Chef Elizabeth Mikesell turned her culinary passion into an award-winning career. For the past 48 years she has worked in the culinary field mostly dominated by males. However, she has made significant contribution in the culinary world and has a great passion for teaching young children and the many students who have studied under her. The Hattie Mae and PALS Foundation has dedicated an entire culinary education program in her honor, " Elizabeth Mikesell Culinary Cuisine Institute".
During the summer months, children can take part in the Healthy & Yummy! Cooking Camp. The camp is designed to teach children to select healthy meals, which helps them become more responsible and develops their aesthetic taste. Children will also learn the fundamental language, science, and math skills which are part of Hattie Mae and PALS Foundation’s Food Science and STEM program. The camp will start in the Summer of 2024. Stay tuned for updates.
Who Is Chef Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Mikesell has been a Chef Instructor at Pima Community College (PCC) for 16 years. She previously was Executive Chef at the Country Club of Green Valley, the Garde Manger Chef and assistant Pastry Chef at Janos restaurant, Chef at Illusions restaurant, El Jebala restaurant and her own restaurant, the J. Perspico Factor in Lenox, Massachusetts. In 2004, she received PCC’s Desert Vista campus Vocational Instructor of the Year award and in 1993, a star educator’s partner award.
Chef Elizabeth chaired the national board of the American Culinary Federation Chef and Child Foundation, whose mission is to educate children and families in understanding proper nutrition through community-based initiatives. First Lady, Michelle Obama invited her to the White House for the kickoff of the “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative since she works with youth learning to cook and eat healthy food. She teaches gardening and cooking at Sam Hughes elementary school and for six years organized a summer cooking camp for low-income children at the House of Neighborly Service.
Chef Mikesell is a past president and chairman of the board for the Chefs Association of Southern Arizona where she earned Chef of the Year three times and is in the association hall of fame She’s served on the leadership council for the Pima County Food Alliance whose purpose is to advocate for wholesome food access and working with the Tucson mayor and council, to help steer sound public policy working. A graduate of the University of Arizona, she is a Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation and in 1998 was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs, the honor society for the American Culinary Federation.
1994 Pima Community College Educators award, 1992 and 1995 ACF CASA Chef of the Year
2003-2004 PCC Vocational Instructor of the Year, 2004 AAC Good Taste Award
2008 ACF CASA Hall of Fame, 2011 ACF National Humanitarian Award, 2011-2012 Pima Community College Outstanding staff award, 2018 AAC Service Award, 1999-Present Who’s who of American Business Professionals
Professional Culinary Activities
The American Culinary Federation 2023 Recipient of the Presidential Medallion
The Presidential Medallion is considered the highest honor given by the President of the American Culinary Federation. It is presented in recognition of outstanding representation of the ACF fundamental principles, including superior strength of character and continued contributions to ACF and/or the culinary industry as a whole.
1987-present Member of the American Culinary Federation
1993-2004, Served on the National Chef and Child board as National Chef and Child Chairwoman-2007-2011, Chef and Child Foundation Secretary 1999-2004, as Chef and Child Special Programs Ambassador 2011-2013, American Academy of Chefs Member Relations Chair 2003-2004, 1998-Present A fellow of the ACF American Academy of Chefs and Chair for the AAC Dinner 2001-2002
1987-present Member of the Chef’s Association of Southern Arizona-Served as Secretary
1992-93, Vice president 1996-97, 2000-2001, and 2016-2023, President 1997-98 and 2002-2004, Chairwoman of the Directors at large, 1999-2000 and 2005-2009 and 2012-2014,
Co-chair for the ACF Western Regional Conference, 2001-2002, .Served as chair for numerous fundraising events and local competitions and Served as Student hot food team coach 2009-2016
Hattie Mae and Pals Foundation
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