Culinary school students celebrate their graduation ceremony from the Institute of Culinary Education

Graduation Commencement

Celebrating the Future of the Hospitality Industry


“To see our students live at graduation, after two years of COVID-19 and many other stressful events, was both uplifting and touching,” says Lead Chef of Health-Supportive Culinary Arts, Elliott Prag. “More than ever I was aware that our common touchstone — the love of food — creates community in a profound way. The authentic pride and camaraderie shared among our students and teachers spoke louder than any words could.”

Indeed, it was a day of celebration. "Today is your day and you are lucky to have been able to study at ICE," says Keynote Speaker, Jacques Pépin. "It is the beginning of your career, the beginning of a new life. It is a time of hope, a time to believe in yourself, a time to dare. While here you have learned the fundamentals. Now is your time to be curious, be enthusiastic, be tenacious and be engaged. It is a time in your life where the word “impossible” doesn’t exist, a time to reach for the sky. The world of food is huge and even if you decide to leave the stove for another area of the food world — marketing, food distribution, food writing — what you have learned at ICE in terms of discipline, organization and communication will stay with you forever and you will always use your cooking talents at home."

Congratulations, again, to all graduates.

It was an honor to recognize our 2019-2021 graduates on Saturday, June 12 with our first virtual commencement ceremony via StageClip! Students submitted photos for their moments of recognition, and ICE alumni Gail Simmons (Culinary, '99), Matt Hyland (Culinary, ‘05), and Shenarri “Greens” Freeman (Health-Supportive, ’20) inspired graduates about the future of the restaurant industry and their careers to come.

You can watch the complete ceremony on YouTube below.


2019 Commencement Celebrated Community

Our annual graduation ceremony featured keynote speaker Dan Barber, alumna speaker Adrienne Cheatham and the traditional toque toss! Read the full recap and watch the Facebook video here!

Graduates can download photos here

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, ICE hosted a remarkable commencement ceremony at NYU's Skirball Center, off of Manhattan's beautiful Washington Square Park. Esther Choi (Culinary '11), chef-owner of mokbar, delivered an inspiring alumna speech, and one of America's most prestigious restaurateurs — founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group — Danny Meyer honored students with a keynote message.

The atmosphere was buzzing with eager graduates as toques took over the theatre and all fell silent for our esteemed guests' words of wisdom. The event culminated with ICE faculty members proudly presenting diplomas for Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management, and Hospitality & Hotel Management, and recognizing this year's award winners with medals. Of course, many photos followed, some highlights from which are showcased below.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017 — for the very first time — ICE held a momentous commencement ceremony at NYU's Skirball Center to celebrate the graduation of ICE career students who completed their programs in the first half of 2017. ICE President Rick Smilow welcomed 600 proud parents, family and friends to share in the accomplishments of the ICE graduates in attendance. Rick noted the diversity of the students, who represented ICE’s career programs — Culinary ArtsPastry & Baking Arts, and Restaurant & Culinary Management — as well as diverse ages, nationalities, educational backgrounds, career aspirations and more.

After months of dedicated work and challenging themselves on a daily basis, the mood of the graduates was nothing less than ecstatic — the excitement in Skirball Center was palpable. Still, the room quieted to a hush as guests listened to a keynote address from acclaimed Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern. The crowd also had the chance to soak in reflections from alumnus Jonathan Defren (Culinary ‘08/Management ‘08/Hospitality ’11), who holds the royal trifecta of diplomas — Culinary Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management and Hospitality & Hotel Management, and has paved a dynamic career path in the hospitality industry.