The Institute of Culinary Education Celebrates 2023 Graduating Class in New York City and Los Angeles


– National culinary icons Marcus Samuelsson and Stephanie Izard inspire ICE's future chefs –

NEW YORK (May 24, 2023) – The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) celebrates the accomplishments of the 2022-2023 graduating class at its commencement ceremonies at the New York City and Los Angeles campuses. This year, ICE also celebrates growth, with 67% more graduates than just five years ago in 2019. The newest generation to enter the hospitality industry has completed at least one of ICE's diploma or associate degree programs, including Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Plant-Based Culinary Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management and Hospitality & Hotel Management. This year, ICE is also proud to announce the first graduates of its Online Culinary Arts & Food Operations program.

In addition to its graduations, ICE also celebrates growth, with 67% more graduates than just five years ago in 2019.

Graduates from the Institute of Culinary Education participate in the ceremonial toque toss during their ceremony. For more visit

Graduates from the Institute of Culinary Education participate in the ceremonial toque toss during their ceremony. 

At the May 9 New York City ceremony, the keynote speaker was Marcus Samuelsson, an award-winning chef, author, television personality and philanthropist. In Los Angeles on May 22, ICE welcomed the award-winning Stephanie Izard, chef/owner, author and TV personality as the keynote speaker. The alumni speaker in New York was Le Bernardin's Executive Pastry Chef Orlando Soto, and in Los Angeles, graduate Jessica Alferos, a sous chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago Beverly Hills spoke.

"ICE commencements have tremendous energy and enthusiasm, and we are excited to see the paths these motivated and talented graduates pursue," said Rick Smilow, ICE's long-time CEO. "And we are thrilled to host such respected chefs at this year's commencement ceremonies. Their careers have been illustrious and we are honored that they will be offering their guidance and encouragement to our graduates." 

Providing the keynote address at the New York City commencement ceremony on May 9, esteemed Chef Marcus Samuelsson shared words of motivation and advice with graduates. He shared the game-changing story of adversity from early in his career. While working in France, his goal at the time was to open his own restaurant and his chef made it clear that wasn't possible. "He said as a Black person, you cannot own your own restaurant. You may work in a restaurant but you can never own it. His point was I had to change my dream and lower my goal. Think about that, how would that work, if you had to change your dream and lower your goal. Not well. I actually have to thank him because he inspired me, truly…if somebody tells you that you can't do something, guess what, you're going to do it better than ever. I took that challenge." Samuelsson left that position and set himself on the path to become one of the industry's most celebrated chefs.

At the Los Angeles ceremony, graduates heard from celebrated Chef Stephanie Izard. She empowered the audience to follow valuable advice for industry veterans, but to also listen to themselves and forge their own path, as she was able to do over the course of her respected career. She also provided a unique perspective on a future role in the industry. "When you get the opportunity to be a part of a restaurant opening, I highly recommend it. If there's a new restaurant opening in town and you can be part of that opening team, it truly feels incredible…just to help decide how the stations are set up, you have such huge pride in being part of an opening team." She also shared some news with graduates who may be looking to follow that advice: "by the way we're opening another restaurant in LA in a few months, just saying." 

ICE's focus in 2023 and beyond is to continue expanding its program offerings to align with the ever-evolving food landscape. The Online Culinary Arts and Food Operations program, launched in early 2022 and the Online Plant-Based Culinary Arts program launched this year.  Samuelsson commented on the growth potential of plant-based culinary technique in his commencement address. "I remember when I graduated…how different our industry looked. When I look at this room I see the diversity, the spiritual diversity, the global impact, the new fields…maybe in 10 years the plant-based [program graduates] is 90% and the room looks very different. I just love how you [graduates] see new opportunities, and it's going to be needed to have new resolutions for dealing with a new set of challenges."

Both keynote speakers capped their speeches with graduate group selfies from the stage, stressing the importance of social media and changing communications as a skill needed in the industry during their speeches. For the first time this year, ICE ceremonies were live streamed on YouTube: click here and here for the New York ceremonies and here for Los Angeles.

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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 16-month in-person and online career training programs in Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Plant-Based Culinary Arts, Restaurant & Culinary Management and Hospitality & Hotel Management, in addition to professional development in Techniques of Artisan Bread Baking, The Art of Cake Decorating and Intensive Sommelier Training — with more than 16,000 alumni, many of whom are leaders in the industry. 

ICE also offers continuing education for culinary professionals, hosts more than 300 special events each year and is home to one of the world's largest recreational cooking, baking and beverage programs. ICE's 74,000-square-foot, cutting-edge campus in New York City and its 38,000-square-foot Los Angeles campus were designed for inspiration, creativity and community. Visit us at or join us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube at @iceculinary to find your culinary voice™.

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