- The Institute of Culinary Education
50 West 23rd Street, 212-847-0700; iceculinary.com
With its sprawling test kitchens and dizzying array of courses, ICE, founded in 1975 by the late, great chef Peter Kump, can justifiably brag that it teaches “America’s largest menu.” Whether you sign up for the vaunted Techniques series—which has imparted the fundamentals of cooking to legions—or courses like Maki & More or Southern Barbecue, chances are you’ll come away with lessons you can savor for years to come.
- Natural Gourmet Cookery School
48 West 21st Street 212-645-5170; naturalgourmetschool.com
Although it offers classes like Raw-Food Basics and Sea Vegetables: A Deep-Sea Adventure, Natural Gourmet’s appeal goes beyond tempeh fans. It’s healthy cooking, yes, but healthy cooking bursting with flavor: You’re as likely to make a world-class strawberry parfait as you are a seitan bordelaise.
- De Gustibus Cooking School at Macy’s Herald Square
151 West 34th Street 212-439-1714; degustibusinc.com
De Gustibus is further proof that we indeed live in a charmed city. While its location—on the eighth floor of Macy’s—is unassuming, the talent on display is anything but. In addition to classes in cuisines as varied as kosher, Italian, and Asian, the school provides an opportunity to learn from the best: Wylie Dufresne, François Payard, and Jonathan Waxman are just a few of the chefs in its spring lineup.
- Karen Lee
142 West End Avenue 212-787-2227; karenleecooking.com
With 30 years of experience, five cookbooks to her credit, and an infectiously passionate personality, Karen Lee is one of the city’s most renowned instructors. Specializing in healthy, vegetarian, and Asian-fusion cooking (as well as American and classic Italian), Lee teaches dishes like wild-mushroom spring rolls and steamed wild salmon with fresh thyme and verjus.
- The New School Culinary Arts Program
131 West 23rd Street 212-255-4141; nsu.newschool.edu/culinary
Rivaling ICE in its breadth of courses—there are more than 200 in the catalogue—the New School is further distinguished by its personable staff, communal dining table (a favorite of students for years), and classes ranging from the popular—and aptly named—How to Boil Water: Cooking for Beginners Only—to its Behind the Scenes series, which give students a cutting-board view of restaurants like 66, Tuscan, Aix, and Aquavit.
Best Culinary Arts
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).