Our Plant-Based Culinary Arts (formerly known as Health-Supportive Culinary Arts) program offers a holistic approach to plant-based, nutrition-minded cooking with a focus on whole foods and wellness.
Harvest a Health-Forward Future
The Institute of Culinary Education’s Plant-Based Culinary Arts (formerly known as Health-Supportive Culinary Arts) program's curriculum promotes whole foods, nutrition, wellness and sustainability with vegetable-forward recipes inspired by the Natural Gourmet Institute. Plant-based cooking can optimize vegetarian, vegan and health-conscious lifestyles, while including instructional exposure to proteins. The program explores food as medicine and diets such as Ayurvedic, macrobiotic, gluten-free or dairy-free.
Program duration: 8-13 months Class times: morning, afternoon and hybrid Tuition, Fees & Charges: $38,750-$39,750
America's #1 Ranked Culinary School* offers a nationally accredited, plant-based, health-supportive curriculum. This unique program was developed by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., who pioneered the concept of food as medicine in America and founded the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in 1977, which she expanded into the renowned Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI). In 2019, the educational institutions collaborated to offer NGI’s unique plant-forward approach to cooking at Institute of Culinary Education. Today, the program combines a holistic view of food and nutrition, with creativity and innovation in every kitchen classroom.
Foundations of the Plant-Based Curriculum
Seven specific criteria for making mindful and deliberate decisions when sourcing ingredients lie at the foundation of ICE’s Plant-Based Culinary Arts curriculum. These ingredient-sourcing criteria — whole, fresh, seasonal, traditional, balanced, local and delicious — 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. These principles extend to the pastry modules, which use ingredients that are more natural, unprocessed and whole than traditional ingredients. Students are taught how to convert conventional baking recipes to alternatives featuring whole-grain flours and less-refined sweeteners, and how to prepare baked goods and desserts that meet special dietary needs, such as vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Food and Healing Through Plant-Based Cooking
Food has the powerful potential to heal the body. Our plant-forward cooking classes focus on the health-supportive qualities of ingredients and cooking techniques. In the kitchen, students will be taught how to prepare raw foods, living foods, spa and retreat specialties and how to improvise using seasonal ingredients. In the classroom, our expert instructors will discuss the link between diet, lifestyle and wellness by looking at cardiovascular system health, food and the immune system, the microbiome and detoxification systems. The program will also explore popular diets including paleo, keto, Ayurveda and macrobiotics.
ICE’s indoor hydroponic garden has grown over 250 crop varieties to date in a controlled environment — right on campus. ICE students may explore the hydroponic garden alongside the farm manager and their Chef-Instructors, and taste herbs and freshly picked produce. This both expands students’ palates and inspires their culinary creativity.
Students have the opportunity to apply the skills and techniques taught in the classroom to 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.
A Career in Plant-Based Cuisine
ICE alumni and the NGI alumni before them have gone on to open vegetable-centric restaurants, write cookbooks, become personal chefs for athletes and celebrities, launch food companies and health initiatives, and direct culinary operations for a wide variety of organizations including Wellness in the Schools and The Sylvia Center.
Aspiring nutritionists, chefs and restaurateurs can apply plant-based cooking skills in their careers and ICE’s holistic, wellness-minded approach to the culinary arts translates to many food-focused career paths:
On the East Coast, NGI alum Amanda Cohen founded NYC’s most notable and famed vegetable-forward restaurant, Dirt Candy, and ICE alum Shenarri “Greens” Freeman opened Cadence, a critically acclaimed vegan soul food restaurant.
On the West Coast, NGI alum Sara Kramer owns what Refinery29 refers to as “wildly popular Los Angeles restaurant, Kismet.”
The Plant-Based 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 Plant-Based 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., 7-11 a.m.
Starts: August 8
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11-3 p.m.
Starts: August 25
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 3-7 p.m.
Starts: September 19
Hours: Mon., 7-11 p.m., Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Combine business and culinary expertise to accelerate success.
ICE is a hub of multiculturalism. We are proud to have students from dozens of countries, giving our classrooms a unique international character. New York is one of the most diverse and exciting food cities, providing international culinary students with opportunities for vibrant cultural experiences that include access to a vast 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.
Ready to take your interest in plant-based cooking 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.
The 632-hour Career Plant-Based 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:
FUNDAMENTALS OF PLANT-BASED CUISINE
Focusing on fundamental culinary techniques and criteria for selecting quality ingredients, this course will offer an introduction to the foundation for preparing plant-based, whole-foods cuisine.
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.
GRAINS, BEANS AND STEWS
In this course, we continue your education on plant-forward cuisine to include a variety of bean and grain, stock and sauce preparations. We also prepare soups and stews highlighting whole grains, beans, vegetables and vegan alternatives.
Identifying and preparing a variety of beans in salads, purées, 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 soufflés, custards and emulsified sauces.
Dishes include: beet borscht with tofu sour cream; shiitake broth with shrimp, soba and baby bok choy; curried red lentil soup with coconut; and baked quinoa with fresh peas and herbs.
In this course, we teach how protein sources come in a variety of forms — both plant and animal. We teach how to source and prepare poultry, fish and shellfish, as well as how to prepare seitan and soy foods in health-conscience, traditional forms.
Identifying and preparing traditional soy foods, such as tempeh, tofu, edamame, miso, shoyu and tamari.
Fabricating and preparing poultry, fin fish and shellfish.
Making seitan and preparing it in a variety of ways.
Modern plating styles and theory.
Dishes include: stuffed poblano chilies with browned tempeh; sweet potato bisque with cashew crème fraîche and candied pecans; and hazelnut-crusted flounder with mango salsa.
ADVANCED CULINARY APPLICATIONS
In this course, you will apply your growing command of plant-based techniques to preparing salads, hors d’oeuvres, pâtés and terrines, a brunch 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.
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 balanced, plant-based brunch and buffet menus.
Dishes include: massaged kale salad with roasted chickpeas and pickled red onions; truffled portobello mousse with fig-thyme preserves; and Asian buckwheat noodle salad.
BAKING AND DESSERTS
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.
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.
BREAD AND PASTA
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.
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 appetizers, entrees and desserts to order.
Dishes include: herb ravioli with porcini mushroom pesto and tofu ricotta; wild rice pancakes; and bulgur raisin pan bread.
FOOD AND HEALING 1 AND ADVANCED CULINARY TECHNIQUES
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 as well as spa and retreat specialties. You will also focus on improvisational cooking using seasonal ingredients and developing a four-course vegan banquet project.
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, Mediterranean roasted black cod with muhammara.
FOOD AND HEALING 2 & WORLD CUISINES
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.
Preparing dishes and meals designed to boost immunity.
Preparing Macrobiotic cuisine.
Preparing Ayurvedic cuisine.
Preparing world cuisine menus.
Presenting a four-course vegan buffet.
Dishes include: hiziki with carrots, onions and agé tofu; burdock, carrot and onion kimpura; and eggplant buns with fermented plum sauce.
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 other 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.
Plant-Based Culinary Arts Chef-Instructors
These plant-based cooking pros bring their expertise to ICE.
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.
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) 921-CHEF or NYfinaid@ice.edu.
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 Plant-Based Culinary Arts program is a 200-hour externship at a restaurant, bakery or other culinary business.
Our incredible track record.
ICE placed more than 500 externs in more than 300 establishments in the past few years - and each experience was as unique as our students. Noteworthy among these placements are plant-based and vegetable-forward restaurants and pastry kitchens such as abcV, Avant Garden, Dirt Candy, Egg, Loring Place, Nix and Untitled. Getting your “foot in the door” with one of these organizations could be the start of the career you have dreamed about.
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 thevitalguide.com, 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 plant-based and/or health-supportive 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, Benny's Big Time in Wilmington, North Carolina and Lenoir in Charleston, South 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.
Shenarri Freeman (Health-Supportive, '21), chef and owner of Cadence in New York City
Meet a few Natural Gourmet Institute alumni below.
Amanda Cohen has been a prominent fixture of vegetable-forward cuisine with her restaurant, Dirt Candy, which has been open on New York City's Lower East Side since 2018. The chef features seasonal vegetables as main courses, without a lifestyle or political focus, innovating with constantly changing ingredients.
Hailing from Ottawa, Chef Amanda 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 of 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 Amanda 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 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 Los Angeles 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."
"Training as a chef helps you understand taste and what chefs are looking for. This helps me better articulate my opinion about vegetables. NGI also exposed me to a variety of culinary concepts and theories that I integrate into my everyday teaching. Understanding the fundamentals of macrobiotic or Ayurvedic philosophies, for instance, is a perfect example for how to think about the natural world and apply it to food. The five elemental theory in macrobiotics represents the elements that I work with every day."
NGI alum Davis Lindsey
Vegetable Manager at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Professional Demonstrations and Extracurriculars
ICE offers faculty-led enrichment classes focused on cooking and beverage-related aspects of the food industry, free for alumni and students.
Additionally, 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.