The New Jersey/New York metro area attracts some of the best culinary talent in the world. So it comes as no surprise that the region also is rich in schools where aspiring cooks learn to cultivate and hone their skills. The following are some of the best, listed in alphabetical order.
PHOTOS BY ARIELLE FIGURERDO FOR INTERNATIONAL CULINARY CENTER
CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA (CIA) – Hyde Park, NY
For more than 70 years, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has been America’s leader in culinary innovation and education excellence. CIA offers bachelor’s degrees in culinary science, applied food studies, hospitality management and food business management, along with associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. CIA teaches executive education, provides certificate programs and offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts. For more information, go to CIAChef.edu.
INSTITUTE OF CULINARY EDUCATION (ICE) – New York, NY
The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) has taught food and hospitality to more than 13,000 culinary students since its founding in 1975 by Peter Kump. The school offers six- to 13-month training programs in culinary arts, culinary management, pastry and baking, and hospitality management. ICE also has continuing-education programs for culinary professionals. With a world-renowned curriculum, devoted chef instructors, excellent job-placement ratings and a clear entrepreneurial focus, ICE is recognized by premier chefs and hospitality professionals as a stepping-stone to begin or advance culinary careers. For more information, visit ICE.edu.
INTERNATIONAL CULINARY CENTER (ICC) – New York, NY
The maximum education in the minimum amount of time: that’s the commitment made by International Culinary Center (ICC). The school’s top-notch education is designed for real-world achievement. Through the total-immersion curriculum, students learn essential kitchen skills from experienced chef-instructors who inspire excellence. The intensive, accelerated programs ensure that would-be chefs begin their culinary careers in just months. From entrepreneurial alumni such as Bobby Flay, Dan Barber, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne and Christina Tosi to legendary deans including Jacques Pépin and Jacques Torres, ICC cultivates talent. For more information, visit InternationalCulinaryCenter.com.
PAUL SMITH'S COLLEGE
PAUL SMITH’S COLLEGE – Paul Smiths, NY
The accredited culinary program at Paul Smith’s College focuses on technical skills, aesthetics and management. The AAS degree program requires students to complete 400 hours of culinary work experience to reach graduation requirements. Graduates learn the skills required to become executive chefs, pastry chefs, caterers and food-establishment managers. This program can be completed as a standalone degree or as a prerequisite toward a bachelor degree in culinary arts or service management. For more information, go to PaulSmiths.edu/Learn/Culinary-Arts.
CULINARY ARTS CENTER AT ROWAN COLLEGE – Mount Holly, NJ
The Culinary Arts Center at Rowan College offers an array of programs. At the 19,000-square-foot educational facility, students are taught innovative culinary skills and techniques. The AAS and AS degree programs in culinary arts can be completed in 24 months and include practicum experience. Students can secure a cooking and baking certificate. A student-run restaurant, Vaulted Cuisine, operates on campus and is open during the school year, allowing culinary students to showcase their skills and techniques to peers and the public. Go to RCBC.edu/ culinary for more information.
THE CULINARY ARTS CENTER AT ROWAN COLLEGE
TOP COOKING SCHOOLS FOR NONPROFESSIONALS:
CLASSIC THYME COOKING SCHOOL – Westfield, NJ
Opened in 1995, Classic Thyme has created a warm and inviting atmosphere fashioned on the concept of a rustic cottage in Tuscany. Students can select from a wide diversity of classes from culinary basics to advanced cake decorating. Among the themed classes are Italian boot camps, knife skills, holiday baking, couples classes, Dim Sum and seasonal grilling. Classes are available to all ages and include children’s and young-adult programs. See listing at ClassicThyme.com.
HEIRLOOM KITCHEN – Old Bridge, NJ
Heirloom Kitchen offers recreational hands-on cooking classes. Examples include pasta making, healthy cooking, ethnic cooking, basic skills, making the most of the season’s fresh produce, and digging into a four-course meal you’ve made yourself (with a little help from prestigious chefs, local butcheries, fisheries and farms). A list of upcoming classes and more information can be found at HeirloomKitchen.com.
HUDSON TABLE – Hoboken, NJ
This popular cooking school teaches in three formats: hands-on, chef’s table and demonstration class. In hands-on classes, students get a quick kitchen intro from a chef about the plan for the night, how to use equipment and kitchen safety, then break up into groups of four or five to cook each dish featured on the menu. The chef’s table allows up to 14 students to sit back, relax and indulge as the instructor demonstrates recipes. Demonstration classes allow up to 32 students to watch a chef prepare several dishes. Find more information at HudsonTable.com.
L’ÉCOLE VALRHONA BROOKLYN – Brooklyn, NY
Valrhona has been producing the world’s finest chocolate in Tain L’Hermitage, France since 1922. Valrhona’s internationally renowned expertise is intricately linked to its pastry and chocolate school, L’École Valrhona, founded in 1989. L’École Valrhona specializes in teaching bakers and pastry chefs technical skills for making pastry and bonbons. See more information at Valrhona-Chocolate. com/Lecole-Valrhona-Brooklyn.
TPG ARCHITECTURE FOR EATALY
LA SCUOLA DI EATALY – Flatiron and Downtown NYC Locations
Esteemed Chef Lidia Bastianich curated the cooking classes at La Scuola, so expect the course content and food to be top-notch. Hands-on classes include making fresh gnocchi or Italian cheeses. Observation classes encompass topics such as the history and techniques of savory baked pasta. Students receive a 10 percent discount on Eataly purchases, making it even more affordable to recreate the recipes at home. Go to Eataly. com for more information.