A culinary student cooks vegetables on camera.

ICE + Scholastic

Conquering Math in the Kitchen

ICE Chefs, Alongside Carla Hall and Michelle Obama, Inspire Students to Embrace Math in the Culinary Arts

Logo for ScholasticDid you ever have a moment in math class when you wondered, “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?”

In the kitchen, chefs use math constantly, whether testing ratios for a new recipe, scaling portions to feed a crowd or managing the fluctuating costs of ingredients. So when Scholastic wanted to show students how math is essential in the context of culinary careers, it’s no surprise that they turned to the Institute of Culinary Education.

In a special culinary episode of Math@Work, Carla Hall from ABC’s The Chew, former First Lady Michelle Obama and expert ICE chef-instructors teamed up with students from New York’s Food and Finance High School to demonstrate how math can be used to cook healthfully. Special guests included Top Chef Season 11 winner Nicholas Elmi and former White House Executive Chef Sam Kass. The Math@Work series was shown in classrooms all over the country and millions of viewers online.

Every day, the chefs at ICE are challenged to develop innovative culinary solutions. Whether developing, testing or revising recipes, knowing the right calculations — such as baker’s percentage — saves time and resources. In the restaurant world, efficiency is everything, and the ability to make last minute recipes without missing an order is key. When it comes to measuring success, no kitchen can make a profit without a rigorous understanding of how to develop and manage a cost-effective menu.

With the help of ICE Chef-Instructors Jenny McCoy, Michael Garrett and Dalia Jurgensen, the students executed three delicious dishes: Grilled Turkey Paillard with a Strawberry Pomegranate Relish, Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille on a Toasted Baguette and a Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake.