Rising to the top

After competing at the American Culinary Federation’s International Conference, Executive Chef Chris Misiak won “National Chef Educator of the Year Award.”
-PHOTO COURTESY OF KYLE PERLER PHOTOGRAPHY-

Executive Chef Chris Misiak named “National Chef Educator of the Year”

BY ELIZABETH CASELLA, MANAGING EDITOR

In recent years Schoolcraft College has proven itself in many regards as the community college that is one of the best in the country. Countless awards have been bestowed upon the college and most recently another honor has shined from the Culinary Arts program that can be compared to some of the best in the country. Chef Chris Misiak, a Certified Executive Chef and Professor of the Culinary Arts program was awarded “National Chef Educator of the Year” from the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) national convention after previously winning “Chef Educator of the Year 2016” from the American Culinary Federation’s Central Region.

The ACF National Chef Educator of the Year Award was established in 1998 and is meant to pay tribute to an active culinary educator whose skills, knowledge and expertise has enhanced the image of the professional chef, and who in addition, by example has provided guidance of students seeking a career in a culinary profession.

“What an honor, unbelievable. I am very humbled to be here because of where I grew up in a small town in northern Michigan and am humbled to have won this award,” said Misiak during his speech after receiving the awards at the ACF national convention, held in Phoenix July 15 through the 19.

Competitors came from major universities that hail from major cities such as Las Vegas, New York City and Orlando, Florida. Misiak, is from Posen, Michigan and proves that even a community colleges Culinary Arts programs continue to be one of the best after being hailed nationally for many years. Misiak is the first Michigan Chef to win.

Culinary Arts Department Chair and Certified Executive Chef Shawn Loving said in a recent press release, “We are very proud of how Chef Misiak represents Schoolcraft College and the quality of teaching he provides. This award also echoes testament to Schoolcraft’s commitment to students and the strength of our curriculum and faculty. This type of award allows me to feel confident that our tradition and consistency remains relevant and important with the many changes in the culinary arts profession and hospitality field. We proudly continue to be one of the most prominent culinary schools in the country.”

Misiak previously won the “Chef Educator of the Year 2016” award this past spring. He became involved in the candidacy for this previous award after the local American Culinary Faction chapter, “Michigan Chefs de Cuisine,” nominated him. Misiak went through an arduous application process in the regional competition. This included a submission of a lengthy resume that he continues to grow and one of his culinary chemistry videos that shows his ability of instructing within the classroom setting. Misiak also had won the local award that helped him to secure the regional win in addition to his peers and fellow Schoolcraft culinary instructors Certified Executive Chef Shawn Loving and Certified Master Chef Brian Beland. He then went on to win the national competition that he competed against three other qualifying candidates this past July in Phoenix, Arizona.

At the national competition an even more extensive process was waiting. Misiak had to again submit an extensive resume as well as a culinary chemistry lesson plan and his own accomplishments in addition to those of the program. He had to demonstrate the different lesson plans that teach students the science behind the food that they cook as well as the experiments that students conduct with the chemistry department throughout their courses.

“I decided to submit a culinary chemistry lesson plan and lab because I thought it would be different than what everyone else was submitting for the vetting process and because culinary chemistry is so new and I have developed a course from scratch it had a special place for me to do that,” said Misiak.

Chef Misiak has devoted his talents to the growth of the Culinary Arts program for 31 years, along with the many other chefs on the team of educators and this award is well deserved. It just goes to show that hard work through innovation to create a better program for the students can truly pay off to create better educators and a program overall.