Michael Laiskonis teaches advanced pastry studies.

Classes with Michael Laiskonis

In March 2012, ICE welcomed award-winning pastry chef Michael Laiskonis as its first-ever Creative Director. Laiskonis has long been one of the culinary industry's most creative and talented chefs.

During his eight-year tenure as executive pastry chef at Le Bernardin, Laiskonis helped the restaurant earn four stars from the New York Times and three Michelin stars.

ICE_First_Fridays_4.8.17_edited-5_375x375.jpgHe was named to America's Top Ten Pastry Chefs by Pastry Art & Design in both 2002 and 2003, and was Bon Appétit's Pastry Chef of the Year in 2004. Best known for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, he was also awarded the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007 and IACP Culinary Professional of the Year in 2014.

As creative director, Laiskonis works with the ICE educational leadership team to direct new projects in curriculum development and research, teach culinary classes, mentor ICE students and faculty, and serve as an industry ambassador for ICE. Bringing his talent, insight and experience to ICE, Laiskonis' classes are an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the industry's most respected professionals.

Groundbreaking Chocolate Research

At ICE's lower Manhattan facility, Laiskonis oversees the bean-to-bar Chocolate Lab, a veritable wonderland for current and aspiring chocolatiers, and an ideal space for Laiskonis to hone his expertise in artisanal chocolate production. He leads a variety of students — from ICE career students and recreational cooks to established pastry chefs and professionals — in a diverse batch of educational courses covering a broad spectrum of hands-on skills and techniques. Watch the video below to learn more about ICE's bean-to-bar chocolate production.

Churros

Churros vs. Bomboloni: A Dessert Duel

  • Monday, June 4, 6-10:30pm
  • $125 • 1 session

In this hands-on class with creative director and award-winning Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis, students will tackle two classic dessert traditions, from both Spain and Italy. Head-to-head dishes will include Fried Churros and Bomboloni; Creamy Panna Cotta and Crema Catalana; and a battle between two tarts, Pastel Vasco and Torta Della Donna. With this sweet lineup, everyone wins!

A craft milk chocolate bar

Chocolate 201: Craft of Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Making

  • Sat-Sun, May 5-6, 10am-4pm
  • $595 • 2 sessions • Level 1

Explore ICE's Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Lab in this two-day chocolate experience. In this workshop, open to pastry and culinary professionals, ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis will be offering an exclusive hands-on look at the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process. Attendees will roast, winnow, grind, formulate, and refine artisan-quality couverture, creating a one-of-kind batch from start to finish. Additional discussion will include tempering, molding, and further applications of the finished chocolate.

Polyscience control freak cooking caramel

Tools & Technology: PolyScience in the Pastry Kitchen

  • Tuesday, July 10, 1-2:30pm
  • $40 • 1 session

Join ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis for a look at incorporating evolving technologies with key pastry applications, featuring the Control Freak induction system, the SonicPrep ultrasonic homogenizer, and the Rotary Evaporator. Throughout the demonstration, students will see and taste flavor-forward preparations created with precise temperature control, emulsification, and flavor extraction, including various ice creams, confections, and plated desserts.

A dessert made by Michael Laiskonis with different iterations of chocolate and ice cream

Ice Cream & Sorbet Technology

  • Fri-Sat, July 20-21, 10am-4pm
  • $595 • 2 sessions • Level 3

Whether enjoyed alone or as vital components in modern plated desserts, ice creams and sorbets present more than meets the eye. By looking deeper at their structures—complex solutions, suspensions, or emulsions—pastry chefs continue to refine formulas, techniques, and ingredients to create ever more flavorful results. In this class with former Le Bernardin Executive Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis, students will be exposed to basic frozen dessert theory. You'll prepare a range of examples—from Granitas; Sorbets; and classic Ice Creams to more innovative preparations and static frozen items.

extra flaky croissants with many layers

Home Patisserie: Laminated Doughs

  • Monday, June 25, 6-10:30pm
  • $195 • 1 session • Level 3

Amateur cooks often leave the world of delicate laminated doughs to professional bakers, but with a pinch of patience and a dash of confidence, these light and flaky preparations are easy to master. This class with ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis will uncover the mysteries of Simple Puff Pastry; Yeasted Croissants; and Danish Pastry, as well as unique specialties such as Caramelized Kouign-Amann and Savory Pain au Lait.

Campari Grapefruit pate de fruit by Chef Michael Laiskonis

Modern Confectionery Techniques

  • Monday, October 22, 10am-4pm
  • $295 • 1 session •  Level 3

This deep dive into contemporary candy with ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis will explore the underlying science of both new trends and refined classics. We'll start with a primer on ingredients, including sugars, gelling agents, fats, and flavors. The session will unite confectionery theory as we make relevant treats hands-on, such as: Gummies; Caramels; Nougats; and various chocolate applications.

Crunchy choux pastry with raspberry top by chef Michael Laiskonis

Foundations of French Pastry

  • Thursday, September 13, 6-10:30pm
  • $195 • 1 session • Level 3

Many of today's most basic of pastry preparations were either born or refined in the kitchens of France. However, despite the centuries-old techniques, home cooks can (rightfully) still find them intimidating. Join ICE Creative Director and James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis in this class, where he breaks down classic bases such as: Pâte à Choux; Brioche; Pain de Gênes; and Puff Pastry. Each fundamental skill will then be applied to create finished desserts.