New York, NY (August 2005) — Television acting is not on the academic menu at The Institute of Culinary Education. Nonetheless, four of the fifteen cast members on the recent FOX TV hit Hell’s Kitchen were ICE alumni. All four were selected by the show’s casting agents without knowledge of their mutual ICE background.
The “reality” TV show, an offshoot of the same show aired in the United Kingdom, featured the Michelin-starred, London-based, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his two sous chefs, as they put twelve cooks, with varying experience levels, to the test in his culinary boot camp. The contestants faced near impossible situations in the made-for-TV Los Angeles restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen, and each week one was eliminated based on his or her performance in the kitchen.
Of the twelve contestants, three are ICE alumni:
• James “Jimmy” Casey is a 2005 graduate and is currently a manager in ICE’s Purchasing Department.
• Chris North is a 1994 graduate and is currently executive chef of The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood in Rowayton, Connecticut.
• Wendy Liu is a 2000 graduate.
On the show, Chef Ramsay had two non-contestant sous chefs assisting him. One of them, Mary Ann Salcedo, is a 1999 ICE alumna. Salcedo is currently executive chef at Merchants restaurant in New York City.
During Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Ramsay came across as a particularly tough and unforgiving task master. Based on his fifteen-plus year reputation in England, this personality was not all an act for TV. Still, the ICE contestants felt it was a valuable, educational and fun experience. ICE alumnus James Casey said “Chef Ramsay was really tough on me, but I learned an incredible amount about cooking and restaurant operations in that month. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Hell’s Kitchen aired on FOX from May 30 to August 1. The ultimate winner was 27-year-old Michael Wray from Ft. Collins, Colorado. At the end of the show, Michael was offered his own restaurant or the chance to move to London and work with (and learn from) Chef Ramsay. He chose the London option.
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE®) is New York City's award-winning center for culinary education. Founded in 1975 by Peter Kump, the school offers highly regarded 8- to 12-month career training programs in Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Culinary Management and Hospitality Management. With an intensive curriculum, dedicated Chef Instructors, a strong record in externship placements and a clear entrepreneurial focus, ICE is widely regarded as a great pathway to begin or continue a culinary career. ICE also runs the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking classes and wine education courses in the country, with more than 26,000 enthusiasts taking any of the 1,500 classes offered each year. In 2008, ICE was named the International Association of Culinary Professionals' (IACP) Culinary School of the Year and a School of Distinction by the ACCSCT in 2006. ICE's 42,000 square-foot facility is open seven days and nights a week, 350 days a year and is located at 50 W. 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010. More information can be found at www.iceculinary.com.