An assortment of dishes from ICE's Health-Supportive Culinary Arts curriculum

Health-Supportive Culinary Arts is Coming to Los Angeles

The Natural Gourmet Center will debut a plant-based culinary curriculum at the Institute of Culinary Education's LA campus this spring.

Earlier this month, The New York Times announced ICE's new Natural Gourmet Center, the exclusive home of the nation's first accredited health-supportive, plant-based curriculum. Today, the Los Angeles Times adds that the Health-Supportive Culinary Arts career training program will be offered in Los Angeles for the first time in April.

Aspiring chefs on the West Coast can pursue a holistic approach to culinary education with a focus on whole foods, nutrition education and wellness at the Natural Gourmet Center at ICE. The curriculum covers sourcing and preparing food for Ayurvedic, dairy-free, gluten-free, macrobiotic, vegan and vegetarian diets, as well as ingredients and techniques that maximize food's health benefits.

"We teach people how to work with and appreciate foods in all kinds of different health-supportive ways," says Culinary Arts Lead Chef-Instructor Barbara Rich, who instructed at the Natural Gourmet Institute for 14 years. "We teach people how to cook from scratch so they have a different kind of appreciation for food."

The Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI) introduced this approach to culinary training in New York City in 1977. Founded by Annemarie Colbin, PhD, the school championed health-supportive cuisine through a chef's training program and recreational classes for more than 40 years. As it closes its doors at the end of March, long-time instructors, like Elliott Prag, will bring their expertise and the community's ethos to ICE's campuses, where more than 40 years of excellence in culinary arts continues to evolve.

Chef Elliott instructs students at ICE.

"I look forward to meeting students who share my passion for and commitment to this way of eating," says Elliott, who instructed at NGI for more than 20 years and will be the lead chef-instructor for Health-Supportive Culinary Arts in LA. "I enjoy exploring time and again the health-promoting power of food that's whole, local, seasonal and organic."

Prominent NGI alumni like Kismet owner Sara Kramer show the potential of a career in health-supportive cuisine. Her LA restaurant sources responsibly from regional farms and producers for its Middle Eastern menu. Also based in Los Angeles, NGI alum Tal Ronnen opened Mediterranean vegan restaurant Crossroads in 2013 and has become a nationally recognized leader in vegan cooking. Students in the new Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program can similarly pursue careers as restaurant chefs or explore private chef opportunities, cookbook publishing, nutrition consultation, and an array of food and health initiatives.

Throughout seven to 13 months of kitchen and classroom courses, students will be exposed to unique lessons and recipes including soy foods, seitan, sea vegetables, a four-course vegan banquet and flourless desserts, then complete a 200-hour externship at a restaurant or food business. ICE career services has already placed Los Angeles campus students in prominent restaurants such as The Arbour, Cassia, Jon & Vinny's, Majordomo, Redbird and Spago. Graduates receive a diploma in Health-Supportive Culinary Arts and ongoing career services.

Learn more about the Natural Gourmet Center at an Open House on Feb. 28 or get more info from admissions.

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