Eric May, Culinary '00
Executive Chef, The Blue Boar Inn & Restaurant (Midway, UT)
"The help I received from ICE on choosing the best externship for me played a crucial role in where I am today. At my externship at Water's Edge in Long Island, I worked under a chef who became a true mentor, Frederic Kieffer, who I went on with to open Man Ray Restaurant in New York and L'Escale Restaurant in Greenwich, CT. The externship also gave me the unique opportunity to go directly on the line."
♦ The Blue Boar Inn & Restaurant is a multiple time winner of Utah's Best of State, as well as a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
Gail Simmons, Culinary '99
Special Projects Manager, Food & Wine, and Judge, Bravo's Top Chef (New York, NY)
"The externship that I did at ICE actually was probably more important than any single step in my career afterwards. I wanted to be a food writer, so I thought that when I left ICE, I would go to extern at a food magazine. But my career counselor at ICE, not forced me, but certainly encouraged me to go into a top restaurant kitchen, to hone and round-out the knowledge I had gained in the classroom. Having the strong culinary background that I learned from ICE really helped me with everything I have done since school. It gave me credibility in the industry, and gave me the language and the skills I needed to later stand beside some of the greatest chefs in the world."
♦ Gail's career path has included time in the kitchens of Le Cirque and Restaurant Daniel, and as the Assistant to Vogue Magazine's Food Editor.
Tony Scotto, Culinary '04
Chef de Cuisine, Fish & Game (Hudson, NY)
"ICE gave me the opportunity to quickly get my diploma and move in to the culinary field within a year. The instructors guided me to an appropriate extern site [Lupa Osteria Romana] that fit my abilities, and with a cuisine I wanted to be a part of." Scott's advice for culinary students is: "Use your free time to work, and research what you want to do."
♦ Del Posto is Chef Mario Batali's flagship 4-star, award-winning New York City restaurant.
Kathleen Hernandez, Pastry '11
Pastry Chef/Owner, Cocoamains (New York, NY)
"Having no work experience whatsoever in a restaurant or bakery, I knew I wanted to start my career on the right foot. I had been offered several externships and accepted one from Bouchon Bakery, which was always my top choice. My externship there was rigorous. My colleagues were helpful, knowledgeable and I fell in love with the kitchen and all the products it produced. When a full-time opening came up, I told my Chef that I'd like the job. Though at first they were looking for someone with more experience, I was hired! With an externship you'll get out what you put into the job."
♦ Kathleen is a former garment designer. Now a business owner, her line of macarons, Cocoamains, is available at Macy's flagship New York City store and online. Read more about how she put her plan into action here.
Denise Mickelsen, Culinary '03
Food Editor, 5280 Magazine (Denver, CO)
"My path was set by some very good advice that I received at ICE: Do your externship in a restaurant. My goal was to get into food media, but my restaurant externship at Fleur de Sel in Manhattan, was invaluable. The experience let me make connections that have benefitted my career at every step. It opened doors. My advice now for current culinary students is to do your externship in a restaurant, and be willing to do anything anyone asked of you at any time. Be flexible. Be efficient. Have a sense of urgency, because everything you're doing really matters."
♦ Denise's career path has included stints in the kitchens of Blue Hill and Fleur de Sel, and the editorial staff at Martha Stewart Living.
Paras Shah, Culinary '07
Executive Chef, Barcelona Wine Bar (New Haven, CT)
"ICE has changed my life and vision. So far, it's been a tremendous ride. From my externship at Per Se to Momofuku and then at El Bulli in Spain, I must say that I have been pretty blessed to have had such opportunities."
♦ Paras' unique career path has had him working in the kitchens of Chefs Thomas Keller, David Chang, and in Spain, Feran Adria; an incredible trio representing contemporary culinary excellence.
Zac Young, Pastry '06
Partner/Pastry Director, Craveable Hospitality Group (New York, NY)
"The techniques and skills you learn at ICE are one thing by ICE goes above and beyond by providing excellent Career Services. The incredible externship program helped me get my career going on the right path. Prior to ICE, I was working backstage at Radio City Music Hall. The school helped me find my new career in the pastry and baking realm, and now I'm doing what I love."
♦ Zac appeared on the premier season of Top Chef: Just Desserts, making it all the way to the finale.
Omri Green, Culinary/Management '03
Director of Special Projects, Union Square Events (New York, NY)
"The skills I learned in culinary class helped shape the fundamentals of my career, while my externship with Chef Michael Anthony helped take it to another level in the 'real' world. The transition from school to a culinary career is made easier through the externship program. My current role is oriented more towards management than the kitchen, but, I could not perform my job at a high level without having that essential culinary education and externship experience."
♦ Omri is an executive in the highly regarded Union Square Hospitality Group's events and catering division. Prior to ICE, Green was in the film business.
Sonali Ruder, Culinary Arts '10
Independent Recipe Developer (New York, NY)
"I did my culinary externship in the test kitchen of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine and am continuing to work with them as a freelance recipe developer. In fact, ten of my recipes have been published in a recent issue of the magazine. Getting my foot in the door as an extern was a great career move."
♦ While a student at ICE, Sonali won a Grey Poupon Mustard cooking competition - a $20,000 award!
Mary Attea, Culinary '11
Sous Chef, Annisa (New York, NY)
"My time at Annisa as an extern was invaluable. Two years later, I am already a sous chef there. No matter where you are, you get out, what you put in. Never be afraid to ask questions. There is something to observe and learn in the kitchen at every moment and you have to actively seek out the information. When you work hard and show a strong work ethic, chefs will notice you. And take notes. Always take notes."
♦ Mary spent several years working in New York city restaurant dining rooms, before making the leap to the kitchen. In May 2014, she was nominated as a semi-finalist for Eater's "Young Guns," which aims to identify "the most promising up-and-coming talent in the restaurant industry."
Manuel Pastrana, Hospitality Management '12
Housekeeping Manager, 1 Hotels South Beach (Miami, FL)
"ICE has given me all the tools I need to succeed in this industry. My externship placement at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Times Square was the ideal site for me. I was hired on afterwards as a Guest Service Agent, and after a year, was promoted to Guest Service Manager. I can't thank ICE and its faculty and staff enough throughout the entire process, from the very first day until now as a proud alumnus."
♦ Manuel worked in the mobile communications field prior to switching paths to the hotel and hospitality industry. Learn a little more about him here.
Chris Tucker, Culinary '12
Line Cook, Blue Water Grill (New York, NY)
"An externship can open many doors to a career and close them just as fast. It's a grind; but as tough as it may be, in the end the hours of sacrifice pay off. Keep your head down and knuckle up; the harder you push the bigger the payoff."
♦ Chris externed at Blue Smoke, part of the Union Square Hospitality Group, where he continued on as an employee after.
Jennifer Vellano, Culinary '01
Chef/Owner, Maison Privé Chefs (Westchester, NY)
"My externship was paramount in the launch of my career as an Owner of Maison Privé Chefs. The placement at Blue Hill (Chef Dan Barber) was a perfect match; I was hired on at the restaurant, and then worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, for a total of four years. I would never have the advanced skills or training that I do now without the amazing background I received through my externship and subsequent employment."
♦ Jennifer founded this boutique catering firm, with her husband and co-chef. Its focus is on local, sustainable and artisanal menus. Learn a bit more about how she found her culinary voice.
Berenice Cabrera, Culinary '11
Sous Chef, Dos Caminos Soho (New York, NY)
"My externship was at Dos Caminos, where I stayed in prep five months before being promoted to pantry. Five months after that I was promoted once again to the line, and now I am striving to be Sous Chef! Being at Dos Caminos has definitely been a great blessing in my life and career. It's great to work at a company where I can be recognized for my achivements. I have been awarded Employee of the Quarter. I am extremely thankful to ICE and Dos Caminos for being key stepping stones in my career."
♦ Berenice was a recipient of a C-CAP scholarship, and continues to work with this non-profit to enable other youth to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
Karla Francois, Pastry '12
Pastry Cook, Paramount Hotel (New York, NY)
"My externship allowed me to experience in real time and space the field of baking and pastry. I learned about the day-to-day work life of a pastry chef and it offered me the chance to test and apply the knowledge, skills and techniqes learned at ICE."
♦ Originally from Honduras, Karla worked in the architecture field prior to ICE. Her goal is to open her own bakery.
Kristy Lambrou, Culinary '10
Culinary Nutritionist, Rouge Tomate (New York, NY)
"My externship experience was invaluable-it gave me insight and experience that can only be learned by doing. Every day presented a new challenge to learn from. It was an incredible opportunity to work and train with such talented chefs."
♦ Rouge Tomate is a Michelin rated modern American restaurant, and one of the few in the world to have a full-time Culinary Nutritionist on staff.