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.See Also: Education News
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.”
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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.”