The Institute of Culinary Education recently announced its plan to open a second location near downtown Los Angeles, after 42 years in New York City. ICE will bring to Southern California its award-winning education model, which includes a highly developed curriculum, student focus, strong externship and job placement record, as well as a deep connection to the local culinary and hospitality industries.
As ICE launches in LA, the school’s initial focus will be six to thirteen month career diploma programs in Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts and Restaurant & Culinary Management. The Hotel & Hospitality Management program will be added later in the year.
“Los Angeles is an ideal next step for ICE, as it has the confluence of food culture, diversity, job opportunities and a nationally recognized, vibrant culinary community that ICE can support and grow just as we have in New York City,” said Rick Smilow, ICE’s president and CEO. “ICE will provide a new option for ambitious and creative students who want to start or change careers, advance in the culinary and hospitality industries or are cost- and time- conscious in their approach to education.”
ICE took over a portion of the lease previously occupied by the former Le Cordon Bleu Pasadena location, which is already equipped with the necessary infrastructure to build a culinary school. ICE will update the school to reflect the brand standards of its flagship NYC campus opened in 2015 — often considered the “best in the nation” by leaders of the food industry. Renovations will begin in early 2018, and ICE anticipates opening and commencing teaching in the first half of the year.
“I was thrilled to learn that the Institute of Culinary Education is expanding and opening its second location in Los Angeles,” said Wolfgang Puck, chef and restaurateur. “LA is a hub of culinary innovation, and having a culinary school of ICE’s caliber in this market will only enhance the city’s standing as a major culinary center in the United States.”
The school will aim to create the same sense of community, creativity and campus life offered in NYC, adapted to the thriving LA food scene. Once career program classes are up and running, ICE will build on its platform for inspiration and is considering options to offer specialized amenities and features similar to the NYC campus, such as a chocolate lab, culinary technology lab and an extension of its “farm to classroom” program, and later on, recreational classes and special culinary events.
“I’ve been working with ICE students in New York for years and they are consistently among the best young chefs in my restaurants,” said Tom Colicchio, chef and restaurateur. “I’m very much looking forward to having an institution like ICE produce the same level of talent for my LA and Las Vegas restaurants and to what their next generation of culinary leaders will do for the west coast food scene.”
The school will employ top tier culinary professionals to teach ICE’s curriculum. While an ICE education is grounded in classic French technique, it also offers the opportunity to explore food globally, including the cuisines of Italy, China, Thailand, India and regional America, as well as specialized techniques from artisan bread baking to modernist cooking and more. ICE will work to evolve its globally-inspired curriculum to reflect the local culture, diversity and flavor of LA.
In addition to its highly regarded Culinary Arts and Pastry & Baking Arts programs, ICE will also offer its Restaurant & Culinary Management program, which focuses on owning, operating or managing a food business. This will allow students to “double major” and learn both how to work in and make money from the business of food.
“California has always been a trendsetter when it comes to the culinary arts,” said Panorea Avdis, Director, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “ICE’s new LA campus will ensure future generations of top chefs are pushing the boundaries of our state’s long-established variety of cuisines and locally sourced ingredients, which gives us that added advantage as a global destination for adventure seekers, business travelers and entrepreneurs, alike.”
ICE is currently one of the top-rated culinary schools in the nation, receiving a ranking as the number one culinary school in America from The Daily Meal in 2016, and distinctions from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, FSR Magazine, online education directories and more. Over the years, numerous ICE alumni have won top national awards and become leaders in the field. Prominent alumni include Chefs Mark Murphy and Vivian Howard, Top Chef’s Gail Simmons and Modernist Cuisine co-author Maxime Bilet. Many ICE alumni have launched successful businesses in the Los Angeles area, including: Zoe Nathan (Rustic Canyon), Steve Samson (Sotto and Rossoblu) and Vic Casanova (Gusto).
“At ICE, our mission is to enable the creative light within each individual, empowering them to find rewarding careers in the culinary and hospitality industries,” said Smilow. “We’ve helped more than 14,000 alumni find their culinary and hospitality voices, and are thrilled to be able to bring that mission to the west coast and Los Angeles area.”