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LA’s First New Accredited Culinary School in Years Will Open in Early 2018

The 47-year New York school Institute of Culinary Education takes over where Le Cordon Bleu left off

ICE culinary school
Inside ICE’s NYC Campus
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

There’s a big new culinary school name headed to Los Angeles, as New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education lands a home in Pasadena soon. The East Coast institution will take over the former classroom space that once housed Le Cordon Bleu, before that venerated culinary program pulled up stakes on all of their U.S. locations back in 2015.

Since the loss of Le Cordon Bleu, Los Angeles has been without much true culinary school competition outside of the New School of Cooking. That program offers accredited diploma programs for aspiring chefs, line cooks, and bakers, but New School (and others like Comfort Food in Sherman Oaks) also plays to the masses with a heavy dose of one-off knife skills classes and cake-making seminars. Chef Apprentice School of the Arts near Downtown is more focused on in-restaurant placement for folks looking to learn on the fly, and then there is also LA Trade Tech.

So now comes the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), with plans to revamp the unused Pasadena campus left behind by Le Cordon Bleu. According to a release this is only the second campus ever for ICE as it embarks on a bold new expansion plan, bringing with it certificate avenues for those looking to try the culinary arts, pastry and baking, or restaurant management. Those classes will be offered in six- to 13-month installments.

Now, whether or not aspiring young cooks should head to culinary school at all is a different argument altogether. Many back of house staff and restaurant leads say that hands-on instruction working in a kitchen (and getting paid in the meantime) is more invaluable than a diploma, while others admit that a curriculum and daily learning lead to a more well-rounded and thorough restaurant career, albeit at a higher tuition cost.

Construction is set to get underway on ICE’s Pasadena campus in the coming months but should be largely minimal, given all that Le Cordon Bleu left behind. Look for an ICE arrival by the middle part of 2018 at the latest.

Institute of Culinary Education
521 E. Green St.
Pasadena, CA