Famed New York Culinary School Will Close Its Doors

The International Culinary Center will be absorbed by New York's Institute for Culinary Education.

The International Culinary Center in Soho, New York
By Daniel Dawson
Jul. 8, 2020 10:11 UTC
The International Culinary Center in Soho, New York

Financial pres­sure and a cash short­age caused by the Covid-19 pan­demic has forced the famed culi­nary school founded by Dorothy Cann Hamilton in 1984 to begin shut­ting down its oper­a­tions on July 20.

The International Culinary Center (ICC) will be absorbed by its for­mer crosstown rival, the Institute for Culinary Arts (ICE).

Through ICE, ICC’s mis­sion will con­tinue, and we can­not imag­ine a bet­ter insti­tu­tion to entrust with our legacy,” Bruce McCann, ICC’s CEO, said. Since our incep­tion, we’ve endured the fall­out from eco­nomic crises, nat­ural dis­as­ters, 9/11 and more, but noth­ing could have pre­pared us for Covid-19.”

ICE is a pow­er­house in culi­nary edu­ca­tion, and we are hon­ored that the foun­da­tion built by Dorothy Cann Hamilton more than three decades ago will have a new home at the school,” he added.

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Rick Smilow, the chief exec­u­tive of ICE, said, ICC is widely rec­og­nized as a pio­neer and leader in culi­nary edu­ca­tion, and we are proud and excited to bring aspects of the school’s exper­tise, unique offer­ings and her­itage to ICE.”

At the moment, the New York City cam­puses of both schools are closed. ICC plans to resume the aca­d­e­mic year once New York City enters phase four of its reopen­ing plan to allow stu­dents to fin­ish their course work before clos­ing per­ma­nently in December.

Hamilton founded the ICC in 1984 as the French Culinary Institute, after vis­it­ing the top culi­nary school in Paris, École Grégoire-Ferrandi. She later expanded the school to include other styles of cook­ing, includ­ing Italian and Spanish, renam­ing it to the International Culinary Center.

Among other things, the ICC has left a last­ing impact on the olive oil world. The Soho cam­pus hosted the first edi­tion of the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) in 2013 and the Olive Oil Times Education Lab Sommelier Certification pro­gram three years later, both of which have since expanded beyond the ICC.

Dorothy and her team under­stood the impor­tance of olive oil in cul­ture and gas­tron­omy while many culi­nary lead­ers still seem ambiva­lent to this topic,” Curtis Cord, the NYIOOC pres­i­dent and pub­lisher of Olive Oil Times said in 2016.

The ICC has been an instru­men­tal part­ner in our ongo­ing efforts to fos­ter a greater under­stand­ing of olive oil,” said Cord, who directed the ICC’s olive oil pro­gram.

When the French Culinary Institute opened in 1984, the school was an instant hit. During its open­ing week­end, the award-win­ning chef Julia Child came to visit. She was so impressed by what she saw that she arranged for the school to be pro­filed on the pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion pro­gram, Good Morning America.

She heard we had this French school in New York and she walked in, big­ger than life,” Hamilton told The Mercury News in 2014. That’s really how the school got its jump start.”

Since that moment, ICC has gone on to grad­u­ate some notable alumni, includ­ing Dan Barber, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, Bobby Flay, Chris Morocco, Carla Lalli Music, Christina Tosi, Kate Williams and Lee Anne Wong.

ICC also boasted many high-pro­file chefs and culi­nary fig­ures among its fac­ulty and founders.

I am proud of the work my dear friends Dorothy Cann Hamilton, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, Jacques Torres and myself have accom­plished over the years to cre­ate a time­less hands-on cur­ricu­lum for gen­er­a­tions of FCI/ICC stu­dents,” Jacques Pépin, ICC’s dean of spe­cial pro­grams, said.

I’m pleased that the school’s her­itage and legacy will live on for future culi­nary pro­fes­sion­als at ICE.”

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