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

Composition and Structure: The Humble Complexity of Milk

Wednesday, June 7, 10am-2pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Milk and its constituent dairy products are among the most widely used products in both the sweet and savory kitchen. In this class, students will see this simple yet complex ingredient broken down into its most basic components in order to better understand how they behave when applied to any number of cooking methods. Demonstrated recipes and methods will include: Cultured Butter; Fresh Ricotta; Ice Cream; Custards; and Mousses.

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

An Introduction to Ice Cream and Sorbet Technology

Thursday, May 18, 6-10pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Whether enjoyed alone or as vital components in modern plated desserts, ice creams and sorbets present more than meets the eye. By looking deeper at their structures—complex solutions,suspensions, or emulsions—pastry chefs continue to refine
formulas, techniques, and ingredients to create ever more flavorful results. In this class, students will be exposed to basic frozen dessert theory, and will prepare a range of examples, from classic vanilla and chocolate ice creams to more exotic preparations, including Brown Butter Ice Cream; Rose Sorbet; and static frozen items.

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

A Hydrocolloids Primer

Monday, June 19, 6-10:30pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

In this extended class, students will gain exposure to a range of common hydrocolloids—gelatin, agar agar, pectin, gellan, alginate, and methylcellulose—and basic applications that can be employed in both savory and sweet components. General topics will include basic ratio formulation, hydration, and synergies of two or more thickening agents. Recipes will include: Beet Meringues; Bone-Marrow Pearls; Parmesan Noodles; Edible Wrappers; Pear Spheres; and Parsnip Crème Brulée.

Click here to register, or contact 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

Composition and Structure: A Scientific Approach to Cooking

Friday, July 14, 10am-4pm
$60 students/alumni • $125 general public

Only with a basic understanding of the composition and structure of everyday ingredients can thoughtful chefs cook with a reliable confidence. In this extended class, students will explore a practical materials science approach to a number of fundamental culinary preparations, in order to gain insight into the chemistry and physics at play in the kitchen. Concepts covered will include emulsions and foams, proteins and starches, and caramelization and the Maillard reaction. Recipe exercises incorporating these processes will include: Vanilla Ice Cream Profiteroles; Passion Fruit Meringue Tarts; Salted Caramel Bonbons; and Soft Pretzels.

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

In the Chocolate Lab

Artisanal Chocolate Workshop

Mon-Tue, May 15-16, 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.

Students will leave the class with samples of the chocolate produced.

Click here to register.

Craft Chocolate Camp

Mon-Thu, August 21-24, 10am-2pm
$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.

Students will leave the class with samples of the chocolates produced.

Click here to register.

Chocolate 101: A Bean-to-Bar Experience

Wednesday, June 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, August 18, 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.

Recreational Classes

The Breakfast Pastry Basket

Monday, April 24, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Few tasks are more rewarding than baking for family and friends for breakfast and brunch. This hands-on class will review several basic styles and techniques to expand your repertoire and improve your breakfast-pastry game, with Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis by your side. Recipes will include variations on Scones; Muffins; Morning Buns; Brioche; and Coffee Cake.

Click here to register.

Spring and Summer Market Desserts

Monday, May 8, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

The arrival of spring heralds a fresh palette of flavors after a dearth of seasonal fruit during winter. In this class, students will embrace the change of seasons and the market’s whim by incorporating spur-of-the-moment ingredients, such as rhubarb and first-of-the season berries and stone fruits. Chef Michael Laiskonis will demonstrate recipes that may include Rhubarb-Yogurt Panna Cotta; Blueberry-Basil Tarts; Cherry Clafoutis; and Apricot-Pistachio Choux.

Click here to register.

Classic Candies at Home

July 27, 6-10:30pm
$125 • 1 session

Candy is cool again, thanks to a revival of artisan confectioners, whose creations manifest both a nod toward our nostalgic favorites and an insistence on quality ingredients. In this class, students will learn some of the secrets of chocolate and sugar cooking, as well as the underlying science that will help to demystify our favorite sweets. This demonstration-based class will feature recipes including: Soft Caramel; Nougat; Marshmallow; and Gianduja.

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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.

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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.