Chef Timothy Michitsch ’84, A Full Circle Career
CIA Alumni Bio
Growing up in Tivoli, NY, the youngest of four children, Tim spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his mom. As a one-car family, Tim often accompanied his mom as she drove his dad to work—passing the CIA campus on the way. “I saw all the chefs in uniform and said ‘that’s what I want to do,’” Tim recalls. During high school, he spent half the day at Dutchess County Boces studying in CIA’s culinary arts program. After a brief stint in the kitchens at Bard College, Tim was ready to start training at the world’s premier culinary college.
Hands On and Building Skills
“The education was outstanding right from the beginning in Fundamentals class,” Tim says. “It was totally hands-on, which was perfect because I responded well to that type of learning environment. The curriculum is so well laid out that you steadily build your skills. Working through the restaurants on campus teaches you every aspect of the industry. By the time you graduate you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful chef.”
The Benefits of Career Fairs
Like nearly all CIA grads Tim had several job offers, all of which came from the well-attended career fairs hosted on campus during the year. He chose to work for Host Marriott Services Corporation to gain experience. At Cuisines Restaurant in Cleveland, OH, the owners took notice of Tim’s natural ability to train new employees. At Oakwood Country Club in Cleveland Heights, OH, the kitchen staff loved the way Tim demonstrated and explained how to do various tasks. “That’s when I started looking into teaching,” Tim says. He contacted the Ohio Department of Education and learned that the Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Oberlin was looking to hire a chef to teach the junior foodservice program.
Experience Leads to Teaching
Hiring a professional chef to teach at a high school level was part of the school’s innovative approach to their culinary arts program. “When I got into education I developed my culinary program using my notes from the CIA,” explains Tim. “I took bits and pieces from the CIA curriculum and brought it down to the high school level.” The program proved so successful that it now has four faculty members—a pastry chef, two culinary instructors, and a hospitality instructor—and the students run the Buckeye Room Restaurant, which is open to the public.
To this day, Tim has a lot of respect for his alma mater. “I believe the commitment to excellence and professionalism is still at the forefront of the educational experience offered at the CIA,” he says. “Get as much as you can from the chefs, the staff, and the environment—there is a wealth of knowledge available. Volunteer for every event and get to know as many people on campus as possible. Those connections will serve you well in the future. The culinary community is small with CIA alumni spread all over the world. A degree from the CIA will take you as far as you want to go.”
Chef Tim Michitsch majored in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He is the chef-instructor in culinary arts at teh Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Oberlin, OH.