Jane Addams Business Careers Center
10th–12th Grade Career Technical/Culinary Arts
“Mr. Szalkowski works with his students to create really fun and engaging menus and programs at our building. His work with our culinary students has created an environment where students want to come to school and be part of the excitement at Jane Addams.”
Michael Szalkowski started a home business earning money from his love of baking at the age of 15. That led him to the Culinary Institute of America—”the other CIA.” There he won an outstanding-student award before graduating with a degree in bakery and pastry arts. He soon opened another business, Dardous Fine Pastry in Ohio City. Michael took an opportunity to teach at Tri-C in an adjunct position. The excitement of sharing his passion for culinary arts led him to become a full-time instructor with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District where he has taught for 19 years. He went to Kent State University to get his teaching certification and began his career as chef instructor. Michael teaches students in the classroom and at The Executive Grille, a school-run restaurant that provides students with a range of skills that can be used towards further education, internships or jobs immediately after graduation. Students learn food preparation, sanitation and food safety, serving, customer service, and a multitude of other skills. After several years of planning, Michael and his co-chef brought a new program to life— Grille On The Go, a food truck made from a converted school bus. Students staff the bus, serving a specially designed menu to several locations in the Cleveland area over the summer. Students use real and simulated tasks to learn how to connect to the real world, and create meaningful and valued outcomes. Michael believes strongly in authentic learning to engage all of a student’s senses. Outside of teaching, Michael is an avid photographer, enjoys fine arts performances, and dining out—a chance to try new foods and let someone else do the cooking!