Institute of Culinary Education Creates Beverage Studies Program

The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) has developed a new Beverage Studies program with three in-depth courses covering fluency in tasting and serving, effective team and inventory management, and increased professionalism to achieve success in the beverage sector of culinary and hospitality businesses.

The eight-week courses can be taken together or separately, in any order the student chooses: Beverage Program Management, Fundamentals & Service of Wine and Essentials of Spirits & Mixology. Class timing is mid-day on Tuesdays and Thursdays to align with the schedules of many current restaurant and hospitality professionals. The comprehensive curriculum brings wine and spirits identification and evaluation, management skills and tools, and practical guidance for profitability together in this schedule of classes.

“At the Institute of Culinary Education, we’re always thinking about new directions and dimensions of education we can offer the restaurant and hotel sector. In recent years that has meant business skills, and beverage management is a logical and much needed extension of that strategy,” said Rick Smilow, ICE’s president and CEO since 1995. “This program is designed for a wide range of people, who may or may not already be working in the hospitality field, including bartenders, sommeliers, servers or cooks who are interested in wine, the beverage community, or beverage managers seeking to broaden their exposure.”

ICE’s new Director of Beverage Studies Eamon Rockey led the program’s design. A leader among New York’s mixology and beverage experts and the founder of Rockey’s Milk Punch, his career path has wound through several Michelin-starred restaurants in New York. He was most recently general manager of Betony, which was Esquire Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year in 2013. He is joined by award-winning author, educator, journalist and sommelier Anthony Giglio. Students can expect guest lectures and tastings from industry leaders and field trips to local businesses.

“In designing the program, I focused on providing the information I wish I had when I began my career,” Rockey says. “I’m excited to bring a 360-degree exploration of the beverage industry that is rarely or never offered in a classroom setting to our students.”

Debuting in February, Beverage Program Management will teach students how to advance from guest relations to purchasing, budgeting, creating menus, staff education and optimizing technology. This intensive course will focus on introducing the essential concepts and techniques that maximize profitability and efficiency. From working towards Excel proficiency, to executing costing protocols, to ensuring compliance with best HR practices and anti-harassment training, Rockey and other industry experts will educate on how to think like a manager.

Also in February, Fundamentals & Service of Wine will bring Anthony Giglio’s expertise on viticulture, terroir, fermentation, varietals, major wine production regions and cellaring with lectures, tastings and a field trip to an active winery. Anthony and expert New York sommeliers will teach evaluation and tasting, while covering service and presentation techniques with demonstrations and hands-on exercises.

In the spring, Essentials of Spirits and Mixology will explore the key aspects of mixology through tastings, technique demonstrations, lectures and hands-on workshops. Students will study the history, characteristics and uses for major spirits, beer, cider, infusions and syrups with guided taste analysis and cocktail crafting. Noted bartenders and spirits entrepreneurs from lauded New York establishments will share their expertise on trends in mixology and bar program development. The course will cover the art of crafting a perfect cocktail and how to develop practices in cleanliness, setup and breakdown, and hospitality-driven service, through classes in ICE's classroom cocktail bar.

“I am extremely excited for the launch of ICE’s Beverage Studies program and thrilled to be a part of something that I think will add a valuable missing piece to bar education in New York,” says Greg Buda, a member of the program’s advisory committee and director of education at The Dead Rabbit. “Having a set of courses available that can be completed while actively working in a bar or restaurant and having these courses extend beyond wine and spirits training to include cocktails and bar management will add something extremely unique to the suite of educational opportunities that are currently available. I have high hopes for this program and am excited to see it develop.”

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