Find your cullinary voice

Amy Thielen

ICE Alumni Amy Thielen TV Host on Food Network, Cookbook Author
Culinary Arts 2000

Amy Thielen was living in a cabin in the woods of Minnesota, “growing a garden, canning and working part-time as a breakfast cook at a diner," when she realized she wanted to go to culinary school. For her, ICE was a good fit for a number of reasons: the cost was reasonable, the New York City setting was appealing and she just felt at ease in the school.

After being hired from her externship at David Bouley’s (now-closed) Austrian restaurant Danube—which received 3-stars from the New York Times—Amy went on to work on a number of projects, including recipe testing for Bouley’s cookbook, East of Paris, as well as cooking in some of New York City’s top kitchens, including db Bistro Modern, Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Chinese restaurant, 66, and Cru. When she became pregnant with her son, Amy began to pursue freelance work in test kitchens, developing recipes for magazines like Country Living.

Amy then took a step back from city life, relocating to her cabin in the woods of Minnesota with her husband and newborn son. It was then that she began to put pen to paper for the proposal of her cookbook, The New Midwestern Table (Clarkson Potter), which was published in 2013. It was widely celebrated, winning the 2014 James Beard award for best book on American cooking—not Amy’s first JBFA; she won a journalism award in 2011—and has since helped usher in a new era of interest in the culinary traditions of the Midwest.

The New Midwestern Table also caught the attention of another cookbook author: celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich. Lidia’s production company, Tavola, wanted to produce a television show loosely based on the book, and soon Food Network came knocking. Two seasons of Heartland Table—filmed at Amy’s Minnesota cabin—have aired so far.

Amy is currently working on a food memoir, and posts regular updates to her blog.

To read an interview with Amy on the ICE blog, click here.