NEW YORK, NY — In 2001, The Institute of Culinary Education ran 77 separate wine courses attracting just over 2,000 students, a 66% increase from the prior year. Based on enrollment in the first quarter of this year the Institute anticipates a further increase for 2002, according to school president Rick Smilow. Comments Smilow, "The public's interest in wine education is clearly growing. I attribute this to many factors, including the availability and good value of 'New World wines,' restaurateurs' attention to wine and food pairings, and the internet."
The Institute's wine program offers multi-week survey courses, single-subject evenings, comparison tastings and introductory classes for novices lasting from one to six sessions. The program is overseen by Director of Wine Studies Ron Ciavolino, a chef and sommelier who teaches many of the most popular classes, including "Wine Essentials: A Varietal Approach," "Really Great Wines for Under $15 and Over $50" and "A Comparison of Great Wine Regions of the World."
Guest instructors representing the top experts in the field, including sommeliers (Roger Dagorn, Daniel Johnnes), wine journalists (Michael Bonadies, Michael Green) and authors (Karen McNeil) are featured on a regular basis as well. Classes range in price from $50-$85 (single sessions) to $425 (six sessions) and are generally offered every weekday evening.
Markedly popular are classes and events emphasizing wine-and-food pairing in which students experience first-hand how specific varietals and vintages interact with different foods and flavors. This summer alone the Institute will host 12 such events. New food-and-wine programs introduced in 2002 include:
"Perfect Pairings Series: Celebrations for Lovers of Food and Wine." Hosted by chef-instructor Andrew Gold, who is also a wine importer and a Wine Spectator Grand Award of Excellence winner, the evenings revolve around a single theme and each course is served with a different wine matched to that food's flavors; Shellfish, Pâté and Cheese, and Flavors of the Mediterranean will be offered this summer.
"Winemaker's Dinners." Offered in conjunction with Opici Import Company, an ICE® chef-instructor is paired with one of Italy's great winemakers. The series kicked off on March 16th with the wines of the San Felice Winery (Chianti region, Tuscany) introduced by producer Leonardo Bellacini. The four-course dinners will continue with Meletti Liqueurs in June, Coppi Winery in September, and Rainoldi Estate Wines in November.
"I see many parallels between our growing wine program and our well-established cooking courses," comments Smilow. "In both cases, we aim to demystify a specific topic for students, at the same time opening their eyes and palates to a much wider field of knowledge and expertise."
In 1999, in conjunction with a move to new quarters at 50 W. 23rd Street, the Institute built a 900-square-foot classroom for wine education. The room is designed with full ventilation (so cooking odors don't intrude) and special incandescent light for accurate color viewing. The Institute will offer approximately 130 wine classes and events this year.
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.