Voice Recognition

Jay Campbell

Jay Campbell JVS Grad is Successful Chef-Educator at Career-Technical School in Newark, Ohio

Jay Campbell, Culinary Arts, Class of: 1997
Think of it as a passing of the torch. But in this case, the “torch” is a spatula.

Under the tutelage of Lorain County JVS Culinary Academy instructors Chef Timothy Michitsch, Jay Campbell sliced and diced his way to success in culinary arts classes and competitions. Now a senior culinary arts instructor himself, at the Licking County Career-Technical Education Center (C-TEC) in Newark, Ohio, Campbell enjoys being on the other side of the table playing the “Chef” role to his own students.

You could also contend that the spatula was passed to Campbell by his grandmother. Growing up in Oberlin, Campbell would bake bread and “holiday cookies by the thousands” with his grandma. She also taught him the family recipes of his Italian, Scottish and Irish heritage. Plus, Campbell enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen with his own creations, like pizzas and pies.

Campbell recognized his panache with the pan and says he knew Lorain County JVS would be a key ingredient for his future.

“I didn’t apply myself at my home high school, but Lorain County JVS helps you do something with your life and gives you direction.”

Through the culinary arts program at Lorain County JVS, Campbell took a taste of everything from grilling and sautéing to mass food production and ice carving. Along with core classes like algebra and government, Campbell studied chemistry to learn the science behind baking. In the Buckeye Room, the JVS student-run restaurant, Campbell practiced skills like front of the house management, dining room etiquette and customer service.

“We got to touch and feel everything,” Campbell remarks. “We learned realistic skills for the industry and developed discipline and respect for the profession.”

Campbell also points to the work ethic and professionalism instilled in him by the JVS instructors.

“The chef instructors were role models in life skills. They were truly ‘guiding forces’ that helped me realize what I could be, what I could do with my life.”

After graduating from Lorain County JVS through Oberlin High School in 1997, Campbell enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Then, with his associate’s degree in one hand and cookbook in the other, he joined the faculty of Licking County C-TEC. He teaches two classes—one in the kitchen, the other in the classroom—and spends one or two weeks on a cooking subject until he is sure all the students have it down pat. He says passing on what he has learned through the years is the most rewarding part of his job.

“I love inspiring kids through the history and passion of cooking. Without passion, the skills mean nothing.”

Campbell continues, “But it’s challenging to teach bread-making 17 different ways for 17 different students based on their own styles and learning needs.”

Campbell’s own students often face Lorain County JVS students in state-wide career school competitions. So how do Campbell’s students fair against his mentor’s?

Campbell concedes, “Lorain County JVS has state-of-the-art culinary facilities and is a benchmark for other schools. But Licking County C-TEC is nipping at their heels!” In fact, Licking County C-TEC is one of the few Ohio schools besides Lorain County JVS to offer a full-service, student-operated restaurant.”

With a career rising faster than a loaf of bread, Campbell is currently attending Ohio State University to obtain his teaching license and in the next five years plans to become a certified executive chef and certified culinary educator. He has set his goals high and is looking ahead to one day becoming a certified master chef.

Until then, Campbell will continue to “pass the spatula,” so to speak, inspiring his students to develop their zest for cooking, just as Lorain County JVS did for him years ago.

“I left the JVS with not only the skills I needed to be successful, but also with
self-esteem, pride and ownership,” says Campbell. “Everybody has a dream, and they can find it at Lorain County JVS.”
apple app google play app
The Lorain County Joint Vocational School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs and activities, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. © 2023. The Lorain County Joint Vocational School District. All Rights Reserved.