Tim Michitsch, culinary educator at Lorain County Joint Vocational School’s Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management program, earned the nation’s top prize for his commitment to both the educational community and food service industry.
The Sysco Corporation, along with the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education, announced that Michitsch received the industry’s top Secondary Educator of the Year award.
For more than 30 years, Michitsch CEC, has taught at the JVS.
The culinary courses were based on a home economics curriculum when he arrived in the late 1980s.
Michitsch retooled the classes and began the Culinary Arts program guided by an academy model and accredited by the American Culinary Federation, according to a news release.
The program has since been named an Exemplary and Promising Secondary Career and Technical Education Program by the U.S. Department of Education.
Michitsch continually upgrades the curriculum and practical experiences to prepare his students for employment or post secondary education, according to the news release.
A portion of their preparation for the rigors of a culinary career includes Michitsch’s encouragement to enter food competitions sponsored by the American Culinary Federation; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; and SkillsUSA, with many students actively participating in all three organizations’ activities.
The student teams he supports have earned an unprecedented string of culinary competition medals and placements.
Every year since 2003, Michitsch has advised a culinary or restaurant team that placed highly in either state or national competitions with two National Champions.
Teams that win the state competition continue to compete at the national level.
Michitsch has coached these winning teams:
• ProStart: from 2003-09 – Advisor to Culinary National teams, placing from 15th to third during that time. He was the advisor to Culinary State Champions teams from 2003-09.
• Family, Career and Community Leaders of America: 2006 advisor to the National Culinary team, which earned the National Champion award. He was an advisor to teams from 2010 to 2018 where during that time, the teams placed from fourth to earning a Gold Medal and placing second place in the national competitions.
• SkillsUSA: Michitsch served as advisor to Culinary Arts teams that placed in the top two or three in state competitions in 2013, 2014, and 2016. He was an advisor for Restaurant Services teams that placed 11th in 2017, sixth in 2018 and third in 2019. His Culinary Arts team was a National Champion in 2017. They also placed sixth in 2018 and third in 2019.
Michitsch’s commitment to immerse his students in the culinary industry also can be seen as he provides opportunities for them to participate in community events with world-renown professional chefs, according to the release.
From coordinating fundraising culinary scholarship dinners that earned more than $100,000 to spending countless, unpaid hours preparing and mentoring students, Michitsch embodies a commitment to quality education and the advancement of the culinary, baking and pastry and hospitality professions, the release said.
Houston-based Sysco Corp. is in its sixth year of supporting this annual national award that acknowledges educators who are leaders in their field, have a commitment to both the educational community and food service industry, and employ innovative teaching practices inside the classroom.
Michitsch was awarded a $1,500 cash prize, commemorative plaque and a complimentary registration for CAFÉ’s 2021 Leadership Conference held in Portland, Maine, next June.