Michal Shelkowitz was born in Israel, and raised on Long Island, New York. As a young child, she was an extremely picky eater, notorious in the family for eating only the crusts of pizza slices. Her sweet tooth, and its targets, however, remained fully intact. Baking became a natural hobby for the girl who considered Swiss Miss pudding an acceptable dinner, and it was after watching Pastry Chef Richard Leach on an episode of PBS’s "Great Chefs, Great Cities," that Shelkowitz fell in love with the concept of making dessert for a living.
In 2005, after completing the baking and pastry arts program at The Institute of Culinary Education, Shelkowitz started an externship at wd~50 with Pastry Chef Sam Mason. The experience was revelatory and opened Shelkowitz up to a whole new idea of cuisine. From there, Shelkowitz immersed herself in the world of New York’s fine dining restaurants, landing a pastry cook position at Shea Gallante's lauded Cru, followed by a brief period at the legendary Gramercy Tavern.
In 2007, Shelkowitz joined the team at Jean-Georges's flagship restaurant, under the tutelage of Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini, where she was able to hone and develop a basis of classic French training incorporated with modern technique. Following her time at Jean Georges, Shelkowitz took some time off to travel Europe, including a stage at a Provençal bakery and an indulgent culinary road trip through northern Italy.
Coming back to New York, Shelkowitz made a serendipitous return to Cru, this time for her first position as pastry chef. And in 2010, Shelkowitz came on board as pastry chef at John Fraser’s Michelin-starred Dovetail, where she focuses on desserts that straddle the lines of sweet and savory, elegance and whimsy.