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Union Square Hospitality Group Partners with ICE to Launch 10-Week Wine Course

December 11, 2013

Cindi Avila, Director of Public Relations, Institute of Culinary Education, (212) 847-0703
Helen Goodman, PR/Marketing Coordinator, USHG, (646) 747-7194,



USHG Wine Director and Master Sommelier John Ragan to lead
“Understanding Wine: A Course for Enthusiasts and Professionals” in March 2014

December 9th, 2013, New York – Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) is partnering with the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) to offer an immersive ten-week wine course to the public beginning in March 2014. USHG’s Wine Director and Master Sommelier, John Ragan, will lead the course in tandem with guest instructors from USHG restaurants, including Union Square Cafe, The Modern, Maialino, and more, as well as Richard Vayda, ICE’s Director of Wine Studies.

The course, “Understanding Wine: A Course for Enthusiasts and Professionals,” represents the first time that USHG’s wine training curriculum, offered to restaurant staff and employees, has been made available to the public. This is the first partnership of its kind for both USHG and ICE. “With our shared passion for hospitality and education, ICE and USHG are natural partners,” said USHG Founder and CEO, Danny Meyer. “The combination of ICE’s educational resources and facilities with USHG’s in-depth wine knowledge and restaurant perspective represents a uniquely experiential offering that we’re very proud to bring to ICE’s community of students.”

“This course has been the cornerstone of wine education for our own staff for over ten years,” said Ragan. “I couldn’t be more excited to take this storied educational program public with ICE—not just for professionals, but for our serious wine-loving guests as well.”

Ragan earned the prestigious title Master Sommelier in 2012, and is one of three individuals in the world to possess both Master Sommelier certification as well as a James Beard Award for “Outstanding Wine Service.” In 2013, he spearheaded DeVine Intervention, a $250k wine auction to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“Combining the expertise of two of New York’s leading culinary and hospitality organizations offers an exceptional learning opportunity for both culinary professionals and serious wine enthusiasts,” says ICE President Rick Smilow. “It is a new, great idea to have this version of USHG’s internal wine course, which utilizes so many top-of-their game sommeliers, now accessible to the public at ICE.”

The class will take place on Tuesday evenings, from March 25th—June 3rd, 2014. Each week will cover a major wine region and will include tastings featuring wines served in USHG restaurants, as well as dynamic multimedia presentations.
Prospective students may register or inquire about the course at


About the Institute of Culinary Education
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is New York City’s largest and most active center for culinary education. Founded in 1975, the school offers award-winning 6 to 13 month career training programs in Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Culinary Management and Hospitality Management. Alumni of the school have won national and regional acclaim in all sectors of the culinary world including restaurants, baking, food media and research and development. ICE's School of Recreational Cooking is the largest and most diverse cooking school for the general public. ICE was named "Cooking School of the Year" by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2003, 2008 & 2013. More information can be found at . The school is located at 50 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

About Union Square Hospitality Group
Union Square Hospitality Group
(USHG) was founded by Danny Meyer and includes some of New York City's most beloved restaurants: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 (located at the Museum of Modern Art), Maialino, Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and North End Grill. The company also includes Union Square Events, a catering, sports, and events business, and Hospitality Quotient, a learning business empowering companies to transform their business through the power of hospitality. Each USHG restaurant is lovingly hand crafted and distinctive, and each strives to distinguish itself for warm hospitality and consistent excellence. Danny, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 25 James Beard Awards, including: Outstanding Restaurant of the Year; Outstanding Service; Outstanding Wine Service; Humanitarian of the Year; Who's Who of Food & Beverage; and Best Restaurant Design. Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern are perennially ranked on the top of the ‘Most Popular’ list in the Zagat Survey, with Union Square Cafe holding the #1 spot nine times.

Actively involved in the community, USHG and its employees are committed to extending its enlightened hospitality beyond the walls of its restaurants. The company supports an array of hunger relief organizations including Share Our Strength and City Harvest, along with civic organizations such as NYC & Company, Union Square Partnership, and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

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