Watch ICE Alum Lindsey Becker on "The Taste"
If asked to imagine the type of chef who excels in the fast-paced world of television cooking competitions, you might think of a stoic restaurant veteran, someone who thrives on the heat and stress of the kitchen.
You wouldn't necessarily imagine a contestant who seeks to share a social mission with the world, a message about her own past struggles with an eating disorder and the healing she found in organic, whole foods. But that's exactly what ICE Culinary Arts graduate Lindsey Becker had in mind when she auditioned for The Taste, and she's using the celebrated ABC show as a platform to inspire others to get in the kitchen and take responsibility for their health—in the most delicious way.
What were you doing before you enrolled at ICE, and what specifically attracted you to the program?
Before I enrolled at ICE, I worked in marketing and advertising at a top luxury magazine in D.C. While planning some of the city's most luxurious events and wining and dining clients might sound like a young girl's dream job, I wasn't happy working towards a career I simply was not passionate about. One day I decided on a whim to quit my job and go after my dream of becoming a chef, despite all of my friends and family thinking I was crazy for leaving such a "glamorous" career. ICE not only has a wonderful reputation in the culinary world, but also they offered evening classes that allowed me to work a day job in the restaurant industry and go to school at night. The classes were intimate and hands-on, and they featured extensive training in almost all types of regional cuisines—not to mention the convenience of being in the heart of NYC. It was an incredible program that allowed me to change my career, and my life, within only a year.
Where was your externship? Did it help you make any particularly meaningful connections in the industry?
I completed my externship at the renowned Michelin-starred restaurant, Gramercy Tavern. Gramercy prides itself on highlighting local, seasonal ingredients in an elegant fine dining experience. It completely elevated my ability to create gourmet cuisine in a healthy manner by focusing on and showcasing the best seasonal produce. Chef Michael Anthony was an incredible leader in the kitchen and a true role model for me. I was also fortunate enough to meet Danny Meyer, a legend in the industry. I am incredibly proud to be able to say that I worked there.
What have you been up to since graduating?
Since graduating from ICE, I started my own personal chef business providing healthy cooking services to clients throughout NYC. I would typically cook in clients' homes once a week and prepare about 5 days’ worth of meals that were specifically crafted to their palate and healthy living or weight loss goals. Recently, a fantastic family offered me a full-time position to be their private chef. It is an absolute dream job, and I've never been happier.
What inspired you to audition for The Taste?
I auditioned for The Taste in hopes of getting a message across to many Americans that face an issue that I once battled myself: as a young girl, I suffered from a severe eating disorder, due to a lack of understanding about nutrition and the constant pressures from society to be thin. It wasn't until a scary trip to the hospital and many talks with a nutritionist that I began to understand that food is an essential medicine that your body needs to thrive. It was through studying nutrition and learning how to cook that I was able to nurse my body and mind back to health. I want to show Americans just how “gourmet” healthy food can be and encourage them to get in the kitchen and cook with organic, local, nutrient-dense ingredients.
Are there any professional milestones, accomplishments or awards of which you are particularly proud?
Without question, I am very proud to be on The Taste. It has always been a dream of mine to be on a major cooking show, after previously competing on Food Network's Kitchen Casino. Also, a few months after launching my personal chef business, Daily Candy voted me one of the top At-Home Services in NYC. However, what makes me most proud is hearing the feedback from my clients about how great they feel and how much they enjoy my cuisine. I feel fulfilled knowing that I make a difference in people's lives by providing healthy meals to them and their families.
Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
In the future, I would like to focus my efforts more towards children's nutrition and cooking classes in schools, where I believe I can make a tremendous impact on healthy eating habits. I have even started volunteering at a local school in NYC to help with menu planning to create local, organic and well-balanced lunches. I also hope to launch a nutritional consulting and menu development firm in a few years, with the goal of partnering with schools throughout the region.
How would you describe your “culinary voice” – in other words, your culinary perspective or style?
I would describe my style as approachable, healthy gourmet. I believe we should all choose whole ingredients and organic foods for a plant-rich, nutrient-dense diet that nourishes our bodies. I'm here to show others how incredibly satisfying healthy cuisine can be— for all types of diets—and just how easy it is to make.
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