, '00), senior executive chef at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
  • Guy Vaknin (Culinary, '07), founder of Beyond Sushi Inc. in New York City.

Meet a few Natural Gourmet Institute alumni below.

Amanda Cohen is the chef-owner of Dirt Candy.Amanda Cohen is the chef-owner of Dirt Candy, a vegetable-focused restaurant on New York City's Lower East Side, which celebrated 10 years in 2018. The chef features seasonal vegetables as main courses, without a lifestyle or political focus, innovating with constantly changing ingredients.

Chef Cohen is from Ottawa, Canada, and attended the Natural Gourmet Institute's Chef's Training Program in 1998. "NGI really gave me the tools to go into kitchens and feel really comfortable," she said. "And one of the things you start discovering is that everybody who walks into a kitchen really doesn’t know anything. Every kitchen is a new environment. And the school gave me a sense of history with food."

After culinary school, she worked with Bobby Flay and helped open a vegan tea room before debuting Dirt Candy in October 2008. The restaurant had 18 seats for its first seven years before moving to 86 Allen St. in 2015. Dirt Candy has been called "the future of vegetarian restaurants" by the Village Voice; "the absolute best restaurant on the Lower East Side" by New York Magazine; and "one of America's 100 best restaurants for wine" by Wine Enthusiast.

Chef Cohen has competed on "Iron Chef" and appeared as a guest judge on "Top Chef Canada." She wrote "Dirt Candy: A Cookbook," North America’s first graphic novel cookbook, and was one of the first NYC chefs to eliminate tipping and restructure compensation for her staff. Chef Cohen was nominated for a James Beard Award, Best Chef: NYC, in 2014 and 2018.

Tal Ronnen is the chef at Crossroads in LA.
Tal Ronnen photo by Elizabeth Daniels

Tal Ronnen is the chef at Crossroads in Los Angeles. Known for his vegan cooking, Chef Tal served the first vegan dinner at the U.S. Senate, prepared meals for Oprah's 21-day cleanse, and catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding. He graduated from NGI's Chef's Training Program in 2004 and gained experience at Candle 79 in New York City, Madeleine Bistro in LA and Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Tal opened Crossroads in 2013. The Mediterranean vegan eatery has since been recognized as one of the "best vegan restaurants in America" by Tasting Table, the "best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles" by Travel & Leisure, and "99 essential restaurants" by L.A. Weekly. 

Chef Tal has published two cookbooks: "Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine" and "The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat."

Meet more NGI alumni in health-supportive and plant-based careers here.

Graduates Talk About the Program

Tiffani WellsTiffani Wells (Health-Supportive/Management, '20)

“My favorite parts of the program were learning better skills and habits around the kitchen as well as making personal and professional connections with other like-minded individuals, including some faculty and my classmates. I met so many others who not only shared my joy of cooking, but because so many of us were also vegan or vegetarian, shared some of my same values as well. Now that I’ve completed the program, my future goals include expanding my existing business, Veggies at Tiffani’s, where I’ve worked as a recipe developer and as a personal chef.”



Jose Fontana Bassols at ICEJose Fontana Bassols (Health-Supportive/Management, '21)

“I was working as a food and beverage manager in Barcelona when the pandemic forced my employer to close. I chose the accelerated Health-Supportive Culinary Arts and Restaurant & Culinary Management programs at ICE because there is nothing like that in my country. I wanted to learn how to combine modern plant-based cuisine with traditional animal-based Spanish cuisine. Back home, I’d like to open a restaurant that meets the changing dietary preferences of Spaniards and the plant-forward desires of tourists.”

Kale Quinoa and Community ethos

Professional Demonstrations and Extracurriculars

ICE offers enrichment classes focused on cooking and beverage-related aspects of the food industry, free for alumni and students. Experts from all over the world come to ICE to teach, lecture and cook for our students, providing the exclusive opportunity to watch, interact with and ask questions of these successful epicureans. What's more, ICE hosts industry leaders, from California winemakers and New Orleans chefs, to food website founders and specialty food company presidents, as part of our Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs series.

Annmarie Colbin founded the Natural Gourmet Institute

About Annemarie Colbin (1941-2015)

The founder of Natural Gourmet Institute, Dr. Colbin pioneered the concept and movement of food as medicine in America. She coined health-supportive cuisine and inspired many chefs, dieticians, vegetarians, vegans and plant-based enthusiasts through her lectures and NGI. She taught home cooking to celebrities, such as John Lennon and Mandy Patinkin, and authored or co-authored four books:

  • The Book of Whole Meals (Random House, 1979)
  • Food and Healing (Random House, 1986)
  • The Natural Gourmet (Random House, 1989)
  • The Whole Food Guide to Strong Bones (New Harbinger, 2009)