In his first year as the Director of Sustainability at the Institute of Culinary Education, Chef Bill Telepan has immersed himself in the school’s indoor hydroponic garden, an agriculture system that uses LED light in a climate-controlled environment. Over 50 different crop varieties are grown at any time in the garden, providing culinary students access to herbs typically not found fresh in NYC.
“As a chef, you taste things in your head and can put them all together, sort of mentally, and then prepare it,” Telepan said when asked about the benefits of the garden for students. Throughout his career, he’s been committed to using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local greenmarkets. He has worked in France under famed chef Alain Chapel, owned his own Upper West Side restaurant (Telepan) for a decade, and currently runs NYC seafood spot Oceana. Telepan gave 6sqft a tour of ICE’s hydroponic garden and told us how he became the institute’s first ever sustainability director, or as he describes it “a culmination of everything I’ve done as a chef and a person.”