“As a child, playing restaurant and setting the table was my favorite pastime.”
Wanting nothing more than to go through his day preparing layers of cakes and ovens full of pies, Michael “Dior” Golden found his calling at a very early time in life.
Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Golden was surrounded by men who not only provided for their homes but also prepared family dinners, including his own father who did most of the cooking in his household.
Although he didn’t see images of himself within the ranks of chefs within his community, he knew he wanted to bake beautiful cakes that would celebrate milestones.
Golden, born into a family with a lineage that spans from roots in the Turks and Caicos Islands, said he always knew the South was where he would gain his footing as a black man who bakes.
“I’ve always been infatuated with Southern culture,” he said. “Most black men who grow up in Detroit have Southern roots. I didn’t. But living in Atlanta, I’ve learned the most ”
“My grandparents are from Turks and Caicos,” he continued. “They moved here to New York City, where they had my mother and my aunts and uncles were born. They later moved to Detroit.”
After years of attending performing arts schools in Detroit, he relocated to Columbus, Georgia, where he attended Columbus State University. He later transferred to Morehouse College under his mother’s wishes, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in public health in 2007.
Because, according to Golden’s mother, he had a choice go to college or get a job.
“I originally planned on going to school for culinary arts, but my mom had other plans,” he said. “She always looked at cooking as just a hobby. Detroit parents tend to want their children to become doctors and lawyers. She was not going to pay for culinary school.”
Choosing to attend college instead, Golden had an opportunity to become fully immersed in the HBCU experience. He credited his Morehouse education with instilling in him the excellence of being a proud black man.
Golden said he often finds light in his struggle with being a black man in a field that has very few of them represented but he hopes to be one of the many that changes this reality by freely exchanging information, providing opportunities and memorable experiences as a black man who bakes.
Even in college, while Golden was pursuing a degree in public health, focusing on his studies didn’t keep him from indulging in his first love—cooking.
While living in the dormitories on campus, Golden bought a few portable kitchen electrics and began to cook for his fellow Morehouse peers in the late night hour, branding his goods under the brand, “Life After Takeout,” which is now the name of one of his ventures.
Once he finished his degree at Morehouse, he enrolled into culinary school on his own, opting to attend the Tucker campus of Le Cordon Bleu. The for-profit operator of the Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools, Career Education Corporation, closed all 16 of its US campuses in September 2017.
Golden finished the program that focused on the hallmarks of classic French technique and began cooking at a number of restaurants in the metro Atlanta area, including Holman and Finch, JCT Kitchen, Public School 404 and Louisiana Bistreaux, where he currently works.
He’s also had the opportunity to work with many Atlanta-based celebrities, including Kandy Burris, with whom Golden collaborated on to create a baby shower cake for her youngest son.
Golden, who has a four-year-old son of his own, said one of his key audiences are children. He enjoys creating a safe, creative space for children to explore and enjoy the world of culinary without the prejudices of a society.
Another initiative that Golden is passionate about was based around a childhood memory. As a child, Golden wanted to enjoy being an owner of an EasyBake Oven, but he was denied.
That memory soon faded. But, years later, when EasyBake Oven debuted a beautiful silver and black unisex oven, Golden ran to the store and bought himself one to fulfill his childhood wishes.
But, it didn’t stop there. He also launched a Go Fund Me account to buy extra EasyBake Ovens so that he could teach children how to make gourmet desserts using this three-min kitchen appliance.
Shortly, after his first EasyBake Oven class, Golden received an endorsement from EasyBake Oven on his initiative.
Projects like the EasyBake Oven class are the types of programs that Golden hopes to introduce to the market through his company.
In fact, “Life after Takeout” is only one of three business ventures that Golden is currently embarking upon. His podcast, “Eat Me Out,” provides its listeners an adult late night conversations on all things food, culture, and relationships. It airs on Fridays on Apple and SoundCloud.
Golden said he is also in pursuit of opening a creative collective space for weddings. He aspires to push for greater inclusivity within the bridal and wedding industry.