Culinary institute expands to meet growing interest in cooking careers

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Lauren Glassberg has the details. (WABC)

Cooking careers have become more popular, and schools are expanding to keep up with demand.

The Institute of Culinary Education started 40 years ago in a Manhattan apartment and now it's in its 4th location, larger than ever, reflecting how interested people are in the culinary field.

"This is the trick that nobody knows that you should do," said Chef Sim Cass to a group of students. He knows a thing or two about baking.

He's the dean of the bread baking at the Institute of Culinary Education, or ICE as it's known. And in a brand new kitchen, students are getting practical experience.

"I love the feel of it, I love all the machines and how real it is," said student Gabby Ramirez.

It is actually one of 12 new kitchens at ICE's brand new home down in Battery Park, in a building filled with financial and legal companies.

There's now almost an entire floor devoted to cooking.

"I've been with ICE for eight years and the grown has been absolutely amazing. We've doubled our space in our new location in our move from 23rd Street, and now get 80,000 square feet of cooking glory," said chef James Briscione.

Pretty incredible, considering ICE started 40 years ago inside the Upper West Side apartment of Peter Kump. Now 26,000 people take classes at ICE each year.

There are recreational classes as well as career classes. Plus there's a restaurant management program, and six lecture rooms for that. And then there's all the equipment, from cook tops, to pizza ovens and rotisseries.

There's a mixology lab and even a chocolate lab.

"We're really the first culinary school to have a full beam to bar chocolate lab," said chef Michael Laiskonis.

A testament to how interested chefs are in the artisan approach to food, and with windows looking out to the Hudson River, the kitchens make cooking that much more enticing.

"The world is obsessed with food and cooking, people are so interested in it. We never could have made a move like this and have the growth that we have without all this great opportunity," said Briscione.

ICE is also going to start growing their own herbs as well as some other items in a hydroponic area that they will be building alongside the classrooms in the next several months, so it will be a farm to classroom cooking experience.

For more information on ICE, visit: https://www.ice.edu/
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