One Chef's Overdue Introduction

Hello again to all you foodies! Chef Mike here with my second installment. I just rolled in to school to teach my class this evening, and I thought I could use these few extra minutes to tackle the job of introducing myself. Last week I wrote a post that examined the human disgust reflex and how chef instructors often feel responsible for helping their students overcome this feeling when encountering new (and possibly scary) ingredients in the kitchen/classroom. I became so involved blabbing about my profession and my students that I neglected to mention anything about my past or how I spend most of my daytime hours.

I’m fortunate enough to have my days free to take care of my two young kids (yet another benefit of many jobs in the foodservice industry). My beautiful daughter, Delilah, who turns five in May, attends a pre-K program in the afternoons. My energetic son, Jacob, is thirteen months, and is just on the verge of walking. He's really loud...and really cute. He gives very wet kisses. My wonderwoman wife is also a culinary instructor at a great place geared towards home cooks called The Chopping Block. She teaches during the day, and also designs and writes the curriculum and recipes for all of the classes there. We live close to Lake Michigan, north of Chicago, and my wife and I both commute into the city to teach.

Prior to my life as a culinary instructor, I attended The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and graduated with a BA; English major, History minor...not exactly the fast track to chefdom. When I returned home to Chicago, I began working as a cook and a caterer, and then enrolled in culinary school. With culinary school under my belt I began cooking on the line in a small restaurant, and eventually worked my way up to running the kitchen there. We cooked fine dining menus served in a casual, neighborhood setting. It was an intense and often humbling learning experience. In addition to working as a personal chef cooking dinner parties in clients' home kitchens, I've also worked on the fringes of the industry as a butcher and a fishmonger.

So, like many others working in this industry for a number of years, I've done a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. I've been an instructor here at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Chicago for almost eight years now, and I enjoy doing this more than all of the other jobs I've had combined. As if teaching isn't rewarding enough, I also get to eat all of the great things my students and colleagues whip up every day!

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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