ICE New York 2023 Commencement Recap
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) celebrates the accomplishments of the 2023 graduating class at its commencement ceremonies at the New York City and Los Angeles campuses.
ICE also celebrates growth, with 67% more graduates this year than just five years ago in 2019.
The newest generation to enter the hospitality industry has completed at least one of ICE’s diploma or associate degree programs, including Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Plant-Based Culinary Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management and Hospitality & Hotel Management. This year, ICE is also proud to announce the first graduates of its Online Culinary Arts & Food Operations program.
Providing the keynote address at the New York City commencement ceremony at Borough of Manhattan Community College's Tribeca Performing Arts Center on May 9, esteemed Chef Marcus Samuelsson shared words of motivation and advice with graduates.
“Your game changing moment, you don’t know when it’s going to happen, it might hurt, but … you can work through them because these obstacle moments will happen," Chef Marcus said. "When I look at this room and I see the diversity and I see the joy in everyone’s eyes and the excitement, I know I made the right choice 25 years ago.”
He explained that while working in France, his goal at the time was to open his own restaurant and his chef made it clear that wasn’t possible.
“He said 'As a Black person, you cannot own your own restaurant. You may work in a restaurant but you can never own it.' And that’s the moment I knew I had to leave," Chef Marcus said. "His point was I had to change my dream and lower my goal. Think about that, how would that work, if you had to change your dream and lower your goal. Not well. I actually have to thank him because he inspired me, truly…As humans we are stubborn, which you are, otherwise you wouldn’t come through the school. You have enormous work ethic, you also have belief in yourself, that’s why you’re here. And if somebody tells you that you can’t do something, guess what, you’re going to do it better than ever. I took that challenge.”
Chef Marcus said that after speaking with his family, he decided to gather $300 in savings and moved to the United States.
“It was a risk, but I knew I could add value.," he said. "And this idea that you can add value no matter what you have in your pocket, hold onto that because each one of you can add value.”
He then capped off his speech by taking a graduate group selfie from the stage.
In addition to Chef Marcus, the New York City ceremony featured alumni speaker Chef Orlando Soto, Executive Pastry Chef of three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin and 2014 Culinary Arts graduate, who helped the restaurant earn its four-star rating from The New York Times.
At the ceremony, Chef Orlando spoke of the magic of cooking.
“To serve, to bring joy, to harness the real potential of ingredients, the ingredients of life and inspire others to do the same, that is our magic,” he said.
Watch the full recap of ICE's 2023 commencement ceremony below.