Michael has a widely varied background which includes math, music, art, computer science, technology, telecommunications, molecular biology, organic chemistry, motorsports, language, scuba diving, emergency medicine, along with teaching and culinary arts. He has worked as a professional chef, baker, chocolatier, and food safety instructor, among many other roles.
He teaches food science, chocolate-making (bean-to-bar), and food safety at Seattle Central College. He received his culinary training from the Culinary Institute of America and his professional baking and pastry training from Seattle Central College's Culinary Academy. Michael also spends much of his time in the development of Chef's Village, a non-profit website for teaching everything related to food, cooking, baking, sustainability, and related areas, with a focus on helping in areas of food security, food apartheid, and sustainability. He is a certified ServSafe instructor.
Michael also co-owns and co-operates three businesses in the food industry in Portland, as well as a cooking school for children. His chocolate company produces over 200,000 pounds of chocolate a year, including bean-to-bar and couverture, and his café was recently chosen by Yelp as one of the top 15 hot chocolate locations in the United States and the #1 location in Oregon.
He studied music at UC Santa Cruz (with a minor in art) and later graduated as valedictorian from St. Mary’s College of Moraga with a degree in business. He has worked as a musician, a state-licensed home inspector, and energy conservation specialist. He is a Divemaster who specializes in both dive-related medicine and underwater photography.
Michael owns and runs one of the oldest and most successful home automation companies in the US as well as a high-end racing and flight simulator manufacturer. For seven years, Michael was an engineering and software development manager at Apple Computer. He has co-founded three other technology corporations and founded twelve other successful businesses, and has authored or co-authored a number of patents.
Teaching Style and Approach
Michael has a passion for teaching and has taught and studied pedagogy throughout his life, starting when he taught mathematics at his local college while he was still in high school. He has taught music, emergency medicine, racing/high-performance driving, SCUBA, computer programming, and other fields. He also created one of the very first distance-learning platforms, and consulted for Stanford University on distance learning in its early days.
Michael's classes include a combination of lectures, science demos, cooking demos, and hands-on experiences -- with a lot of tasting!
As someone who is always learning something new, he encourages students to be active learners and explains, "Class participation and interaction are very important to me and the learning process."
While his classes will be filled with information, he says, "I definitely always incorporate my own brand of humor in my classes, and they will be a lot of fun."
- Learn about Chef's Village
- See Michael's full biography