ICE graduate Megan Fogarty smiles with ICE LA president Lachlan Sands, Chef Evan Funke, ICE LA Director of Restaurant and Culinary Management Mishel LeDoux and ICE President and Chairman Rick Smilow.

From Extern to Junior Sous Chef: ICE LA Grad Megan Fogarty's Journey

Meet the chef who worked her way up at République just three years out of school

From left: ICE President and Chairman Rick Smilow, ICE LA Director of Restaurant and Culinary Management Mishel LeDoux, Chef Evan Funke, ICE LA president Lachlan Sands, ICE graduate Megan Fogarty.

Just three years after graduating from Institute of Culinary Education Los Angeles, Chef Megan Fogarty is booked and busy.

Every shift, Chef Megan gets to cook in a building built by Charlie Chaplin nearly 100 years ago. She's a Junior Sous Chef at République, the long-standing LA darling restaurant by Chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke, which is housed in a historic 1928 building in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile.

Chef Megan has been at République since graduating from ICE with diplomas in Culinary Arts and Restaurant and Culinary Management in 2021. She started in the kitchen on her externship as the last part of her Culinary Arts program and has stayed and worked her way up since.

"When I first started at République, it was one of the most terrifying experiences I think I've ever had in my career," Chef Megan says. "Now to look back on that and see that I'm somehow one of the top cooks there is absolutely crazy. And I credit a lot of that to ICE."

Related:  How to Choose Your Externship

Though Chef Megan had worked in restaurant kitchens before school, she says her time at ICE set her up for success. She credits her ICE education with reinforcing her skills and helping improve her confidence in the kitchen.

"Giving us that foundation to go out there and apply it in the real world setting is definitely something I take from ICE,” she says.

She also remembers the small moments spent working alongside and bonding with her classmates. One of her favorite parts of culinary school was learning from her fellow students, many of whom had different backgrounds and work experiences than she did.

"I think that aspect really translates into the work setting," Chef Megan says. "Especially in the back-of-house. You're spending hours and hours with these people and learning from them as they're learning from you."

Chef Megan's journey to Junior Sous Chef at République speaks volumes about her skills and tenacity. She also recently staged at the legendary three-Michelin-starred restaurant The French Laundry.

That's why she was the perfect choice to appear at ICE LA's 2024 commencement ceremony as the alumni speaker, where she delivered a speech about her experience entering the culinary industry for the first time.

Watch Chef Megan's speech:

Her ultimate message to all of the graduates as they enter the world of hospitality? You can never care too much.

"At the end of the day, we're here to cook food for people — we are in the industry of hospitality," Chef Megan says. "If you can take that knowledge and those simple skills and apply them to not only your cooking but in how you work with people and others, I think it'll do wonders in this industry."

Chef Megan's future is bright. Though she has previously considered a long-term goal of opening her own restaurant, she's now leaning more toward exploring the world of private cheffing. She loves the idea of getting to know a client and their family deeply enough to create tailored, delicious experiences for them. 

But, before Chef Megan moves to the next step of her career, she says all she wants to do is learn and grow in as many kitchens as possible.

Her guiding principle is clear. As she reminded graduates in her commencement speech, Chef Megan will always strive to deliver joy through her food.

"Hospitality is about creating moments of joy," she says. "Moments of comfort and connection. Lucky enough for us, we get to provide these feelings through the one thing everyone in the universe can understand, which is food."

More ICE Alumni Stories

Add new comment