Pastry school students prepare breads in class at the Institute of Culinary Education

Explore ICE

"As a school and an institution, we are vibrant, focused and driven by ideals." - ICE President Rick Smilow

Finding The Best School For Your Personal Goals

There are many culinary schools to choose from. They vary by size, location, length of program, course of study, job placement rate and — of course — cost. We pride ourselves on the quality of our curriculum, instructors, facility and ingredients, as well as the doors an ICE education can open through externships, networking and volunteering opportunities. Moreover, we’re committed to providing this value in less time than many other schools.

You may consider culinary school for a variety of opportunities in the food and hospitality industries, from becoming a restaurant or private chef to starting your own food business, covering food in the media or exploring corporate dining or events. ICE students can develop culinary, baking, management and beverage skills for professional positions inside or outside of the kitchen.

Click here to discover 12 reasons why you should begin your culinary career path at ICE.

The ICE Difference

So, you might be wondering, what sets ICE apart? 
ICE Chef Instructor Toba Garrett demonstrates cake decorating techniques to a group of students

Small, Hands-on Classes for Personal Mentoring

ICE’s classes are intimate — never more than 16 students per instructor in Culinary Arts and Pastry & Baking classes. We believe in providing an individualized learning experience for all students — if you need help, we can support you, and if you need extra motivation, we can push you. A smaller class size also makes it easier for your creativity and personal interests to be heard.

ICE students volunteer for a James Beard Foundation event at the Institute of Culinary Education

A Hub of Culinary Creativity

ICE’s Special Events Division hosts over 500 culinary and press events annually, from high profile cookbook launches to lectures and demonstrations with acclaimed restaurateurs and chefs (like Thomas Keller, Alex Atala and Rick Bayless). These events are exceptional networking opportunities for our students, who regularly volunteer at on-site events.

This unrivaled access to an international community of culinary innovators goes beyond the walls of our facility. Students are encouraged to volunteer at a wide range of industry events and charitable functions, with ICE providing more student volunteers than any other school at such events as the the James Beard Awards, Dessert Professional’s “Top Ten Pastry Chefs” Awards and City Harvest’s NYC Chefs' Gala. 

An ICE chef instructor places a toque on a pastry school graduates head

A Diverse, Inclusive Culinary Community

Your career in food will depend on the people you surround yourself with and the level of commitment you bring to the table. That’s why, at ICE, we’re incredibly proud of the strength of our community. While your time in the classroom only lasts 6-12 months, our instructors, staff and alumni network remain valuable professional resources throughout your career.

Keep reading to discover 12 reasons why you should choose ICE.

12 Reasons to Pursue Your Future in Food at ICE

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

Students may wonder: how do I choose the best culinary school for me? Below are 12 reasons why more than 14,000 students have started their culinary careers with an ICE education. 

The Daily Meal and other publications and organizations have praised ICE as the best culinary school in America

1. One of the best culinary schools in America.

In 2016, ICE was named “The Best Culinary School in America” by The Daily Meal, a leading food and lifestyle website. ICE was awarded the same title by The Best Schools and EDinformatics, and listed as one of America’s top culinary schools by FSR Magazine. ICE was named Culinary School of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 2015, 2011, 2008 and 2003.

Over the past 40 years, we've educated more than 14,000 satisfied and successful alumni, and our New York City cooking school has a stellar reputation among chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, hoteliers and culinary professionals around the world. Our courses, connections and unique focus on the student experience make ICE one of the country's best places to start a career in culinary arts or the hospitality industry.

Gail Simmons praises the Institute of Culinary Education culinary school

2. Don’t take our word for it. Check our references.

The food industry agrees: ICE graduates enter the workplace with an edge. That's not all. Click here to read what culinary leaders including Daniel Boulud, Danny Meyer, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Anthony, Marc Murphy, Gail Simmons, Ivy Stark, Michael Laiskonis and Maxime Bilet have to say about ICE. 

We also receive rave reviews from our students: in a 2015 survey of ICE graduates, 93% of alumni would recommend an ICE education to someone looking to launch a career in the culinary or hospitality fields. And as for our graduation rate, in 2017 ICE’s official ACCSC graduation rate was a stellar 87%. [1]

*Graduation rate is based on 574 students graduating out of 657 students available for graduation, as filed in ICE's 2017 ACCSC annual report.

A student works at the stovetop in a kitchen classroom at the Institute of Culinary Education

3. Impressive facilities in America's culinary capitals.

Located in lower Manhattan, ICE's flagship New York facility was designed with community and creativity in mind. From our bean-to-bar Chocolate Lab to our Hydroponic Garden, our Mixology Center to our Culinary Technology Lab, ICE students experience unparalleled opportunities for culinary discovery and innovation. What's more, our New York location is mere steps from acclaimed international restaurants, gourmet markets and leading food media outlets. Ask any food professional and they’ll agree: employers value hiring culinary and hospitality staff who have trained at ICE. Opened in 2018, ICE's Los Angeles facility is located in Pasadena's historic Playhouse District, and features spacious teaching kitchens and ample space for studying and socializing between class. What's more, ICE students have access to LA's vibrant food scene, providing meaningful opportunities for culinary exploration. 

Chef Michael Laiskonis is a pastry chef instructor and creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education

4. Chef-instructors and faculty of the highest caliber.

Michael Laiskonis, former executive pastry chef at the famed Le Bernardin. David Waltuck, chef-owner of the beloved Tribeca restaurant Chanterelle for three decades. These are just a couple of the esteemed chefs that teach in ICE's kitchen classrooms. It isn’t easy to earn a position teaching at ICE. We set an extremely high standard for skill, knowledge, expertise, passion and — of course — a love for teaching. Our modern approach to culinary education reflects current trends in the food industry. In our management programs, all of the instructors are active consultants and have held the title of general manager or other executive positions. Whether they’ve worked in the top kitchens, front of house teams or in senior management, the experiences our instructors share are as real as can be, not just based on textbooks.

Balthazar bakery is one of the many esteemed restaurants that ICE students can extern at.

5. An externship program envied by other schools.

An ICE education includes a real world externship. While other culinary schools may provide work experience at on-site restaurants, ICE students have diverse career interests, from food media to catering to hotel management. In the past few years, we arranged paid and unpaid externships for over 1,500 students in more than 300 establishments. ICE's Career Service Advisors support students in the process of identifying potential externship sites, to ensure each externship fits your personal and professional goals. This in-the-field training consistently proves to be an exceptional opportunity for hands-on experience and networking at the heart of the industry, plus provides concrete references for your first job interview. In fact, many students are hired directly out of externship!

An employer sign at an ICE career fair

6. Stellar career placement services.

82% percent of ICE graduates who want a job in the field, get a job in the field! [2] The ICE Career Services department has a full-time staff dedicated to making sure your career stays on track, even long after graduation. It’s an investment we believe is a crucial part of the recipe for success that you should expect from a culinary school. Their work is so outstanding that they even received a commendation of excellence from our accreditor, the ACCSC, for their consistent hard work and dedication to alumni and ICE’s community.

To keep your career search on the cutting edge, the ICE Career Services department sends weekly emails to the ICE alumni network with an average of 175 job openings for ICE graduates. Plus, we offer career fairs with leading chefs and employers looking to recruit ICE students and alumni, as well as numerous networking and volunteer opportunities. 

A dish of lobster, parmesan and microgreens at the Institute of Culinary Education

7. Global perspective and the highest quality ingredients.

While an ICE education is grounded in classical French technique, it also offers the opportunity to explore food globally, including the cuisines of Italy, Spain, China, Thailand, Mexico, India and more. What’s more, our strong emphasis on quality ingredients means that you’ll cook these dishes with ingredients sourced from the same local purveyors who cater to the city’s finest restaurants — or our own hydroponic farm!

An ICE culinary management instructor guides students in class

8. The best way to learn the business.

Many people are surprised to learn that ICE does more than train chefs — we’re also an accredited and respected culinary business school, ideal for students who dream of owning, managing or operating a food business. ICE's Restaurant & Culinary Management diploma program is innovative. Simply put: there is no other program like it in New York City. Taught by former restaurant owners and managers — who are still active consultants in the field — our Restaurant & Culinary Management program features New York City as a classroom. Students learn how to write a business plan, core principles of public relations, marketing and sales strategies, how to navigate the basics of current human resources law and more. Our interactive class format also includes field trips and lectures with successful culinary entrepreneurs. Additionally, we carefully schedule our programs — and offer double diploma discounts — so that students can pair Restaurant & Culinary Management with Culinary Arts or Pastry & Baking Arts to earn two diplomas at ICE in under a year.

Many ICE graduates have gone on to win James Beard Awards

9. An alumni network with a track record of success.

For decades, ICE alumni have won numerous regional and national awards gaining recognition from a broad range of organizations, magazines and trade groups. The list includes the James Beard FoundationFood & Wine magazine, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, Forbes magazine, the American Culinary Federation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). 

Click here to see what renowned ICE alumni Gail Simmons, Marc Murphy, Maxime Bilet and Ivy Stark have to say about their ICE experience

Click here for a list of awards, honors and recognition

ICE students work together to prepare a dish in culinary school

10. The possibility to save time and money...on your schedule.

The right price, at the right time: Among New York’s most respected culinary diploma programs, and now with a second campus in Los Angeles, ICE is one of the most value-driven options. From our in-depth curriculum to opportunities for networking and volunteering, to externships that gain you experience and firsthand connections in the food and hospitality industry, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive approach to culinary education. And when it comes to course schedules, no school has more options than ICE. We have convenient morning, afternoon, evening, weekend and even late night classes starting each month throughout the year. There is even a three-day weekly schedule that meets Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. These unique schedules are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to fit culinary school into your busy life. 

A selection of spices in cups on a baking sheet

11. A rich menu of extracurricular options.

In addition to our career training programs, our School of Professional Development and our School of Recreational Cooking offer classes in cooking, baking, business management, wine and mixology, serving an audience of more than 26,000 home cooks and professional chefs each year. ICE students and alumni benefit from a rich menu of extracurricular classes, guest chef demonstrations and ongoing professional development opportunities. From molecular gastronomy to modern pastry techniques, we believe in exposing our students to every aspect of the culinary universe. Wine education is an essential part of that universe, and all students are given the opportunity to take our highly regarded six-session Wine Essentials course. What's more, every week there are several opportunities to volunteer with chefs at external events or venues like the James Beard Foundation townhouse.

An ICE chef instructor poses with culinary arts students at the Institute of Culinary Education

12. Focus and personal attention are in ICE’s DNA.

Both our 74,000 square foot New York facility and our 38,000 square foot Los Angeles facility feature small, hands-on classes with attentive, distinguished chef-instructors. From admissions to financial aid, to choosing an externship or job placement with our career services team, ICE prides itself on personal attention to our students. Teaching people like you about the world of culinary and pastry arts, restaurant management and hospitality is the only thing we do. You’ll benefit from being part of an institution that is so finely focused!

Gail Simmons praises the Institute of culinary education instructors, facilities, curriculum and industry access

"ICE gave me the solid foundation I needed to embark on a successful and unique culinary career. The instructors, facilities, curriculum and industry access are of the highest quality and I left the program having gained an invaluable education."

Gail Simmons
Culinary Arts, 1999