From an early age, Michelle Nygren (DeBruyn) has always known the kitchen to be her haven. She grew up in Southwest Michigan, alternating her after-school activities between baking in her Easy-Bake Oven and serving at her mom’s little neighborhood cafe.

After pursuing a degree in Spanish at the University of Washington, and spending years working as a non-profit community manager and digital marketer, Michelle finally returned to school to do what she had always dreamed of doing: studying specialty desserts and breads. She graduated top of her class from Seattle Culinary Academy, earning the “Most Outstanding Student” award for her culinary dedication both in and out of the kitchen.

Michelle finds great value in the art of slowing down and sharing a meal, and looks for any excuse to do so. She is on the Board of Directors for Quillisascut Farm School, and spent her post-culinary-school years playing with sourdough starters at Google. While she started at the Pantry as one of our volunteer assistants, she now teaches in our Cooking with Kids classes and Culinary Kids Camps, whips up desserts for our family dinners, and helps pull weeds from the garden.