Faculty Stories: Michael Maddox

Michael Maddox

Program: Culinary Arts

Michael Maddox developed his interest in food while growing up on a farm in central Illinois.

“We raised grain crops – corn, wheat and soybeans – as well as pigs, cattle, sheep and chickens, some of which were butchered. My parents also grew large gardens. In turn, we canned, cured, smoked and pickled a great variety of fruits, vegetables and meats,” he said. “Through these different processes, I learned the respect necessary for producing great recipes as well as respect for the different ingredients.”

From central Illinois, Maddox traveled the world, mainly working in fine dining French restaurants in Chicago, New York, Paris and Tours, France. He also worked in Florida at a European-style resort, where he learned the trade through different kitchens ranging from fine dining to spa cuisine.  

Maddox eventually owned “Le Titi De Paris,” a suburban French restaurant.

“It was a great experience from not only the culinary side but also the hospitality side. Going from the chef de cuisine to the chef owner brought on more challenges and rewards,” he said.

After 20 years at Le Titi De Paris, Maddox decided to move onto another chapter in his culinary life, one of teaching. Since leaving the restaurant, he has taught library classes and started working at College of DuPage, first as an adjunct and now as a full-time faculty member.

“I recalled over the years having culinary externs from various cooking schools coming to the restaurant and watching them grow over the six months, with a great majority of them staying on with us after the extern was over,” he said. “I respect and appreciate the quality of the full- and part-time chef instructors at the College who made me feel welcome. The facilities and kitchens are exceptional for teaching students the real-world experience. I feel the school is going places and continues to push the expectations of the students and curriculum to the next level every term.”

Maddox hopes his students learn everything from the specifics of the craft to meeting personal goals.

“I hope they take away being professional, a great attitude, teamwork, and learning successful methods and techniques which can be applied in the industry. I would hope the students would gain knowledge, understanding and confidence in themselves through practice and repetition in the classroom and in their personal kitchens,” he said.

“I truly believe as a chef that one can better oneself through education, practice and comprehending that no one is perfect and it is unattainable but a great achievement to strive for. I enjoy seeing the students pushing themselves from the classroom to the kitchen by challenging themselves every day which, in turn, gives them a better chance to succeed in life.”

More about the Culinary, Hospitality Management and Tourism program