NEW YORK, May 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, the International Culinary Center (ICC) marked its 30th anniversary with the commencement of hundreds of graduates at NYC's Carnegie Hall. Chef and alumni Bobby Flay (Culinary '84, the first class) delivered the keynote. ICC, which opened its doors as The French Culinary Institute in 1984, now has locations in New York, California and Italy. Other notable alumni include Wylie Dufresne, Dan Barber, David Chang, Josh Skenes and Christina Tosi, while Deans of its culinary programs span legends such as Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner, Jacques Torres, Jose Andres and more.
ICC has won the "Award of Excellence" for professional training by the International Association of Culinary Professionals from 2010-2014, and most recently was chosen with James Beard Foundation to create the USA Pavilion at the 2015 World's Fair (EXPO) in Milan.
For Flay, the skills he learned at age 19 gave him both roots and confidence to improvise. "My basic French technique is in use whether I'm cooking southwestern food at Mesa, American-regional cuisine at Bar Americain, with Mediterranean ingredients at Gato or even flipping burgers and making Parisian-style French fries at Bobby's Burger Palace. Every single day, I put to use something I learned at ICC."
Flay also urged patience, and to make sure the food came first. "I have to admit that it bugs me when I hear people enroll in culinary school just to get their own cooking show. I think going into the media of food is fun and exciting, but one plea to anyone in this hall is to hone your skills first. Become a great cook, bank a lot of knowledge, learn how to fix your mistakes...it's important to be patient."
With a 91% graduation rate, 15,000 students from 80+ countries have graduated from ICC. The average age is 28, and the majority has switched professions entirely – from bankers, lawyers, doctors, architects – to attend culinary school. Several Outstanding Alumni recognized at the commencement are "career-changers," including Susan Povich, a Harvard-trained lawyer who owns Red Hook Lobster Pound in Brooklyn, NY, and Chika Tillman, a Wall Street banker-turned-chef/owner of Chikalicious and Chikalicious Dessert Bar. Other Outstanding Alumni were recognized in various categories, including: Lars Williams ('06), Head of R&D at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark; Johnson Yu ('02), Lead Bread Instructor at ICC; Elizabeth Button ('07), CEO of Heirloom Hospitality Group in Asheville, NC and Rebecca Banks ('05), Wine Director of Balthazar.
"Today's graduates are not only defining the culinary world by becoming chefs at ground-breaking restaurants," says ICC founder and CEO, Dorothy Cann Hamilton, "They're becoming entrepreneurs in a constantly growing culinary landscape."
For the "ingredients" to making great chefs over the last 30 years, please see attached Infographic.
SOURCE International Culinary Center