Find your cullinary voice

Classes with Michael Laiskonis

Classes with Michael Laiskonis PastryIn 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.

Fresh off of an eight-year tenure as Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin, Laiskonis is well known for helping the restaurant earn four stars from The New York Times and three Michelin stars. He 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.

As Creative Director, Laiskonis joins 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. He is bringing his talent, insight and experience to ICE students in this new and innovative role. His classes are an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the industry's most respected professionals.

Additionally, with the opening of our brand new, state-of-the-art facility at Brookfield Place, Laiskonis has taken on the role of overseeing ICE's Chocolate Lab, honing his expertise in bean-to-bar, artisinal chocolate production. He will lead 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 applications. Watch the video below to learn more about ICE's bean-to-bar chocolate production.

Take professional development classes at ICE with pastry chef and Creative Director Michael Laiskonis


Professional Continuing Education Classes

Students and alumni should register with customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

Baking and Pastry Technology

Monday, September 25, 6-10:30pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Each ingredient we incorporate into basic batters and complex doughs supplies its own unique composition and function. In this class, students will become acquainted with the inner workings of baking and pastry staples, from cereals, grains, and sweeteners to eggs, dairy products, and leaveners. We'll work through a range of preparations, including Breads, Cakes, Laminated Doughs, and Cookies.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

The Art of the Pre-Dessert

Saturday, September 30, 6-10pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Pre-desserts—the tiny preludes to dessert proper—have become commonplace in the fine-dining experience, and an important bridge between the savory and sweet courses of extended tasting menus. In this class, we will examine the role of the contemporary pre-dessert and how to pack maximum flavor and texture into just a few bites. Recipes prepared will include custards and various fruit preparation, as well as several sorbets and the basic building blocks of pastry.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

The Art of the Entremet

Friday, October 13, 10am-4pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Contemporary cakes, or entremets, as they have come to be known, represent one of the highest art forms to emerge from the pastry kitchen. In this extended class, we will consider the architecture of textures and flavor profiles that make up these multilayered
creations. We'll make carefully balanced mousses, creams, and cake components; as well as various modern methods of décor.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

Sugar Science: Functions and Applications in Modern Pastry

Wednesday, November 15, 1-5pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

When we refer to "sugar," we typically mean sucrose—yet there are many other sweeteners available to today’s pastry chefs that offer unique properties in baking, pastry, and confectionery work. This demo will provide a basic primer into the composition and functionality of a range of sugars beyond the familiar sucrose—
including glucose and corn syrups, invert sugars, and lactose, as well as alternative sweeteners such as isomalt, sorbitol, and xylitol. An array of products and techniques utilizing these sugars will be explored.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

From the ICE Pastry Lab: Recent Discoveries

Sunday, October 15, 10am-2pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

As ICE's Creative Director, Michael Laiskonis spends as much time working in the kitchen behind the scenes as he does interacting with students. In this demo, he will share recent discoveries made in confections and plated desserts, in pursuit of seasonal inspiration, new techniques, and a better understanding of classic preparations. A discussion of the inspiration behind the experiments will be accompanied by a demonstration of these dishes—and, of course, a tasting of the final results.

Click here to register, or contact customer service at 212-847-0770 or email

In the Chocolate Lab

How Chocolate Gets Its Taste

Wednesday, October 4, 6-10pm
$125 • 1 session

Chef Michael Laiskonis and chocolate expert and critic Clay Gordon guide you through this special behind-the-scenes class, exploring the idea that every step of the chocolate-making process is the "most" important—since each phase introduces numerous variables that affect the final product. In this lecture and tasting course, students will compare cocoa beans at various stages to better understand the cause-and-effect nature of processing methods: 

• Unroasted beans
• Roasted nibs (multiple roast profiles of same bean)
• Ground liquor
• Finished chocolate in tempered and untempered form
• Pastry and savory applications prepared from the finished chocolate.

We'll discuss the flavor evolution of a chocolate from the raw bean onward, highlight the creative possibilities in the process while also considering how things can go wrong. And don't forget the many tastings we'll do throughout the class!

Click here to register.

Craft Chocolate Camp

Mon-Thu, February 5-8, 6-10pm
$1,250 • 4 sessions

This intensive four-day study offers hands-on experience as we explore, in depth, the numerous variables involved in each step of the chocolate-making process. In this workshop, open to pastry and culinary professionals, ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis will guide students through the underlying art and science of chocolate. Attendees will roast, winnow, grind, formulate, and refine multiple batches of artisan-quality couverture. Special attention will be given to the science of tempering and molding finished bars. Building upon our popular two-day workshop, you will cover:

• A historical overview of chocolate and current industry trends
• Sorting and analysis of cocoa beans according to genetics and origin
• Roasting, winnowing, and grinding, along with various equipment options
• Refining processes for dark, milk, and white chocolate products
• Cocoa-butter pressing
• Multiple tempering processes, and molding of finished chocolate
• Comparative identification and sensory analysis of chocolate products
• Batches of dark, milk, and white chocolate will be made.

Click here to register.

Chocolate 101: A Bean-to-Bar Experience

Thursday, September 28, 6-10pm
$195 • 1 session

Let James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis give you a complete, one-of-a-kind introduction and overview of the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process. In this lecture/demonstration class, he will start with a discussion of chocolate production, broadly covering agricultural aspects, post-harvest treatment, and a preview of the processing steps covered during the session. Students will observe each stage of production, from roasting of the cocoa beans, winnowing, and grinding the
winnowed nibs into chocolate liquor, to refining, sifting, and final production of finished bars. Chef Laiskonis will close with a short guided tasting of several chocolates of varying origin and formulation. Students will leave the class with samples of the chocolate produced, plus an assortment of exclusive bars available only at ICE.

Click here to register.

Chocolate 102: Fundamental Techniques

Friday, December 8, 6-10pm
$195 • 1 session
Chocolate forms the backbone of many of our most beloved desserts and confections, yet the complex techniques required for success often elude most home cooks. Building upon our introductory bean-to-bar class, students will further utilize our exclusive house-made chocolate in finished preparations with a range of origins and flavor profiles. In this demonstration and hands-on class, students will be learn basic tempering, molding, and decoration techniques, as well as finished confections and desserts that best showcase craft chocolate’s alluring properties. Recipes covered in class will include Single-Origin Bonbons; Chocolate Caramels; Spiced Hot Chocolate; and Chocolate Crémeux.

Click here to register.

Artisanal Chocolate Workshop

Sat-Sun, November 18-19, 10am-4pm
or Thu-Fri, January 18-19, 10am-4pm
$400 • 2 sessions

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. In this workshop, you will cover:

• An introduction to the world of craft chocolate
• Cleaning  and sorting of cocoa beans
• Roasting, winnowing, and grinding
• Refining process for single-origin dark chocolate
• Tempering and molding of the finished chocolate
• One batch of dark chocolate will be made.

Click here to register.

Recreational Classes

Bonbons 101

August 25, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Any time is the right time to brush up on your chocolate skills! In this class with James Beard Award-winning Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis, students will review the basics of chocolate tempering and formulating chocolate centers, with an array of fillings and confections for use in truffles, molded chocolates, and candies. This part hands-on and part demonstration-based class will feature recipes that include Bonbons with Simple Ganache, Nuts, and Caramels, such as Banana, Star Anise, Pistachio, Passion Fruit, Raspberry, and Hazelnut.

Click here to register.

Replacing Recipes with Ratio

October 2, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Rather than view the recipe as merely a road map from point A to B, accomplished cooks are better served by recognizing the underlying proportions and relationships that common recipes reveal. Knowledge of these basic ratios allows for greater freedom and variations, in addition to a well-informed foundation to troubleshoot problems in the kitchen. In this class, we will begin with simple doughs and batters, upon whose ratios we can expand our baking repertoire with more complex preparations. Recipes will include: Basic Bread Dough; Pâte à Choux; Crêpes; and Pâte Sablée.

Click here to register.