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Local chef Mike Fisher is taking his culinary talents to San Benito High School.
Fisher has been named as the culinary arts teacher at San Benito High School. As part of the transition, the well-known restaurant owner will indefinitely close for lunch hours at Fisher’s, his restaurant located at 650 San Benito St. Fisher’s will remain open for dinner hours, meanwhile.
Fisher caught up with San Benito Live this week and expressed excitement about the change.
“So basically, some might say that teaching is in my blood,” Fisher said. “My dad has been a longtime teacher at the high school and my brother is a teacher right now at the high school.”
He said his business model has a focus on taking in employees who are teens or young adults. One of his motivations is to help improve the local labor pool in the hospitality industry. He said currently, that labor pool is a challenge locally.
“Speaking with other restaurant owners, we all agree the labor pool is a really hard thing,” he said. “I saw this opportunity to start educating them now so they have a step up when they get out of high school.”
Fisher noted that he actually “wasn’t made for college” himself and went straight into the workforce along with a short term at culinary school.
“I did all my education through working,” Fisher said.
Fisher said when he went for an interview at San Benito High School for the culinary teaching role, Human Resources Director Cindi Krokower took him on a tour of the campus vocational building.
“She showed me that and the culinary arts class, and it blew my mind how the high school is at a higher level than some junior colleges in my opinion,” he said. “I wanted to get on board with that. It’s something I truly, truly believe in, is vocational arts.”
He said he’s sacrificing his lunch service to help build that new culture of workers in the hospitality industry here.
“And hopefully, not just to benefit my own restaurant, but to the benefit of all other businesses in hospitality and tourism,” he said.
As for his restaurant, he said it is currently in a transition with hours and he wanted to thank his customers in advance on the changes. He said he wants to change Fisher’s to “more of a table service, fine-dining atmosphere.”
“My entire career has been working organically, letting things happen organically,” he said.