ICE honors the legacy of the French Culinary Institute/International Culinary Center.

ICE Honors the Legacy of the French Culinary Institute

Plus, a new tuition grant to honor that legacy

The flavors of the Institute of Culinary Education's history are present in every dish we plate.

ICE evolved from a predecessor school named Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School, which was founded in 1975. Over the years, ICE has continued to grow and evolve into the institution it is today.

One notable step in this journey came in 2020, when ICE entered into a licensing agreement with the NYC-based International Culinary Center, formerly known as the French Culinary Institute (FCI), concurrent with the school’s closure during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Founded by Dorothy Cann Hamilton in 1984, FCI originally focused on French technique as the foundation for culinary education. French-born, New York-based star Chefs Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac and Andre Soltner served as founding deans, and the school was the training ground for famed chefs such as Bobby Flay, David Chang, Dan Barber, Christina Tosi and Wylie Dufresne.

As the school expanded its curriculum beyond classic French techniques, FCI rebranded itself as the International Culinary Center (ICC). This name change addressed the wide variety of international cuisines featured in the school’s curriculum and the addition of professional programs in bread baking, cake decorating and wine studies.

Guests gather at the Institute of Culinary Education to celebrate the legacy of the French Culinary Institute.
Industry titans including Lee Anne Wong, Rita Jammet, Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boulud, Gail Simmons and Kerry Heffernan attended the festivities. Photo by Anthony Leo.

ICE carried over several unique offerings from FCI/ICC, including the Intensive Sommelier Training program, one of the top wine courses in the country. The founder of the sommelier training program, Scott Carney, MS, currently serves as ICE’s Dean of Wine Studies. Additionally, many Chef-Instructors and staff from FCI/ICC now work at ICE in a variety of departments including Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Plant-Based Culinary Arts, Career Services and Admissions. Through them, the FCI commitment to “Discipline, Quality and Reality” is alive and well.

ICE paid tribute to the legacy of FCI/ICC on March 4, 2024, when the school hosted a party to celebrate the heritage of FCI as it continues to grow through ICE. In attendance were former Deans Jacques Pépin, Jacques Torres and Cesare Casella, as well as prominent alumni from both schools such as Gail Simmons (ICE), Helen Nguyen (ICE), Lee Anne Wong (FCI) and Angie Mar (ICC). New York City area culinary icons Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boulud, Rita Jammet, Bill Telepan, Daniel Leader, Michael Nischan, Ron Ben-Israel and Kerry Heffernan were also in attendance — many of whom have relationships with both schools.

From left: Cesare Casella, Mishel Nischan and ICE Chairman and Founder Rick Smilow. Photo by Anthony Leo.
From left: Cesare Casella, Mishel Nischan and ICE Chairman and Founder Rick Smilow. Photo by Anthony Leo.

Addressing the audience, Rick Smilow, ICE Chairman and Founder, made a point to note that FCI and ICE had a lot in common for all the years they co-existed in New York City — they were both strong, privately held institutions with stellar reputations.

He added that the qualities by which to judge a culinary school are broad and can include: the curriculum, ingredients, equipment, teaching staff, facility, externship programs and commitment to student services. And added to that, there are metrics like graduation and placement rates, default rates and more. By these measures, he said that FCI and ICE were and are excellent schools. And following the licensing agreement, ICE has grown into an even better school after adding educational elements from ICC.

Smilow also announced the FCI Legacy of Excellence Tuition Waiver at the event. This new tuition grant, valued at $15,000, was established to honor the legacy of FCI, and how that spirit and tradition of excellence lives on today at ICE. The grant is for any ICE diploma program in New York City or Los Angeles. Administered by the James Beard Foundation, the grant will seek to help candidates who are motivated by elevated, chef-driven cuisine, with a goal to be an executive chef of a prominent restaurant.

Jacques Pépin giving a speech at the Institute of Culinary Education.
Jacques Pépin, former Dean of the French Culinary Institute, gave a speech. Photo by Rick Smilow.

With many FCI/ICC faculty seeing each other for the first time since the school’s closure, the room was filled with vibrant, positive energy and the mood was celebratory. ICE’s Director of Culinary Affairs Hervé Malivert, Director of Pastry Research & Development Jürgen David, and Chef-Instructor Chayanin Pornsriniyom prepared a delectable array of hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie and desserts, which was complemented by a Calvisius Caviar station and Kestè Neapolitan pizzas topped with Urbani truffles.

ICE Chef-Instructor Chayanin Pornsriniyom with student volunteers. Photo by Anthony Leo.
ICE Chef-Instructor Chayanin Pornsriniyom with student volunteers. Photo by Anthony Leo.

It was a night to remember for the industry, where current students assisting Chef-Instructors with event preparations were able to meet culinary luminaries, and ICE celebrated its offering of excellent culinary education in New York City.

Lede image by Ken Goodman.

Submitted by Jeff Bizzarro on March 21, 2024 3:47am

It is both a privilege and an honor 

Merci’ Chefs 

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