My Experience at the International Culinary Center in NYC

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by thewolff, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. thewolff

    thewolff

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    I have been meaning to start this thread, but haven't seen the time to do so. The whole point of this is for me to log my time at the International Culinary Center. Hopefully it will give some people insight for when they are making the choice. I am not a writer or good speller. Sorry for any bad grammer. :) 

    My Background

    My first job I ever had at the age of 14 years old was in a kitchen. I was the porter. It was exciting for me because it was the first time I was able to have money in my pocket. I thought that I wanted to become a bartender. The bartender always seemed cool, made a lot of money, and got to make cool drinks. I quickly realized that all the fun happened in the kitchen. I was totally hooked. I worked in the kitchen for 4 years. Starting as a dishwasher and finally moving all the way up to sous. It was a blast. 

    I went off to college and after a year dropped out to travel the United States playing poker. Did that for 5 years and decided the life wasn't for me anymore. I moved to NYC chasing a girl and got into the real estate business. I did alright, but I learned that in the real estate game only the boss makes the money. I opened my own office with two other business partners. I worked hard. 70 hours a week squeezing every penny out of the dollars we spent. Even after being fairly successful at it, and making a nice income to life comfortably for the rest of my life I wasn't happy.

    I was getting married in a year. I was living well. I was healthy. The only reason for my disposition was my career. The only thing it was fulfilling was my need for money. Money was not important to me I realized. I did not care if I was worth $50,000 when I died or a millionaire. The kitchen was the only place that fulfilled everything that made me happy. I discussed it with my finance she begrudging went along, and I got a job in a kitchen. I did not tell my partners or anyone in my family. 

    It was amazing. My teenage years in a kitchen came straight to the front of my mine. I was working hard, keeping long hours, and coming home with plenty of wounds. The last two years I have been working in 3 different kitchens. I started at a local pizzeria working the hot line, and I am now employed at a Michelin starred restaurant working as Chef de Partie. 

    Since working at my most recent job, I have quickly realized that I am drastically behind the ball. The only thing keeping my head above water is my ability to nail recipes the first time they are taught to me and my multi tasking. My superiors don't have to spend too much time teaching me new things. Yet, they have to teach me new things everyday because of my lack of knowledge and overall experience. 

    I contemplated the last 12 months about going to culinary school. I visited 3. Decided to choose the International Culinary Center (ICC). It was the closest to my house. I got two different scholarships reducing my tuition by $10,000. It had a very impressive alumni. I started call in October 2016. 

    Class 8

    I have officially finished my 8th day at ICC. My total class size is 7. Beside me no one has any real experience in a restaurant setting. In 8 classes I have had 6 different instructors. Each class you have 2 instructors. Your only suppose to get 2 instructors per level. I am on level 1. Pretty standard skills and foundation recipes. Things are going pretty smoothly. I am enjoying my overall experience. I have see one demo. It was Jacques Pepin. He made a whole chicken sausage (debone the whole chicken while keeping the overall structure of the chicken en tact). My only gripe would be the 3 set of different instructors I have had. Hard to build a rapport and learn how your instructor teaches. Everyone is different and it is hard with the lack of consistency. 
     
  2. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Yea this one is on canal. You can schedule a tour and even sit on a class.

    One of the reasons I chose ICC was because of their relationships. Since I have been there I have been on two trails at other Michelin starred restaurants. They seem to have a pretty large network.
     
  3. chef brah

    chef brah

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    problem with them in my case is that they offer M1 visa for international students whereas CIA offers F1 visa which allows 1 year of work (OPT)

    but obviously CIA's tuition is more than double

    will schedule a tour at ICC probably
     
  4. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Yea I don't know too much about the international program. I do have two students that are from Korea
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    IN THIS PARAGRAPH YOU SAID:

    I went off to college and after a year dropped out to travel the United States playing poker. Did that for 5 years and decided the life wasn't for me anymore. I moved to NYC chasing a girl and got into the real estate business. I did alright, but I learned that in the real estate game only the boss makes the money. I opened my own office with two other business partners. I worked hard. 70 hours a week squeezing every penny out of the dollars we spent. Even after being fairly successful at it, and making a nice income to life comfortably for the rest of my life I wasn't happy.

    I think you have a good vision of what real success is in life. It looks as though you have a good idea of what hard work and long hours is all about. Many people in this business get burned out early because the money is low and the hours are long. I believe a person has to have a good vision for the future in order to get through these hard times. My method was to always keep the ball rolling, never lose site of the destination. Money isn't real important in the beginning, learning this business and getting good is what will build to a successful future. IMHO, money plays a factor in a persons content and happiness. It allows us to move more smoothly through life. It takes away worry and stress that allows us to enjoy what we do. I think your pass learning experiences will be the driving factor to your future success. Stay focused, learn and know that someday everything will fall into line. 
     
  6. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Thanks Chef Billy.
     
  7. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    This is great thanks for sharing but would you please post a review in our official reviews section? It is easier for students to find the info. If you need help let me know. Thanks.
     
  8. thewolff

    thewolff

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    would it be possible just to move this entire thread?
     
  9. daisy martinez

    daisy martinez

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    Hi! My name is Daisy Martinez and I am an alumni of the International Culinary Center (Professional Culinary Arts '99, and Certified Sommelier '11), and am now the Associate Director of Alumni affairs at the school. I would be happy to help anyone with visa questions or how to facilitate getting to the school. We have relationships with Kaplan International (http://www.kaplaninternational.com/..._fnNb9ltACFU-_swodcJ8JwQ#carousel-destination), Pace University and The New School, here in NYC that can help with an F1. Please feel free to email me at [email protected], and I will do all I can to help!

    Best,

    Daisy Martinez
     
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  10. chef brah

    chef brah

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    thanks.

    i will be dropping you an email

    my concern was M1 visa vs F1 visa.

    also booked a tour with u guys 
     
  11. daisy martinez

    daisy martinez

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    Great! Make sure you look me up when you come for your tour. Do you know which admissions rep your are booked with...and when?

    Best,

    Daisy
     
  12. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Class 11

    Things are starting to move a little quicker now. Last night we did a whole day on just potatoes. I have my next test the upcoming class. The past few classes have had a lot of small recipes, but overall it has been slow and kind of boring. Most of the other students in the class are not as skilled with the knife as I, so it can take them the whole 5 hours to complete all the recipes. This is the first week were I am starting to feel my "job" and school work effect each other. I woke up today pretty tired, and I don't have a day off till Sunday. 

    P.S. Is there a way to edit the original post? 
     
  13. chef brah

    chef brah

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    were you making gnocchi during your class on potato?
     
  14. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Pasta making is down in level 2 and up. We mostly fried potatoes using different techniques. 
     
  15. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Level one is almost over. I will be taking the practical right before Christmas break. I have definitely learned some new techniques that I have already put into practice in my kitchen. The last 4 classes have been great. We have butchered everything from a round fish to beef, and everything in between (chicken, flat fish, duck, squab, pig). Besides my final and practical, I also have to take a servsafe test. I find this to be a little ridiculous. The school is in NYC we should be able to take our food handlers license instead. Luckily I already have this, and I will be opting out of the servsafe test. My next entry will probably be after my final. Wish me luck!
     
  16. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Why opt out of the servsafe test? Do you know the material backwards and forwards? I know that I learn and retain knowledge best by repetition. Servsafe is based on knowledge of a crucially important foundation to our industry and one that I have seen sadly lacking in many professionals in our field.

    I recently have returned to school. The day before Thanksgiving I was taking a board test for a certification. I kept telling myself that preparation trumps luck. I knew that no matter what the results, I had given it my all. While I wanted the piece of paper, I knew the ultimate goal was knowledge and the results would be a gauge of that.

    I would wish you luck on your exams, but after my ramblings of above...instead I will just say...Give it hell!
     
  17. thewolff

    thewolff

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    I don't plan on leaving the NY area. Servsafe test means nothing here. I already have the food handlers. I don't have the time to study for 3 tests and work.
     
  18. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Just finished my level 1 final. The written test was thorough. It would have been challenging if the instructor did not help everyone and allow people to cheat. I saw multiple people with their cellphones out and google the answers.

    I aced the practical. The instructor did not grade fairly though. I saw lots of people waste half the product and still get 90%. Overall level 1 was great for me. I suspect most in the class have learned very little.

    Many people told me you get what you put in and I will have to say that this is 100% true.
     
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  19. thewolff

    thewolff

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    Level 2 has officially started. BIG improvement from level 1. Every class we are composing new dishes. We have different instructors, so new rules.
    The class is run much more like a tradition professional kitchen. We are expected to setup the whole kitchen. Complete par sheets and go to storage to receive produce.
    The instructors are still pretty lenient. These guys can be critical at times. I have seen the chef spit out food multiple times.
    Overall I am happy. It has only been the 3rd class. We will see.
    One more thing which I fine hard to accept. The chef will not let you get family meal on days that we are making a savory dish. He won't even let you go and get one thing. Regardless if you have finished your work or not. Anyone else think this excessive?

    P.S
    Does anybody know when the canal St stop got internet? Big news.
     
  20. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    • thewolff, looks like your doing well. I took a lot of classes at CIA Napa Valley. The people taking the cases were already in the industry, most of us for many years. When i took many of these classes I always challenged the instructors so as for me to get the most out of the class. If you ever feel the instructor is teaching the class because the class doesn't keep up, ask for more. I never wanted to move slow, be like a sponge and let the instructor know you want more. With you being in NYC the competition is extreme and the top of the class may get a better chance with a better start. I always shoot for twice as much as I want and settle for 1/2 of what I get.......Good to see your doing well.....ChefBillB