Bon appetit! Famous New York culinary school expands to Pasadena

An example of chefs at work in a restaurant kitchen. Photo from Pixabay.

The Institute of Culinary Education is opening a second location in Pasadena, after 42 years in New York City.

“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 ICE President and CEO Rick Smilow. “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 Le Cordon Bleu at 521 E. Green St., which is already equipped with the necessary infrastructure to build a culinary school. Renovations will begin early next year to “update the school to reflect the brand standards of its flagship NYC campus,” according to ICE, which anticipates opening and commencing teaching in the first half of the year.

The school’s initial focus will be six- to 13-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.

ICE said the school “will aim to create the same sense of community, creativity and campus life offered in NYC, adapted to the thriving L.A. food scene,” 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.”

Celebrated chef/restaurateurs Wolfgang Puck and Tom Colicchio welcomed news that ICE is expanding to the West Coast.

“L.A. 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,” Puck said.   Colicchio said he’s “been working with ICE students in New York for years and they are consistently among the best young chefs in my restaurants. I’m very much looking forward to having an institution like ICE produce the same level of talent for my L.A. and Las Vegas restaurants and to what their next generation of culinary leaders will do for the West Coast food scene.”

Prominent ICE alumni include chefs Mark Murphy and Vivian Howard, “Top Chef’s” Gail Simmons and “Modernist Cuisine” co-author Maxime Bilet. ICE alumni who have launched successful eateries in the Los Angeles area include Zoe Nathan (Rustic Canyon), Steve Samson (Sotto and Rossoblu) and Vic Casanova (Gusto).

In 2015, on the school’s 40th anniversary, ICE moved to a 74,000-square- foot facility at Brookfield Place in downtown Manhattan.

–City News Service