Rapture on Returning to WorkCynthia is beaming over her pursuit. "The first day in class I had to fight back the tears five times. I couldn't believe that I was finally out there doing things for myself again," she says. "As one of my instructors said to the class, 'there was no turning back.' I was on my way!" The program immerses students into the entire cooking process, from the history of food and food culture, to selecting and preparing food, to running a restaurant. In fact, ICE offers a separate program in culinary management. Cynthia's program will give her a diploma in culinary arts, and it crams the equivalent of roughly two years of college into about a year. Throughout the year, Cynthia will get a chance to hone her newfound skills, by getting special access to the kitchens of top restaurants, by working as an apprentice on a few occasions, and so on. "The school focuses on core essentials such as in the use of knives and the impact of cutting methods on food texture and taste," Cynthia says. The goal is "making sure that we know every basis element of cooking so that we have a solid foundation to build on." One of Cynthia's instructors, Juventino Avila, was nominated for "Best Latin Chef" in 2001 by Time Out magazine, is an alumnus of top Latin restaurants, and is currently writing his own cookbook. He has impressed upon his class the importance of being well prepared, telling students: "From here on, it's living and breathing cooking and food. No more Vogue," only food and dining magazines while in training, he instructed. Following the formal coursework, Cynthia will obtain a 210-hour "externship" at a New York restaurant before moving on to become a chef. The externship is extremely appealing because the Institute has ongoing relationships with many of New York's top restaurants, including Union Square Cafe, Restaurant Daniel, Le Cirque, Chanterelle, Babbo and Aureole. Recent ICE grads have also gone on to Rialto in Boston, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., as well as food-focused media outlets such as Martha Stewart Living, Gourmet, Food Arts, Wine Spectator and the Television Food Network.
|Cooking Up a Storm |
|Institute for Culinary Education|