Plant-Based Culinary Arts Associate Degree Program

Earn an associate degree in 14 months with ICE's Plant-Based Culinary Arts (formerly known as Health-Supportive Culinary Arts) & Management program.

Diploma Program

Plant-Based Culinary Arts and Management Degree Program

Pursue your culinary ambitions with an education that combines hands-on cooking fundamentals in the kitchen classroom with management training at our Los Angeles campus and general education courses online on your own schedule. Our new hybrid associate degree program features the Institute of Culinary Education's reputable plant-based culinary career training, instructor expertise, convenient class schedules and established network in the industry. You'll get hands-on training in professionally equipped kitchens with quality ingredients such as fresh vegetables and whole grains, have access to the learning resource center on campus and experience real-world work at a food business on an externship.

Our program consists of Plant-Based Culinary Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management and applied general education courses.

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Quick Facts

Program Duration: 14 months
Class Times: morning, afternoon or evening and online
Tuition, Fees & Charges: $47,950
Open House: June 24th, 2023

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Plant-Based Culinary Arts

Our Plant-Based Culinary Arts career training program teaches the practice and art of cooking through theory, technique, palate training, speed and teamwork. Our exclusive curriculum promotes vegetables, whole foods, nutrition, wellness and sustainability with plant-based cooking and vegetable-forward recipes inspired by the Natural Gourmet Institute. Plant-based cooking can optimize plant-based, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, while including instructional exposure to proteins. The program explores food as medicine and diets such as Ayurvedic, macrobiotic, gluten-free and dairy-free. Over the course of the program, you'll experience lessons with multiple chef-instructors exposing you to a variety of mentors with different perspectives and areas of expertise in plant-based cooking (including vegan recipes) and other healthy culinary techniques.

A Restaurant & Culinary Management class at ICE's Los Angeles campus

Culinary Management

ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program offers pragmatic training in restaurant management, operations and entrepreneurship. Our experienced instructors will teach you how to develop profitable concepts, write a business plan and market your venture to a target audience interested in healthy cooking and plant-based eating. You'll get a sense of how to troubleshoot restaurant and bar management issues concerning operations and staffing, analyze changing trends and make fiscal modifications to keep a business profitable. You'll train to make strategic business decisions with case studies, role-playing and group projects; have a chance to gain valuable professional insights from prominent guest lecturers; and study menu design, social media marketing, kitchen and interior design, and wine tasting and appreciation.

A student studies online

Applied General Education Online Classes

Students take online courses that are relevant to restaurant industry careers, such as the history and culture of food, social psychology, business communication, leadership, change management and more. You'll study subjects as they apply to the business of foodservice, including written and verbal communication strategies as they relate to recipe writing, reviewing, food blogging and culinary demonstrations; team building through developing and empowering people; and nutrition in terms of dietary preferences and the relationship between diet, health and disease.

See Curriculum Below

Gabrielle Russo at SingleThread


You'll have the opportunity to train in a restaurant, hotel, catering kitchen, food media or other culinary business that fits your personal career goals. Our Career Services team will help you find a placement among our hundreds of industry connections. Time and time again, ICE graduates tell us that their externship experience was instrumental in providing mentorship, networking opportunities and connections.

Plant-Based Culinary Arts Associate Degree

Program Highlights

Plant-Based Culinary Arts

  • Study fundamental cooking techniques including sautéing, roasting, blanching, braising and pressure cooking.
  • ​Explore the essential flavor profiles and classic dishes involved in Ayurvedic, macrobiotic and world cuisines.
  • Pursue modern cooking techniques including sous vide, fermentation, preserving and contemporary plating.
  • Train in the art of plant-based cooking through theory, technique, palate development, speed and teamwork.

Plant-Based Pastry & Baking Arts

  • Study the fundamentals of pastry and baking, which can be applied to sweet and savory cooking, restaurants and catering.
  • Create pastries & baked goods using alternative flours and fats to meet special dietary needs.

Restaurant & Culinary Management

  • Explore the interplay between concept development, menu design, pricing and profitability​.
  • Study the basics of cost control and restaurant accounting, including the development of a business plan.
  • Examine "the people side" of the business as it relates to staff supervision and service management.

General Education and Career Development

  • Develop written and verbal communication skills as they relate to recipe writing, reviewing, food blogging and culinary demonstrations. ​​
  • Explore the interconnections between cuisine, historical events and international locations, and the growth of America's culinary culture. ​​
  • Connect personal, professional and financial goals to examine how they contribute to career and personal success, as well as the ​​importance of leadership and team-building. ​
  • Study the basics of nutrition and the relationship between diet, health, nutrients and how a culinary professional can use this knowledge.

This 61-credit hybrid program leads to an associate’s degree in occupational studies (AOS). It is composed of:

  • 24 credits in Plant-Based Culinary Arts, offered on campus (except externship which is at a foodservice site).
  • 21 credits in Culinary Management, offered on campus.
  • 16 credits in applied general education, offered online.

Program duration varies according to the schedule option selected. The length of time normally required for completion of each schedule option is determined by calculating the average number of weeks including student-free days and holidays. International students should note that this Associate's Degree program qualifies for F-1 visa applications.  

  • Cost:  $47,950
  • Start: June 8th, 2023
  • Morning or afternoon (24 weeks)
  • Five days (20 hours/week)
  • Morning, afternoon or evening (24 weeks)
  • Three days (12 hours/week)
  • 9 weeks (40 hours/week)
  • Off-site at a foodservice establishment
  • Six online courses
  • 17 weeks
  • Chef
  • Restaurant Management
  • Food media
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Food and Beverage Operations
  • Hospitality
  • Hotel Operations

Tuition, Fees and Charges Include:

Kitchen tools and knives
Chef jackets
Chef pants
Application fee
All applicable taxes

Take the Next Step

Why Choose ICE

You know it's in you — the ambition to pursue a rewarding career in health-supportive, plant-based food. Attending culinary school is one of the best ways to begin the journey. ICE is ready to help you find your culinary voice.

12 Reasons Why You Should Choose ICE.


Ready to take your interest in ICE further? Speak to an admissions representative about your personal goals, start your application or download our career brochure so you can access information about our career programs anytime.

Admissions Services

Applying to ICE

ICE Career Brochure

Proven Results

From 1977 to 2018, the Natural Gourmet Institute graduated more than 2,500 professional chefs from 33 countries who became chefs, entrepreneurs, teachers, nutritionists, authors and even physicians. Meet some of the NGI community's thought leaders:

  • Pablo Garcia, co-founder of, a health coaching business and wellness blog for men.
  • Dustin Harder, host and creator of “The Vegan Roadie” web series, on which he explores vegan businesses and plant-based food across America.
  • Elyse Kopecky, co-author of two cookbook for runners: "Run Fast Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes" and "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes."
  • Stefanie Sacks, certified nutrition specialist and certified dietitian nutritionist, consultant, radio host, blogger and author of “What the Fork Are You Eating?”
  • Bryant Terry, author of "Afro Vegan" and chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco.

The Institute of Culinary Education also has successful alumni serving health-supportive and/or plant-based cuisine:

  • Abbie Gellman (Culinary, '01), dietitian, chef, founder of Culinary Nutrition Cuisine LLC and scientific advisor to Jenny Craig.
  • Vivian Howard (Culinary, '03), chef and owner of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina.
  • Dan Long (Culinary, '04), founder of fast-casual salad chain MAD Greens in Colorado.
  • Cai Pandolfini (Culinary, '03), owner of five locations of plant-based cafe Green & Tonic in Westport, Connecticut.
  • Pnina Peled (Culinary, '00), senior executive chef at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
  • Guy Vaknin (Culinary, '07), founder of Beyond Sushi Inc. in New York City.

Meet a few Natural Gourmet Institute alumni below.

Amanda Cohen is the chef-owner of Dirt Candy.Amanda Cohen is the chef-owner of Dirt Candy, a vegetable-focused restaurant on New York City's Lower East Side, which celebrated 10 years in 2018. The chef features seasonal vegetables as main courses, without a lifestyle or political focus, innovating with constantly changing ingredients.

Chef Cohen is from Ottawa, Canada, and attended the Natural Gourmet Institute's Chef's Training Program in 1998. "NGI really gave me the tools to go into kitchens and feel really comfortable," she said. "And one of the things you start discovering is that everybody who walks into a kitchen really doesn’t know anything. Every kitchen is a new environment. And the school gave me a sense of history with food."

After culinary school, she worked with Bobby Flay and helped open a vegan tea room before debuting Dirt Candy in October 2008. The restaurant had 18 seats for its first seven years before moving to 86 Allen St. in 2015. Dirt Candy has been called "the future of vegetarian restaurants" by the Village Voice; "the absolute best restaurant on the Lower East Side" by New York Magazine; and "one of America's 100 best restaurants for wine" by Wine Enthusiast.

Chef Cohen has competed on "Iron Chef" and appeared as a guest judge on "Top Chef Canada." She wrote "Dirt Candy: A Cookbook," North America’s first graphic novel cookbook, and was one of the first NYC chefs to eliminate tipping and restructure compensation for her staff. Chef Cohen was nominated for a James Beard Award, Best Chef: NYC, in 2014 and 2018.

Tal Ronnen is the chef at Crossroads in LA.
Tal Ronnen photo by Elizabeth Daniels

Tal Ronnen is the chef at Crossroads in Los Angeles. Known for his vegan cooking, Chef Tal served the first vegan dinner at the U.S. Senate, prepared meals for Oprah's 21-day cleanse, and catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding. He graduated from NGI's Chef's Training Program in 2004 and gained experience at Candle 79 in New York City, Madeleine Bistro in LA and Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Tal opened Crossroads in 2013. The Mediterranean vegan eatery has since been recognized as one of the "best vegan restaurants in America" by Tasting Table, the "best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles" by Travel & Leisure, and "99 essential restaurants" by L.A. Weekly. 

Chef Tal has published two cookbooks: "Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine" and "The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat."

Meet more NGI alumni in health-supportive and plant-based careers here.