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ICC closing California culinary school in Campbell

The South Bay’s high housing costs and limited public transportation options are forcing the International Culinary Center in Campbell to close its doors after eight years.
Regarded as a prestigious training academy for chefs and sommeliers, the ICC will consolidate classes at its flagship New York center by mid-2019, the school announced Tuesday.
The move means that the students entering the culinary and wine programs in January will be Campbell’s last graduating classes.
“It’s not a mystery that the housing prices here are a real barrier to students. And lack of public transportation,” CEO Bruce McCann said. “What it boils down to is a limited radius from where students can take advantage of what we offer here.”
Founded 35 years ago by Dorothy Cann Hamilton as the French Culinary Institute, the ICC counted as its inaugural deans of curriculum four of the top names in the food world: Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac and Jacques Torres.
In recent years, West Coast-based standouts — chef-owner David Kinch of the three-Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos and pastry chef Emily Luchetti of San Francisco’s Big Night Restaurant Group — have joined the prestigious ranks of ICC deans.
The Campbell campus opened in 2010. Since then, the student population has remained “relatively stable,” McCann said. However, “it wasn’t able to grow, and that was a disappointment to us.”
With 7 million residents in the greater Bay Area, McCann said, “there should be a market” for the sort of high-quality culinary education that ICC Campbell provided. “If there was transportation, you would stand a fighting chance.”
The ICC even toyed with the idea of a shuttle van to pick up students and deliver them to the Campbell campus, he said, but prospective students from San Francisco balked at making the long trek south.
It’s a much different situation at the ICC’s flagship campus. “In New York, you can live in Queens or Brooklyn and take the subway. There it’s doable,” McCann said.
During its eight-year tenure in Campbell, the ICC created a new farm-to-table curriculum here in Northern California, where the farm-to-table food revolution began. The program sent chefs-in-training out into the field — literally — to both small and commercial farm operations.
The school also instituted an “externship” program in which budding chefs worked in the kitchens of top Bay Area restaurants for two months. Twenty restaurants participated, including Manresa, the Plumed Horse, Quince, Viognier, Bottega, the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards and Google’s corporate culinary operation.

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