When Peter Kump passed away in 1995, an obituary in the New York Times proclaimed him “one of the most influential figures on the American food scene.” It was then that Rick Smilow, an entrepreneur passionate about education and the food industry, acquired the school. The Smilow family was already a notable participant in the New York City restaurant scene via its partnership with Chef Daniel Boulud and his restaurants, including Restaurant Daniel, Café Boulud and DB Bistro Moderne. Smilow remains the president and principal owner of the school.
In late 1995, the school opened a new Manhattan location at 50 W. 23rd Street. In 2005, the 23rd Street facility expanded further, as well as renovated its existing kitchens and classrooms and building a new resource library. The school ultimately occupied over 42,000 square feet in the Flatiron district, including 11 teaching kitchens.
By 1997, the school's recreational cooking program had grown to be the largest in the nation. At present, ICE offers over 1,700 hands-on cooking, baking, wine and beverage classes for home cooks each year. There is no other cooking school in America (or the world) that offers the equivalent depth, breadth and frequency of classes for culinary enthusiasts.
Over the years, the school, its graduates and its instructors have won numerous awards and honors. In 1997, New York magazine named the school the “best cooking school in New York.” In 1998, W Magazine included the school in its “Black Book … the World's Best Addresses.” In 1998, Pastry & Baking Arts Program Director Nick Malgieri was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. In 1999, Chef Malgieri was as one of America's Ten Best Pastry Chefs named by Pastry Art & Design magazine.
In 2000, the school was accredited by the ACCSC (American Commission of Career Schools and Colleges). In their institutional evaluation, the ACCSC honored the school for achieving four items of excellence, a rare accomplishment. Those areas were: 100% student satisfaction (all students surveyed would recommend the school to a friend); outstanding faculty and faculty commitment to students; the school’s facilities and equipment; and the school’s involvement in community service.