Professional chefs earn their degrees here, but ICE also offers non-pros dozens of classes each month. These range from the basic, like Cooking 101, to the utilitarian, like Best Ever Simple Dinners, to the esoteric, like Vegetarian Soul Food from the Near and Middle East.
The school has plenty of local students, but classes are scheduled to make them practical for travelers too.
Plan Your Trip
Classes available: ICE offers approximately 1,500 classes a year. Subjects include cooking techniques, ethnic cuisines, baking, wine tasting, and candy making. There are classes designed around ingredients, meals, spices, and special classes for couples, families, and kids. Download course catalog here (PDF).
Class size: Most classes have 10 to 16 students.
Class length: Three to five hours, over one or two sessions. Some classes extend over additional days. Many classes that last more than a day are held on consecutive days, rather than once a week, making them feasible for travelers to attend.
Meals: You'll eat what you prepare in most classes, additional nibbles are sometimes served.
Cost: Prices vary. Around $100 for a single class, around $400 for multiple day courses, special programs can cost over $1,000.
Location: 50 W. 23rd Street, New York, N.Y.
Phone: (800) 522-4610
Tip: Book early, classes often fill up months in advance.
The FacilitiesThe school is an impressive 42,000 square feet, with many kitchens, all equipped with top-of-the-line cooking stations, including Wolf ranges, Vulcan ovens, All-Clad and Calphalon pots and pans, OXO kitchen tools and KitchenAid mixers. The dedicated wine classroom is 900 square feet, and is properly ventilated so cooking odors from the rest of the school do not intrude upon your nose or palate.
What You'll Learn
Typically, the class divides into groups, and each group prepares one dish. There are exceptions to this format, for instance, in a class called Everyone Cooks Everything, you work with a partner to prepare every single dish in a given meal.
ICE's most popular class is Techniques of Fine Cooking, which focuses on cooking skills rather than recipes. Learn deep frying, grilling, mousse-making, and so on. This class is five hours a day for five days, and runs at least once a month.
Among the specialty classes, one standout is Great New York Restaurants' Signature Dishes. You'll learn how to prepare dishes from famed kitchens, like Le Bernardin's hanger steak with Bordelaise sauce. Another unusual class: Beware the Ides of March: Dining in Imperial Rome, which dips back into ancient Roman cuisine for recipes from De re Coquinaria, the world's oldest known surviving cookbook. Learn to cook lasagna with chicken and sweetbreads.
ICE also offers many classes that focus on wine, including lots of tasting. Unlike most other classes, multiple-day wine courses tend to run over several weeks. (Probably because back-to-back bouts of intense wine drinking isn't advisable.) If you're not planning a long NYC trip, opt for one of the many single-session classes instead. There are evening classes that focus on the basics, for example, How to Read and Order from a Wine List. And there are many classes that go in-depth on a particular region or varietal.
What You’ll Take Home
Optional Add-OnsICE also offers a series of culinary walking tours and market trips. These last several hours and cost between $75 and $110.
Walking tours take you through New York City’s great food neighborhoods, such as “Little India” in Jackson Heights, Queens, or Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, known for its Italian food. Other walks focus on a food theme, for example, chocolate, wine, or cheap eats. Tours include time for shopping, and at least a snack if not a meal.
Market trips take you to iconic places like Chelsea Market or the Union Square Greenmarket, and end back at an ICE kitchen, where you'll cook a meal prepared with the ingredients you purchased.