Today we lost a legend. Rudy and I might be the operations people behind Liaison College, but Chef Mick was the Chef. This morning he succumbed to https://www.webmd.com/brain/what-is-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease a super rare disease. We are in shock.
When Liaison College started in 1996, there was a need for trained chefs and cooks. The food network had become a must watch station and culinary arts was getting traction. In 1998 we were approached by a mild mannered Brit who had a superb culinary background. Including such highlights as apprenticeship under Anton Mossiman in England at the Dorchester and cooking for the Queen and the German Olympic team in 1988. Hello Chef Mick; aka Michael Elliott.
Things were never the same after Chef Mick came on board. He was a culinary champion and his students did everything to earn his respect. He was the consummate trainer who always put his students needs first. They loved him and thrived under his tutelage. He inspired budding culinarians to be their best and he won many competitions as a coach. His trademark sayings were legendary among students and alumni.
His life was devoted to culinary arts until he met the love of his life and together they achieved the excellence and success they earned and deserved. For many years they built their dreams into reality and created a successful business and also a loving family. It was an absolute pleasure to watch them grow and thrive.
Chef Mick took on every role with gusto. His gentle, easy way was magic with those he interacted with on any level. Everyone respected and admired him. I interviewed one of his graduates for a magazine article and she told me how he inscribed her text book at graduation and she has it proudly on display in her bakery. As she spoke about Chef Mick she smiled as she recounted anecdotes about her experiences with him as her instructor. I was so proud of her. And him.
One year for our Christmas party I arranged a car tour to the other campuses. To have a bit of fun I played “name that tune” with an 80’s CD I had in my car. Chef Mick, unbeknownst to me, was an 80’s aficionado and aced the quiz. We laughed about it for a long time because one of the songs was https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0aqLwHP4y6Q
I have many fond memories of Chef Mick. Too many to recall here. Enough to make me feel the tremendous loss that today brings. Chef Mick loved culinary but he loved and cherished his family more. He will leave a void in the life of his four children and his beloved wife. I hope they, like so many others touched by him, will find some comfort in the wonderful memories left behind. I’m grateful for the time we had to enjoy Chef Mick. Thanks for the memories.
Godspeed, Chef. Heaven now has a new standard of food. Now it’s sexy.