A few weeks ago I took a cake making and decorating class at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). ICE is New York’s largest and most active center for culinary education with professional programs in culinary arts, pastry arts and culinary management. Its students and alumni are regularly nominated for or win top industry awards. I went for a tour of their facilities last year when I was tossing around the idea of going to culinary school in my head and they were quite impressive.
Another great thing about ICE is that they have an extensive recreational department where folks who don’t want to become chefs can take classes in a wide array of areas . Their courses are for all skill levels and range from preparing a complete steakhouse menu and learning to fillet a fish to cooking a Tuscan feast or baking the perfect éclair.
I’ve taken a couple of classes and can attest to how great they are. Most recently I took Making and Decorating Birthday Cakes with Chef Chad Pagano and the class was loads of fun. Throughout the class, Chef Pagano gave us tons of tips on how to make and decorate the perfect birthday cake. And we all went home with a nicely decorated cake. Mine (pictured above) was a white cake with a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream icing and filling. It also had toasted coconut in the filling and on the outside.
For those of you who want to learn more about cooking and baking but are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, check out culinary schools in your area. Most of them offer recreational classes for people who don’t necessarily want to become chefs. There are also tons of other small, independent chefs that run their own classes open to the public. Don’t let cooking and baking become this daunting task that takes over you. It’s easier than you think. If I can do it anyone can.
Oh – and if not for yourself, this makes a great gift for a special loved one This class was a birthday gift from my great friend Jenn. Thanks babe