The Institute of Culinary Education Announces Wolfgang Puck and Dan Barber as 2019 Commencement Speakers


-- Chef Wolfgang Puck will speak at ICE’s Los Angeles campus’ inaugural commencement ceremony --

NEW YORK (April 25, 2019) – Today, the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) announced its two 2019 commencement ceremony speakers. Chef Dan Barber and alum Adrienne Cheatham will speak in New York City in May, while Chef Wolfgang Puck and alum Matthew Leung will be part of the Los Angeles campus’ first graduation commencement in June.

Industry icons Puck, chef-owner of more than 35 restaurants, and Barber, executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, will share insights from their storied careers in the food and hospitality industry at each commencement ceremony.

“We are honored to host such esteemed chefs as these at this year’s commencement ceremonies. Their careers have been illustrious and the advice and remarks they will share with our graduates is sure to be inspirational,” said Rick Smilow, ICE’s president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to offer our graduates this last note of motivation as they move on from our campuses to their careers.”

Puck has opened dozens of restaurants and bars around the world since he debuted Spago in Hollywood in 1982. Throughout nearly 45 years in Los Angeles, he has been nominated for two dozen James Beard Awards, winning seven, including Outstanding Chef in 1991 and 1998 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He earned two Michelin stars at Spago Beverly Hills and one Michelin star at CUT, his steakhouse in the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

Barber has led the national conversation connecting restaurants, agriculture, food systems and ultimately sustainability. He's been featured on Netflix's "Chef's Table," named one of TIME's 100 most influential people in the world, and won eight James Beard Awards among more than 15 nominations. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is No. 12 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list, and Chef Dan won the 2018 Chefs' Choice Award.

Their speeches will be preceded by an alum from each coast. In New York City, "Top Chef" runner-up Cheatham will speak to her experiences as executive sous chef at Le Bernardin, executive chef at Red Rooster Harlem, and corporate chef de cuisine for Marcus Samuelsson, before launching her pop-up dinner series, SundayBest.

West Coast alum speaker Leung won ICE’s #CulinaryVoice scholarship contest, which was featured on ABC’s “The Chew,” in 2018 and enrolled in Culinary Arts at our Los Angeles campus that same year. Upon completing his classroom hours, he earned an externship as a commis at The French Laundry, where he was hired full time.

The New York campus graduation will take place at NYU Skirball Center on May 14 at 9 a.m., followed by the Los Angeles campus' inaugural commencement at the Pasadena Playhouse on June 3 at 6 p.m.


About the Institute of Culinary Education
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is one of the largest and most diverse culinary schools in the world with campuses in New York and Los Angeles. Established in 1975, ICE offers award-winning six to 13-month career training programs in Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Health-Supportive Culinary Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management and Hotel & Hospitality Management and continuing education programs in Artisan Bread Baking and the Art of Cake Decorating — with more than 14,000 successful alumni, many of whom are leaders in the industry. Notable alumni of ICE’s programs include Gail Simmons, Missy Robbins, Marc Murphy, Mashama Bailey and Steve Samson. ICE also offers continuing education for culinary professionals, hosts more than 500 special events each year and is home to one of the world’s largest recreational cooking, baking and beverage programs with 26,000 students annually. ICE’s 74,000-square-foot, cutting edge campus in New York City and its new west coast campus in Los Angeles were designed for inspiration, creativity and community. Visit us at or join us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @iceculinary to find your culinary voice™.

Stephanie Fraiman
Public Relations Director
Institute of Culinary Education
(212) 847-0703