SAU Degree Helps Get Mike Kubiesa's Career Cooking


Scene Magazine | Spring 2022

If there is a gold standard for college roommates, Mike Kubiesa '13 was it.

He was, at least, for hungry roomies with discriminating palates.

Today, Kubiesa is a private chef in the Chicago area, with a clientele that includes three current Chicago Bulls. Since his graduation from Chicago's Kendall College at National Louis University with an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in 2015, he has cooked for players and coaches at the Chicago Bears practice facilities and worked as a private chef for a celebrity family while co-authoring a pair of popular cookbooks.

As a St. Ambrose junior and senior, the native of Elmhurst, Illinois, was a roommates' dream.

"I was famous for making Saturday breakfasts at 2 a.m.," Kubiesa recalled of his final two years living with four friends in off-campus housing near Vanderveer Park. "I would always do waffles. We had an omelet station. Steak and eggs. Sausage. I was literally cooking for everybody at 2 a.m.

"And then, Sundays before football, I'd wake up and go to Aldi. We'd scrounge together $15 each, and that can go a long way at Aldi. I'd do a calzone or a homemade pizza. I'd make a dip called 'The Kitchen Sink.' I'd do wings. Maybe make a pot roast for dinner. My roommates loved it."

Well, yeah.

Kubiesa came to St. Ambrose to major in Radio and Television with a specific eye on building a career as a TV chef. That's certainly not a standard path to a career, but it made sense to a young man who spent long hours as a child and teen watching Emeril Lagasse follow Julia Child into the TV kitchen.

"People were surprised by the fact I liked watching 'The Food Network' in grade school," he said. "It was such a small niche thing. It still is but it is steadily growing."

Intent on a career as a chef, Kubiesa always planned to pursue an education in the culinary arts. He enrolled at St. Ambrose with the thought the Radio and TV program could help his dream of cooking on camera. (Full disclosure: His high school girlfriend, Laura (Whitting) '13, came to SAU ahead of him. Today, they're married with a son.)

Kubiesa said early opportunities to work in front of the camera and behind it, have been immensely helpful as he builds his career. He anticipates his SAU education will continue to help as he works toward his dream.
His profile continues to grow, with a couple of TikTok videos that have earned more than 1 million views. (Julia Child never did that.) He also is writing a cookbook of his own.

"My path right now as an entrepreneur is great, but I still have big dreams, and hopefully, you'll see me on TV one day," he said. "And I want future students and alums all over to understand Ambrose helped pave this path for me. Ambrose taught me to be a professional from creating emails, speaking, and solving problems. I think back, and I'm using all those things when I promote myself today."

–Craig DeVrieze '16 MOL


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