Mikal Jones holding his Gold Metal Award from Roland E. Schaeffer Culinary Classic
Meet Mikal Jones, a dedicated and ambitious student at The Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM), who’s setting the culinary world ablaze with his remarkable journey. With a journey marked by numerous accomplishments, his awards include earning two gold medals in American Culinary Federation (ACF) sanctioned competitions and earning the title of 2023 Student of the Year for the CAFE Idaho Potato Harvest Committee. He’s also received recognition as Student of the Month at CIM and has had his original cocktails featured at festivals—most recently the Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Flagstar Bank in Royal Oak, MI. Serving as Vice President of the ACF West Lakeshore Committee further showcases his dedication to his field.
Jones’ journey at the CIM began with the Culinary Arts degree program, where he honed his culinary skills and developed a deeper passion for the art of cooking. Now, in his third year, he’s continuing his education with the Food and Beverage Management program, eager to expand his expertise in the culinary world.
A primary goal after completing his culinary education is to become a private chef. By creating captivating videos showcasing culinary creations and adventures, these videos will serve as a platform to propel him into the realm of a TV personality chef—a career path he’s enthusiastically pursuing. But his dreams don’t stop there. He envisions using the success he garners from his TV career to invest in land where he can cultivate his own grapevines. With the grapes he harvests, he plans to craft his own wines, eventually establishing his winery.
The captivating part that shows Jones’ selfless nature is that his passion for food and wine isn’t solely about personal success; it’s about sharing his knowledge and love for the culinary arts with others. “I really want to help make the food industry less intense and make people feel like they are having fun while taking part in an important life skill, as well as ensuring that the employees of the industry are being appreciated for the hard work they put in,” Jones said.
His culinary journey began during his youth– watching his mother and grandmother cook and set the table with love and care. Aspiring to also perfect exquisite hospitality skills, he’s driven by the desire to continuously learn new techniques and gain a deeper understanding of the culinary world.
Jones acknowledges the significant influence of his instructors Dave Spicher, Jamie Leroux, and John Lakatos, who have not only shared valuable industry insights but also helped him establish critical connections for his future success. “I love Baker because it offers many opportunities and connection opportunities. I also love the strive for diversity and making things equal. It’s a very safe environment to be yourself and get the knowledge you need to be successful,” Jones said.
Mikal Jones exemplifies the passion, dedication, and ambition that CIM and Baker College aim to nurture in their students. His journey is a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those who are willing to pursue their dreams in the culinary arts.
The Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM), a division of Baker College, is one of four US institutions to earn the “Recognition of Quality Culinary Education” designation from the World Association of Chefs’ Societies. The Baking and Pastry, Food and Beverage, and Culinary Arts programs in Port Huron and Muskegon are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC).