Kelly Newsome, a culinary arts student at ICE

Alumni Testimonials

"The greatest thing I've ever done."

Everyone has their own reasons for enrolling in culinary school.

Some are career changers who decided to take a risk in pursuit of their passion for food and hospitality. Others are recent graduates, looking to build the skills and confidence to launch their first careers. Still others are experienced culinary or hospitality professionals who are determined to take their careers to the next level. All of them chose ICE — we asked them why. 

Watch — and Get Inspired

"I know I'll succeed in the pastry world."

Calvin Luk - Pastry & Baking Arts '17

Hong Kong-born Calvin Luk took a taste of a cup of hot chocolate and he knew he needed to become a world-class chocolatier. "I had been studying chocolate making for some time before I enrolled at ICE," Calvin says. "But it wasn't until I met Chef Michael Laiskonis that I realized there was so much more to learn." Calvin saw ICE's bean-to-bar chocolate lab and knew this was the school where he wanted to advance his career as a pastry chef. With lessons from ICE chef-instructors, volunteer opportunities with esteemed chefs and his growing levels of comfort in professional kitchens, Calvin is primed for the professional pastry world.

Dreaming of Culinary School for 15 Years

Kelly Newsome - Culinary Arts '17

For 15 years, Kelly Newsome dreamed of going to culinary school. Though her infatuation with food and cooking was sparked during college, various factors (like all-too-common concerns from family and friends) pushed her off that track and into office jobs. It’s not an uncommon situation, but what set Kelly apart was her tenacity — it drove her to take small steps toward achieving her ultimate goal. Finally, at age 38, Kelly decided she couldn’t ignore her dreams any longer, and enrolled in ICE’s Culinary Arts program. “I just realized I’m never going to be happy unless I follow this passion inside me, which is to work in food.”

From Basic Training to Brooklyn Back-of-House

Christian Souvenir - Culinary Management '16

From 17-year-old high school grads to former doctors, artists and executives, ICE students come from all walks of life. In the case of Brooklyn native Christian Souvenir, it took many years in the military before the desire to attend culinary school took hold. The switch from government intelligence work to cooking may seem like a drastic change, but Christian’s disciplined background is serving him well in the kitchen. Since graduating ICE’s Culinary Arts program in 2011, he has already worked in some of Brooklyn’s most innovative new restaurants, including Nightingale 9 and French Louie. Thanks to ICE’s flexible scheduling options, Christian was able to continue kitchen work while pursuing a second ICE diploma in Restaurant & Culinary Management. “I love cooking in restaurants,” Christian explains. “But I saw myself on this path where I could potentially be in charge of people and not have the tools to really help them get better.”

More Testimonials

Amy Simidian is a Pastry & Baking Arts graduate

Amy Simidian (Pastry, '16)

“An ICE education is one of the most rewarding, awe-inspiring investments you can make in yourself. From day one you become part of a broad network of creative classmates, industry influencers and a team of staff dedicated to helping you succeed.”

Lauren Jessen is a Culinary Arts and Culinary Management graduate

Lauren Jessen (Culinary/Management, '16)

“As a dual Culinary and Culinary Management student, ICE provided exactly the foundation I was looking for to transition seamlessly into the food industry. The instructors, advisors, curriculum, volunteer opportunities, and facilities all played impactful roles in my culinary school experience, and I felt better prepared to approach my new career with confidence.”

Alonso Soto

Alonso Soto (Management, '20)

“I couldn't be happier with the education I received from ICE. It has made me a better business person and given me the confidence in myself to open a new restaurant, which I will be naming Agave Mexican Kitchen.”

Crystal Hanks is a Pastry and Baking Arts & Culinary Management graduate

Crystal Hanks (Pastry, '11/Management, '12)

“I love to be a small part in other people’s happiness. ICE is opening my eyes to all sides of the business in a timeline that allows me to work full time as well. ICE is teaching me how to keep focused on my vision and manage all the details of it.”

Christina Ferro is a Culinary Management graduate

Christina Ferro (Management, '12)

“ICE gave me a more professional take on the industry that I would not have had otherwise. Aside from the affordable tuition, the curriculum intrigued me. I felt it was the best well-rounded school for what I plan on doing with my career.”

Scotty Bernadeau is a Hospitality Management graduate

Scotty Bernadeau (Hospitality, '16)

“ICE lives up to their reputation and delivers in giving students, the knowledge and hands-on experience from instructors actively working in the field. If someone is looking to make a career change and get a foot in the hospitality and hotel industry , ICE will be there holding the door the open.”

Zach Gray is a Culinary Arts and Culinary Management graduate

Zach Gray (Culinary/Management, '16)

“As a career changer, ICE’s Double Diploma program spoke perfectly to both sides of my brain. With Culinary Arts, I learned the proper techniques to express my creativity through food, and with Culinary Management, I gained practical knowledge about the food business to turn my creativity into a profitable career.”

Calvin Luk shares why he decided to enroll in the pastry arts program at ICE

"The Chocolate Lab at ICE is one of the main reasons that [I was drawn to the school] over ICC or CIA, because having a bean-to-bar chocolate lab in the school makes ICE more modern and forward-thinking."

Calvin Luk
Pastry & Baking Arts '17

Featured Stories

From "The Real World" to Restaurant Kitchens

Jessica McCain - Culinary Arts '16

After some college studies, soul searching and a couple of spots on reality TV (including being cast for MTV's "The Real World: Portland" and "The Challenge"), Jessica McCain found herself craving more for her career. Jess always had a passion for food and knew it was time to take that leap — so she called up the Institute of Culinary Education, and 10 days later, she began her first day of culinary school. Throughout the program, Jess made friends, discovered new cuisines and began to hone her culinary voice, as well as her career goals. Now this future chef shares her story and her dreams of becoming a Michelin-starred chef.

"The greatest thing I've ever done."

Lauren Katz - Pastry & Baking Arts '16

ICE student Lauren Katz already had a great job as an editorial assistant at Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine. Yet she knew she could boost both her culinary career — and her confidence — with hands-on training at ICE. Building a broad foundation of technical knowledge can help you get your foot in the right doors, climb the professional ladder and open your eyes to a wide range of career paths in the culinary industry.

Honing His Skills, Learning "The Right Way"

Peter Martinez - Culinary Arts '15

While some ICE students have never set foot in a professional kitchen before coming to culinary school, others are looking to take their career to the next level. Take Culinary Arts student Peter Martinez, who had already held the title of executive chef at a small restaurant before enrolling at ICE. Peter explains: “There are so many things that I thought I knew, but coming to ICE taught me the actual technique behind cooking. My skills increased tenfold.” What’s more, Peter was able to fund part of his education through scholarship opportunities at ICE, as the winner of the 2015 “Cookin’ With Allagash” competition. As he takes his next steps in the industry, ICE’s Career Services department will be with Peter and his classmates every step of the way: “They helped me so much in terms of networking, meeting different chefs and how to approach positions the right way.”

Discover our award-winning career programs

Study Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Plant-Based Culinary Arts (formerly known as Health-Supportive Culinary Arts), Restaurant & Culinary Management, Hospitality & Hotel Management in one of the culinary capitals of the world: New York City.