Find your cullinary voice

Classes with Michael Laiskonis

Classes with Michael Laiskonis PastryIn March 2012, ICE welcomed award-winning pastry chef Michael Laiskonis as its first-ever Creative Director. Laiskonis has long been one of the culinary industry's most creative and talented chefs.

Fresh off of an eight-year tenure as Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin, Laiskonis is well known for helping the restaurant earn four stars from The New York Times and three Michelin stars. He was named to America's Top Ten Pastry Chefs by Pastry Art & Design in both 2002 and 2003 and was Bon Appétit's Pastry Chef of the Year in 2004. Best known for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, he was also awarded the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007.

As Creative Director, Laiskonis joins the ICE educational leadership team to direct new projects in curriculum development and research, teach culinary classes, mentor ICE students and faculty and serve as an industry ambassador for ICE. He is bringing his talent, insight and experience to ICE students in this new and innovative role. His classes are an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the industry's most respected professionals.

Additionally, with the opening of our brand new, state-of-the-art facility at Brookfield Place, Laiskonis has taken on the role of overseeing ICE's Chocolate Lab, honing his expertise in bean-to-bar, artisinal chocolate production. He will lead a variety of students—from ICE career students and recreational cooks to established pastry chefs and professionals—in a diverse batch of educational courses covering a broad spectrum of hands-on applications. Watch the video below to learn more about ICE's bean-to-bar chocolate production.

Take professional development classes at ICE with pastry chef and Creative Director Michael Laiskonis


Professional Continuing Education Classes

Students and alumni should register with customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

Art of Plating: Haute Patisserie

Tuesday, March 14, 10am-4pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Desserts in fine-dining restaurants often represent the cutting edge of pastry trends and techniques. Multicourse tasting menus allow the pastry chef to explore a greater range of textures and flavors throughout a sequence of small-format compositions. This lecture and hands-on class with Creative Director Michael Laiskonis will detail two multicourse, seasonal dessert progressions that employ the latest ideas—all creations worthy of any Michelin-starred establishment.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

Sugar Science: Functions and Applications in Modern Pastry

Monday, April 3, 6-10pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

When we refer to "sugar," we typically mean "sucrose"—yet there are many other sweeteners available to today’s pastry chefs that offer unique properties in baking, pastry, and confectionery work. This lecture by legendary Chef Michael Laiskonis will provide a basic primer into the composition and functionality of a range of sugars beyond the familiar sucrose, including glucose and corn syrups, invert sugars, and lactose, as well as alternative sweeteners such as isomalt, sorbitol, and xylitol. We'll explore an array of products and techniques utilizing these various sugars.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

Plated Desserts: Techniques in Chocolate

Thursday, April 20, 6-10pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Chocolate-based offerings form the foundation of many dessert menus, and in this class with Creative Director Michael Laiskonis, students will explore applications of this versatile ingredient in the restaurant setting. Contemporary plated desserts will be constructed, highlighting chocolate’s supporting role in a wide range of components, including pastry doughs, creams, frozen elements, and décor.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

An Introduction to Ice Cream and Sorbet Technology

Thursday, May 18, 6-10pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Whether enjoyed alone or as vital components in modern plated desserts, ice creams and sorbets present more than meets the eye. By looking deeper at their structures—complex solutions, suspensions, or emulsions—pastry chefs continue to refine formulas, techniques, and ingredients to create ever more flavorful results. In this class, students will be exposed to basic frozen dessert theory, and will prepare a range of examples, from classic vanilla and chocolate ice creams to more exotic preparations, including Brown Butter Ice Cream; Rose Sorbet; and static frozen items.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

Composition and Structure: The Humble Complexity of Milk

Wednesday, June 7, 10am-2pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Milk and its constituent dairy products are among the most widely used products in both the sweet and savory kitchen. In this class, students will see this simple yet complex ingredient broken down into its most basic components in order to better understand how they behave when applied to any number of cooking methods. Demonstrated recipes and methods will include: Cultured Butter; Fresh Ricotta; Ice Cream; Custards; and Mousses.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

In the Chocolate Lab

A Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Experience

Thursday, January 12, 6-10pm
or Friday, April 21, 6-10pm
$195 • 1 session

Let James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis give you a complete, one-of-a-kind overview of the entire chocolate-making process. In this lecture/demonstration class, he will start with a discussion of the entire process, broadly covering agricultural aspects, post-harvest treatment, and a preview of the processing steps covered during the session. Roasting of beans will have begun by Chef Laiskonis at the beginning of the session, timed to finish at the end of the introduction. You'll then observe how to winnow the freshly roasted beans; grind the winnowed nibs into chocolate liquor; discuss the formulation and refining process; extract and sift the bean bath in the refiner; and temper and mold the finished chocolate into bars. Chef Laiskonis will close with a guided tasting of several chocolates of varying origin and formulation. Finished, prepackaged bars will be used to supplementwhat is produced during the session for you to take home.

Click here to register.

The Science of Ganache

Thursday, February 9, 10am-4pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

In this class, we'll review the basics of chocolate tempering and an array of fillings and confections for use in Truffles; Molded and Enrobed Bonbons; and Candies. This part-hands-on, part-demonstration-based class will feature recipes that focus on proper formulation for flavor, texture, and shelf life, while also exploring various styles of presentation and décor.

Click here to register.

Artisanal Chocolate Workshop

Sat-Sun, March 11-12, 10am-4pm
or Mon-Tue, May 15-16, 10am-4pm
$400 • 2 sessions

Experience ICE's Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Lab in this two-day chocolate experience. In this workshop, open to pastry and culinary professionals, Creative Director Michael Laiskonis will be offering an exclusive hands-on look at the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process. Attendees will roast, winnow, grind, formulate, and refine artisan-quality couverture, in addition to pressing cocoa butter, tempering, and molding. By applying the finished chocolate to a range of applications, attendees will gain insight into the many variables that each processing step presents. In this workshop, you will cover:

• The history of chocolate
• Cleaning and sorting two bean origins
• Roasting, winnowing, and grinding
• Refining process
• Cocoa-butter pressing
• Extract, sift, temper, and mold finished chocolate
• Comparative identification and tasting of chocolate products

Tasting, discussion, and hands-on postproduction applications will follow, as will the packaging of chocolate to take away.

Click here to register.

Recreational Classes

Foundations of French Pastry

Thursday, January 26, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Many of today's most basic of pastry preparations were either born or refined in the kitchens of France. However, despite the centuries-old techniques, home cooks can (rightfully) still find them intimidating. Join ICE Creative Director and James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis in this class, where he breaks down classic bases such as: Pâte à Choux, Brioche, Pain de Gênes, and Puff Pastry. Each fundamental skill will then be applied to create finished desserts.

Click here to register.

Choux-Based Pastries

Wednesday, February 8, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Take your choux skills well beyond the basic cream puff, and learn the mechanics of this simple yet finicky pastry staple. In this hands-on class with master Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis, students will formulate the perfect pâte à choux base for use in a range of recipes, including: Classic Eclairs, Beignets, and Profiteroles, as well as pastry-shop favorites Paris-Brest and Gateau St. Honoré.

Click here to register.

Home Patisserie: Laminated Doughs

Thursday, March 16, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Amateur cooks often leave the world of delicate laminated doughs to professional bakers, but with a pinch of patience and a dash of confidence, these light and flaky preparations are easy to master. This part demo, part hands-on class will uncover the mysteries of Simple Puff Pastry, Yeasted Croissants, and Danish Pastry, as well as unique specialties such as Caramelized Kouign-Amann and Savory Pain au Lait.

Click here to register.

The Breakfast Pastry Basket

Monday, April 24, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Few tasks are more rewarding than baking for family and friends for breakfast and brunch. This hands-on class will review several basic styles and techniques to expand your repertoire and improve your breakfast-pastry game, with Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis by your side. Recipes will include variations on Scones; Muffins; Morning Buns; Brioche; and Coffee Cake.

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Spring and Summer Market Desserts

Monday, May 8, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

The arrival of spring heralds a fresh palette of flavors after a dearth of seasonal fruit during winter. In this class, students will embrace the change of seasons and the market’s whim by incorporating spur-of-the-moment ingredients, such as rhubarb and first-of-the season berries and stone fruits. Chef Michael Laiskonis will demonstrate recipes that may include Rhubarb-Yogurt Panna Cotta; Blueberry-Basil Tarts; Cherry Clafoutis; and Apricot-Pistachio Choux.

Click here to register.