After 26 Years, A New York City Institution Becomes an Institute
New York, NY — After 26 years, New York City's landmark school for cooking, baking and culinary arts is changing its name. Effective September 17, Peter Kump's New York Cooking School will be renamed The Institute of Culinary Education.
"The school has grown tremendously over the last five years," says its President, Rick Smilow. "We feel strongly that the new name better describes what we have become." Today, the school offers highly developed programs for career training, professional development, recreational cooking, wine education and special events.
"We also believe that the new name provides a better match with the school's current focus, and will be as enduring as the old name," says Smilow. In years past, Peter Kump's was best known for its recreational program. While the recreational program is still the most extensive in the nation, today the career programs are the centerpiece of the school's programming.
The name change is the culmination of a series of significant developments that The Institute of Culinary Education has accomplished in recent years, including physical relocation. After many years on East 92nd Street in Manhattan, in mid-1999 the school expanded and moved to 50 West 23rd Street. With 26,000 square feet of space spread over four floors and nine teaching kitchens operating day and night seven days a week, The Institute of Culinary Education has a unique profile. "To the best of our knowledge, we are the busiest culinary institute in the nation. This year, over 18,000 people will be active in our kitchens," says Vice President Stephen Tave.
During the fast-paced growth of recent years, The Institute of Culinary Education has expanded while staying true to its roots. The late Peter Kump (1937 - 1995) founded the school in 1975. He was an entrepreneur and chef who pioneered the idea of teaching cooking through techniques at a time when other schools were teaching mainly recipes. Kump was also co-founder, along with Julia Child, of the James Beard Foundation. He served as its first president from 1986 to 1995.
The Institute's new name and logo were developed by Muse Consulting and Red Square Design. The four blocks that are at the top of the logo are symbolic on three levels. First, the blocks create the beginning of the check pattern that is traditionally used in chef's pants. Second, the shapes suggest "building blocks" as in the building blocks of culinary knowledge. And third, the block pattern is suggestive of a staircase leading upwards toward higher knowledge, goals and professionalism.
Concurrent with the name change, the school has changed the name of The Cooking School News, its quarterly course guide, to The Main Course. A new web site, ICEculinary.com, as well as new TV and radio commercials, will be launched by the end of the month.
According to Smilow, the name change marks the last step of a successful four-year plan. Commenting on the future, Smilow says, "The interest in food and cooking, both on professional and recreational levels, continues to grow. So we are certain there will be opportunities for us to continue to grow and innovate as well."