Boy, you sure lucked up. I’m keeping it short and sweet today, meaning I’m keeping my words down to a minimum and letting images and someone else do most of the talking.
Cross yourself and thank your lucky stars.
One of the highlights of BlogTourNYC was the final night’s dinner at L’Ecole, the SoHo restaurant that serves as the proving grounds for graduates of the French-based cooking school.
Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton took us on a behind the scenes tour. She is animated and enthusiastic when talking about the institute she founded 30 years ago, so I’m going to let her tell you about it:
“Good food has no boundaries.
When I founded The French Culinary Institute in 1984, I never imagined how much we’d grow. Since our beginning, the culinary world has grown, too. We now offer programs in so many different disciplines, more than we ever conceived possible including our ground-breaking Farm-to-Table extension and Spanish Culinary Arts program created by José Andrés. That’s why The French Culinary Institute has evolved into the International Culinary Center. If you want to be a great chef, you can’t learn everything from within the walls of a classroom. When you come here, you don’t just learn basic culinary skills. You come to understand and to feel the whole the industry, inside and out. You have to network. You have to observe the true meaning of world-class performance. You have to intern at some of the world’s great restaurants.
It’s no coincidence that our campuses are geographically placed in the very hearts of culinary excellence in New York, California and Italy. That way, you can have easy access to so much more than the classroom itself.
Our deans and chef-instructors are not teachers in search of a quiet life. Our deans are some of the most famous names in the culinary world—Jacques Pépin, José Andrés, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, David Kinch, Jacques Torres, Emily Luchetti, Cesare Casella, Alan Richman and master sommeliers Larry Stone and Scott Carney. Under their direction, our highly trained chef-instructors prepare students to be world-class kitchen-ready in just six to nine months.
ICC continually invests in our curriculum, ensuring the most current and comprehensive programs possible. Our courses range from culinary, pastry and cake design to bread baking, Italian culinary and restaurant management, from food writing to intensive sommelier training. More than that, they allow you to explore your own sense of taste and develop your palate beyond anything you might have imagined. Many students tell us how they came to us with one sense of taste and left with it entirely changed.
There is one common thread to all of our classes. We hold our teaching and our sense of skill, taste and culture to a very high standard. Our alumni do the same. We are home for more than 15,000, many of whom have become world-renowned. David Chang, Bobby Flay, Christina Tosi, Dan Barber, and so many more took the classic French principles that you’ll only learn here and used them to let their imaginations–and their careers–fly. Please look around the site. Take your time and see the mise en place that we have to offer. I invite you to visit one of our locations for a private tour and meet our faculty or contact us to ask any questions you might have.
We look forward to having the opportunity to help you become your best and realize your dreams.”
Ya. I realized a dream that night and then…I ate it. Because I have a case of Food and Wine Forgetsy, I can’t tell you what I ordered for dinner, but, know this, the entire evening was an multi-sensory experience I won’t forget.
Take a look at what goes on behind the scenes, while patrons at L’Ecole break bread, drink wine and deep dive into the kind of conversation that happens while lingering over exceptional cuisine:
Cooking in New York, California, or Italy…it’s all intensive work.
Sore backs, aching feet and bruised egos are all a part of a chef’s reality.
On the flip side, aroma, texture, and flavor are only a small part of the L’Ecole diner experience.
We had a picture perfect evening. These people–I love these people!–looked so content and I couldn’t help but to sneak away from my table to see if I could catch the feeling in a photograph:
If memory serves, they had to kick us out.
If you’re headed to NYC, Cali or Italy (you lucky duck), consider taking one of their day classes or longer intensives for people who just want to improve their cooking skills. Personally, I’m a little bummed I missed “Cream Puffs, Eclairs and More,” but my pants are happy about it.
Fun factoids as ICC turns 30:
- Over 1 million dishes have been served at L’Ecole and Julia Child was one of it’s first guests
- It takes 600 hours of training to earn a diploma in Culinary Arts of Pastry Arts
- With over 15,000 graduates, 126 Michelin stars have been awarded to Faculty and Alumni of ICC
- ICC uses an average of 21, 946 pounds of butter, 932 pounds of chocolate, and produces 40,000 baguettes a year
- ICC and The James Beard Foundation have been selected to build the US Pavilion for the 2015 World’s Fair in Milan (Let’s go!)
- It’s best not to wear a black dress, because you might get fresh marshmallow Juju all over it when they offer to let you try one and you eat six
May your weekend be filled with sweetness and good company,
To find out more about ICC visit:462 BROADWAY NEW YORK, NY 10013