10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Culinary School
A culinary education is the foundation — it prepares you for the challenges and the opportunities you’ll encounter as you build a successful, satisfying career. In considering culinary school, be sure to ask these questions before making a choice:
Is the school located in a culinary destination?
ICC’s locations are in the leading culinary areas of New York City and Silicon Valley, California, with study abroad programs in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
What industry accolades has the school itself won in the past 3-5 years? What is its reputation?
ICC has won the prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) “Culinary School of Excellence” Award for vocational training every year since 2010, and received the highest ranking “School of Excellence” Award from the accrediting commission ACCSC for 2012 in NYC and 2013 in California. The school’s technique books — based on ICC’s trademarked curriculum — have received James Beard Awards.
Over the past 30 years, ICC (founded as French Culinary Institute) has achieved a stellar reputation its Grand Diplôme is recognized at world-class restaurants across the world.
How many instructional hours is the program with chef-instructors on site at the school?
ICC’s hands-on Total ImmersionSM teaching method is comprised of 600 hours — all supervised by chef-instructors on site to make certain you learn the technique building blocks and gain real-world experience on every station on the line.
Is the curriculum original to the school, and how is it different?
ICC develops and evolves its own professional techniques-based curriculum — it is award-winning and trademarked. Every lesson builds on the previous, for a step-by-step approach. This education allows students to cook any type of cuisine. Our dynamic curriculum is reflective of modern technique and industry trends.
Are there skills workshops or other courses I can take for free as part of my education?
ICC provides free workshops, from food costing to knife skills, for students to practice and perfect techniques. In NYC, Professional Culinary and Pastry students also can expand their repertoire with three (free) 10-hour courses, with topics ranging from Intro to Food Business and Culinary Technology to Food Writing, Bread and Brewing.
Who are the school's prominent alumni?
There are many! Here are just a few. What they all have in common: they translated the classic techniques they learned at ICC into the cuisines they wanted to create:
- BOBBY FLAY, Restaurateur and TV chef
- CHRISTINA TOSI, Chef and Owner Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC
- DAISY MARTINEZ, TV chef
- DAN BARBER, Chef and Owner Blue Hill
- DAVID CHANG, Chef and Owner Momofuku
- HOONI KIM, Chef and Owner Danji and Hanjan
- JOSH SKENES, Chef and Owner Saison
- JUDY JOO, Iron Chef winner and Executive Chef at The Playboy Club London
- LARS WILLIAMS, Head of R&D for Noma (#1 in World’s Best Restaurants)
- MAILE CARPENTER, Founding Editor-in-Chief Food Network Magazine
- MARC VETRI, Chef and Owner of Vetri
- MICHAEL CHERNOW, Owner Meatball Shop
- REBECCA BANKS, Wine Director Balthazar and Lucky Strike
- ROBERT BLEIFER, Executive Chef for Food Network Kitchens
- STEVE CHARRON, VP/Director of Finance at Patina Restaurant Group
- WYLIE DUFRESNE, Chef and Owner WD-50 and Alder
If I'm interested in a career outside the kitchen, what other types of jobs could I get after graduation?
Our graduates work in just about every facet of the industry including television, publishing, media, management, R&D, catering, food styling and more. All ICC students have access to a dedicated career services advisor during their studies and throughout their careers.
Is there a formal commencement my family and friends can come to?
A world-class education deserves a world-class graduation; ICC is the only culinary school to hold commencement at NYC’s iconic Carnegie Hall. Keynote speakers have included the legendary Chef Thomas Keller and ICC graduate Chef Bobby Flay.
If the school is not a college, does it have an agreement with a leading college to transfer credits?
Students can transfer as many as 60 credits toward a Bachelor’s Degree at The New School, a highly respected NYC university.
This blog post was originally published by the International Culinary Center (ICC), founded as The French Culinary Institute (FCI). In 2020, ICE and ICC came together on one strong and dynamic national platform at ICE's campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. Explore your culinary education where the legacy lives on.