1974 – 1995
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) was founded by Peter Kump in 1975. The school was originally known as Peter Kump's New York Cooking School.
In 1975, Peter Kump, an educator and entrepreneur with a great love of food, taught five students the basic techniques of cooking in the cramped kitchen of his Upper West Side, New York City apartment. Not long after, The New York Times wrote favorably of the fledgling school. As a result of that article, Kump received numerous phone calls from potential students asking to study with him, and Peter Kump's New York Cooking School was born.
Within five years, the school was flourishing. In 1979, an article in Bon Appétit quoted Kump as saying he hoped his students would not “leave here with a sheaf of spectacular recipes to repeat step-by-step ad infinitum. No. I want them to learn to develop taste. I want them to become free to improvise, to work without recipes. They should learn principles, the reasons for mixing and blending this with that. And techniques.”
In 1983, Kump inaugurated the professional program to train aspiring chefs. He himself had learned from the best, and former teachers of his such as James Beard, Simone Beck, Marcella Hazan, and Diana Kennedy all later came to teach classes at the school. Illustrious food world figures such as Julia Child, James Peterson, and David Bouley were frequently guest instructors.
In 1986, Chef Nick Malgieri's association with the school began. Former executive pastry chef at Windows on the World, and an award-winning author of five books, Malgieri launched the school's baking program and remains the driving force behind it today. Chef Malgieri is widely considered one of the world's leading pastry and baking instructors.
Among his other activities, Kump, along with Julia Child, went on to establish the James Beard Foundation in 1985. The organization inspires and showcases American chefs through dinners, publications, culinary festivals, and its prestigious awards program. The school's ties to the James Beard Foundation remain deep.
1995 – PRESENT
When Peter Kump passed away in 1995, an obituary in The New York Times proclaimed him “one of the most influential figures on the American food scene.” It was then that Rick Smilow, an entrepreneur passionate about education and the culinary world, purchased the school. The Smilow family was already a notable participant in the New York City restaurant scene via its partnership with Chef Daniel Boulud and his restaurants, including Restaurant Daniel, Café Boulud, and DB Bistro Moderne. Smilow remains the president, founder, and principal owner of the school.
Since 1995, the school has grown tremendously in terms of enrollment, programs, and physical space. In late 1995 the school opened a second Manhattan location at 50 W. 23rd Street. In 1999, the school expanded to the 14th, 5th, and 4th floors at the new location and concurrently closed the older E. 92nd Street facility. In 2005, the 23rd Street facility expanded to the 6th floor and took additional space on the 4th floor, while renovating its existing kitchens, classroom, and building a new resource library. At present, the school occupies over 42,000 square feet with eleven teaching kitchens that are among the finest in the nation.
By 1997, the school's recreational cooking program had grown to be the largest in the nation. At present, ICE offers over 1,500 hands-on recreational cooking classes per year to the general public. To the best of the school's knowledge, there is no other cooking school in America (or the world) that offers the equivalent depth, breadth, and frequency of recreational culinary education.
Reflecting the school’s growth, size and stature, the school’s name was changed in 2001 to ICE, the Institute of Culinary Education.
Program development has been another constant in ICE’s growth over the past decade.
2001 – Launched Culinary Management Program
2005 – Launched Advanced Pastry Studies Program
2010 – Launched Hospitality Management Program
2012 – Launched School of Professional Development
In 2000, the school was accredited by the ACCSC (American Commission of Career Schools and Colleges). In their institutional evaluation, the ACCSC honored the school for achieving four items of excellence, a rare accomplishment. Those areas were: 100% student satisfaction (all students surveyed would recommend the school to a friend); outstanding faculty and faculty commitment to students; the school’s facilities and equipment; and the school’s involvement in community service. In 2005, after the second inspection, ICE was designated an ACCSC 2006 School of Distinction, an award given to recognize member schools that have demonstrated a commitment to the expectations and rigors of ACCSC accreditation, as well as a commitment to delivering quality education programs to students, graduates and employers. Then in 2010, ICE’s Career Services department was given a commendation for excellence.
In recent years, the school and its graduates and instructors have won numerous awards and honors. In 1997, New York magazine named the school the “best cooking school in New York.” In 1998, W magazine included the school in its “Black Book … the World's Best Addresses.” In 1998, Pastry & Baking Program Director Nick Malgieri was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. In 1999, Chef Malgieri was as one of America's Ten Best Pastry Chefs named by Pastry Art & Design magazine. ICE was a finalist and winner in the International Association of Culinary Professional’s (IACP) 2003, 2003, 2006, and 2008 Awards of Excellence. In 2015, ICE received IACP's Culinary School Award of Excellence, and longtime Chef Instructor Chris Gesualdi was awarded with IACP's Culinary Educator of the Year.
ICE’s President, Rick Smilow has also won recognition. In 2003, Smilow was chosen as the annual honoree of The New York Association of Culinary Professionals, joining a list of culinary leaders that includes Beard, Child, Kump, and Pépin, as well as Craig Claiborne and Lidia Bastianich. And in 2011, Smilow was named Entrepreneur of the Year by IACP.
Alumni Missy Robbins and Joseph Wrede have been included on Food & Wine magazine's roster of Best New Chefs in America. James Beard Foundation Awards were awarded to alumni Stephen Durfee in 1998, Claudia Fleming in 2000, Greta Anthony in 2003, Allison Vines-Rushing in 2004, Trish Magwood in 2008 and Gina DePalma in 2009. To recognize notable alumni, the school established the Alumni of Achievement in 2005, which includes Allison Vines-Rushing, winner of the 2004 James Beard Rising Star Chef Award, Gina DePalma, winner of the 2009 James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award, Randy Zweiban, executive chef of Nacional 27 in Chicago, Susan Stockton, vice president of Culinary Productions for the Food Network, and NYC star chef Marc Murphy. Most recently, ICE alumni have appeared as contestants, judges, or hosts on such shows as: "Top Chef", "Next Food Network Star", "Iron Chef", "Hell’s Kitchen", "Food Network Challenge," and Martha Stewart’s "Everyday Food."
Although the school has seen remarkable growth since its founding 30 years ago, it remains true to Peter Kump’s commitment to good teaching and good food, as well as to his philosophy of studying the culinary arts through technique, not recipes. His enthusiasm and passion, along with his discipline and energy, are still felt at the school today.