Chef Chayanin Pornsriniyom

Meet Chef Nin

ICE New York’s newest Health-Supportive Culinary Arts instructor brings a wealth of knowledge from one of the most venerable vegetable-centric restaurants in NYC.

We’d like to introduce to you a new addition to our chef-instructor team, Chef Chayanin “Nin” Pornsriniyom.

Chef Nin comes to us after working for 10 years at Amanda Cohen’s well-renowned vegetable-forward restaurant, Dirt Candy. Chef Nin started at Dirt Candy in 2011 as the only line cook — when the restaurant had just eight tables — and grew along with the restaurant as it expanded in space and staff.

Alumni at Dirt Candy: Vegetarian Chef Kate Ray >

A Bangkok native, Chef Nin moved stateside in 2008, landing in Los Angeles. She specifically stopped at Universal Studios in Hollywood, working in the production kitchen and selling snacks including churros and Dippin’ Dots. Two years later, she decided to study culinary arts full-time at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island.

“I finished my bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics back in Thailand [and] worked in the field for a few years [and] I noticed that wasn’t quite what I wanted to do,” she says. “I realized I needed a career change. I didn’t know right away what I wanted to do, until my sisters pointed it out that I was bingeing on an unhealthy amount of cooking shows on my free time. I figured out I wanted to come back to the US to pursue a serious cooking career. I’m living the American dream as an immigrant from Thailand.”

"I’m living the American dream as an immigrant from Thailand.”

(For clarity, Chef Nin was binging on the original “Iron Chef” franchise from the 90s, Martha Stewart, Julia Child and Jacques Pépin — whom she would have the pleasure of meeting when she came to the States.) 

After graduating in 2012, she moved to Manhattan, where she had lived during her externship time, and landed at Dirt Candy. Working in the same kitchen for 10 years is almost unheard of.

“Even though I am an omnivore, I love that there’s so much you can do with vegetables,” Chef Nin says. “If you think about it, there are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world that we know of and we only consume the same boring 20-something species we can find in the grocery stores on the daily basis. There is still so much we can learn about how to cook them and more waiting be explored.” 

Working at Dirt Candy allowed her to both “work as a chef and as a mad scientist” simultaneously. “Amanda Cohen taught me to find confidence in breaking the traditional cooking rules and create my own. It was easy to stay as long as I had and the experiences as well as the friendships I gained along the way was worth it.”

Chef Nin brings this institutional knowledge to the Career Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program at ICE, and will eventually teach Career Culinary Arts courses as well.

And she has advice for all ICE students: “The best tool you can bring with you to ICE is to have an open mind,” she says. “There are so many talented chefs here at ICE who are ready to show you the best techniques, skills and how it’s done in the professional kitchens.”

When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find Chef Nin knitting (a pastime since 2017), as well as scrolling through Instagram. She even bought a DSLR camera a few years back to capture her own food photography.

“I can easily get lost down the rabbit hole of beautiful plating techniques and the world of food photography,” she says.

We’re so excited to welcome Chef Nin to ICE and have her share her expertise with all of you. If you see Chef Nin around campus, don’t hesitate to say hello.

Welcome aboard, Chef.

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