Pastry school students prepare breads in class at the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Choose ICE

"As a school and an institution, we are vibrant, focused and driven by ideals. The career success of our alumni is an ongoing goal, and source of pride," - Rick Smilow, ICE Chairman and CEO

Finding The Best School For Your Personal Goals

There are many culinary schools to choose from. They vary by size, location, length of program, course of study, job placement rate and cost. We pride ourselves on the quality of our curriculum, instructors, facility, ingredients, as well as the doors an ICE education can open through externships, networking and volunteering opportunities. Moreover, we’re committed to providing this value in less time than many other schools.

You may consider culinary school for the variety of opportunities available in the food and hospitality industries, from eventually becoming a restaurant or private chef to starting your own food business, covering food in the media or exploring corporate dining or events. ICE students can develop culinary, baking, management and beverage skills for professional positions inside or outside of the kitchen, in under a year.

Read 12 reasons why you should begin your culinary career path at ICE.

The ICE Difference

Small, Hands-on Classes for Personal Mentoring

ICE’s classes are intimate. We believe in providing an individualized learning experience for all students — if you need help, we can support you, and if you need extra motivation, we can push you. A smaller class size also makes it easier for your creativity and personal interests to be heard.

ICE students volunteer for a James Beard Foundation event at the Institute of Culinary Education

A Hub of Culinary Creativity

Students are encouraged to volunteer at a wide range of industry events and charitable functions. ICE also hosts frequent guests for lectures and demos on both campuses. ICE’s Special Events Division also regularly hosts culinary and press events at our New York campus, from high-profile cookbook launches to lectures and demonstrations with acclaimed restaurateurs and chefs. These events can provide exceptional opportunities for students to access the broader community of culinary innovators in and beyond the walls of our facility.

An ICE chef instructor places a toque on a pastry school graduates head

A Diverse, Inclusive Culinary Community

Your career in food can have a lot to do with the people you surround yourself with and the level of commitment you bring to the table. That’s why, at ICE, we’re incredibly proud of the strength of our community. While your time in the classroom only lasts a few months, our instructors, faculty and alumni network can remain a valuable professional resource throughout your career.

12 Reasons to Pursue Your Culinary Dreams at ICE

You know it's in you — the ambition to pursue a rewarding career in food. Attending culinary school is one of the best ways to begin the journey. ICE is ready to help you find your culinary voice.

Students may wonder how to choose the best culinary school to attend. Below are 12 reasons why thousands of students have started their culinary and hospitality careers with an ICE education.

The Daily Meal and other publications and organizations have praised ICE as the best culinary school in America

1. A Leader and Respected Institution in Culinary and Hospitality Education

Since it's founding, over 40 years ago, ICE has educated more than 18,000 alumni. Our diploma and associate degree programs have an established reputation among chefs, restaurateurs, pastry experts, food publications, hoteliers and culinary professionals around the world. Our courses, connections and focus on the student experience make ICE an ideal place to start a culinary, pastry or hospitality career.

Over the years, ICE has been rated as a top culinary school by multiple organizations: USAToday  and DailyMeal ranked ICE as the No. 1 Culinary School in America;  EDinformatics rated ICE as the best culinary school in America; FSR Magazine listed ICE as one of America’s top culinary schools; and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) named ICE “Culinary School of the Year” four times.*

Gail Simmons praises the Institute of Culinary Education culinary school

2. A Roster of References

ICE graduates have entered the workplace with the foundation and skills to gain experience under culinary icons as exceptional as Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Danny Meyer, Wolfgang Puck, Missy Robbins, Marcus Samuelsson, Christina Tosi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

We also receive rave reviews from our grads: In a survey of ICE graduates, 87% of alumni indicated that they would recommend an ICE education to someone looking to launch a career in the culinary or hospitality fields, and 88% indicated that an ICE education was important in their culinary careers**.

A student works at the stovetop in a kitchen classroom at the Institute of Culinary Education

3. Innovating for the Future

ICE is growing, innovating and expanding for the future. In 2022, ICE introduced several new programs: An online culinary arts program and an online management training program for students who are unable to attend classes in person at our NY or LA campuses; and two new associate degree programs – our Pastry & Baking Arts program and our Plant-Based Culinary Arts program - through our LA campus.  Previously, ICE signed a licensing agreement with the International Culinary Center (formerly known as The French Culinary Institute) to bring aspects of ICC’s expertise, unique offerings and heritage to our campuses in New York City and Los Angeles.

welcome lobby and front desk of ICE's New York campus

4. Campuses in America’s Culinary Capitals

New York City and Los Angeles are home to ICE’s two campuses, which were designed with community and creativity in mind. Students in both locations have access to their city’s vibrant food and hospitality scene, home of many of America’s most highly regarded and trendsetting restaurants and hotels. Chefs and executives from the cities’ top restaurants and hotels often come to campus to speak and network with students.

ICE New York is located in lower Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River. ICE’s Los Angeles campus opened in 2018 and is located in Pasadena’s historic Playhouse Village. Students at both locations have access to a hydroponic garden and a culinary technology lab, and experience distinct opportunities for culinary discovery and innovation in our professional teaching kitchens. Both campuses also provide stimulating environments for studying, professional development and community.

In New York, students also have access to a bean-to-bar Chocolate Lab and a Mixology Center.

Explore Our NY Campus
Explore Our LA Campus

Balthazar bakery is one of the many esteemed restaurants that ICE students can extern at.

5. Externships and Job Placement

ICE’s Career Services department prides itself on the breadth and depth of its relationships with leading restaurants, bakeries, hotels and other employers interested in hiring ICE students and graduates. Each year, ICE students extern at hundreds of restaurants and food establishments, mostly in NYC and LA. This in-the-field training can be an exceptional opportunity for hands-on experience, networking and concrete references for job interviews. Frequently, students get job offers from their externships.

For job placement, our Career Services team guides graduates long after graduation. This includes weekly alumni emails with job openings, pop-up recruiting events, and career fairs. It’s a service we believe is a crucial part of our student success, and one you should expect from a culinary school.

A Restaurant & Culinary Management class

6. Crucial Culinary Business & Management Training

Cooking and baking can be creative forms of expression. However, long-term viability depends upon a sound business plan. ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program is accredited and designed to help prepare students to own, manage or operate a food business. We teach how to write a business plan and navigate human resources, public relations, restaurant finances, marketing and more.

Taught by former and current restaurant owners and managers, our business program uses our home cities (Los Angeles or New York City) as extensions of the classroom.

We offer dual diploma discounts so that students can combine the Restaurant & Culinary Management program with our Culinary Arts program, Pastry & Baking Arts program or Plant-Based Culinary Arts program to earn two diplomas at ICE in as little as a year. The Management courses are also an integral part of the associate degree programs available through our LA campus.

Restaurant & Culinary Management 
Dual Diplomas

A Culinary Arts class poses with their dishes

7. Career Training in Under a Year

Did you know that most ICE diplomas can be earned in under one year? ICE offers morning, afternoon, evening, weekend and online class schedules starting almost every month throughout the year. These schedules are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to fit culinary or management training into your life and accommodate families, jobs and other obligations. This flexibility also makes earning a dual diplomas or associate degree a convenient option.

A French dish at ICE

8. Global Perspective and High-Quality Ingredients

While ICE’s culinary curriculum is grounded in classic French technique, it also offers the opportunity to explore global foods, including the cuisines of Italy, China, Thailand, India and more. Our strong emphasis on quality sourcing means that you’ll cook these dishes with ingredients from the same local purveyors that cater to the city’s finest restaurants — or our own hydroponic garden!

Chef Michael Laiskonis is a pastry chef instructor and creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education

9. High-Caliber Chef-Instructors and Faculty

Esteemed teachers — like Chayanin Pornsriniyom, who worked with Amanda Cohen at one-Michelin-starred Dirt Candy in New York for a decade, and Mishel LeDoux, who was a general manager at José Andrés and Wolfgang Puck restaurants. These are just two of the experienced professionals instructing in ICE programs. We set a high standard for skill, knowledge, expertise, passion and, of course, a love for teaching.

An ICE chef instructor poses with culinary arts students at the Institute of Culinary Education

10. Hotel Management and Plant-Based Cooking Are Part of Our Recipe

ICE is an institution with a track record of adding innovative programs. The Hospitality & Hotel Management program offered through our NY campus prepares students for diverse career paths in hotels, restaurant groups, special events, tourism and more. In 2019, ICE introduced our Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program, based on the Natural Gourmet Institute’s plant-forward curriculum. In 2023, ICE renamed the program Plant-Based Culinary Arts to reflect the program’s ingredient focus. The coursework continues to focus on food-and-healing, the nutritional aspects of ingredients, cooking techniques and how to roll it all together to best benefit health.

A selection of spices in cups on a baking sheet

11. A Menu of Extracurricular Options

In addition to career training programs, ICE offers a wide array of recreational cooking, baking, business management, wine and mixology classes each season, in addition to continuing education for industry professionals. Classes have included Essentials of Moroccan Cooking, Charcuterie Intensive, Cuban Surf & Turf and Pasta Boot Camp. We regularly host demos and guest lectures, and there are ongoing opportunities to volunteer with chefs and restaurateurs at external events or venues like the James Beard House.

ICE students work together to prepare a dish in culinary school

12. A Variety of Class Schedules

ICE offers morning, afternoon and evening class schedules with multiple class starts a year. For students who are unable to attend classes on campus in NY or LA, ICE offers online diplomas with an online culinary arts program as well as an online management program. These unique offerings are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to fit culinary or management training into your busy life and accommodate families, jobs and other obligations while earning a diploma in a matter of months. This flexibility also makes dual diplomas a convenient option.

Gail Simmons praises the Institute of culinary education instructors, facilities, curriculum and industry access

"ICE gave me the solid foundation I needed to embark on a successful and unique culinary career. The instructors, facilities, curriculum and industry access are of the highest quality and I left the program having gained an invaluable education."

Gail Simmons
Culinary Arts Graduate