At the age of 4 Sara climbed on the kitchen counter to 'taste' vanilla extract. Disappointed by the taste (how could something that smelled so good taste so bad?), she was caught by her mother and had to sheepishly explain what she was up to. Fast forward ten years and Sara was selling homemade sandwiches and cookies to her friends at lunch and still running lemonade stands with her best friend. This love of all things food, and especially baking, led Sara to the Culinary Institute of America where she got her degree in baking and pastry arts. She baked and cooked her way across the country, working everywhere from NYC to San Francisco, Atlanta, Alaska, North Dakota and even Cambridge, England.
Sara just finished her master's degree in hospitality management from Cornell University, where she helped teach and develop curriculum for an undergraduate restaurant course. After years of wondering how Zingerman's made their deliciously perfect Cosmic Cakes, she is thrilled to be a part of the team and learn the secrets to pass on to BAKE! students.
Susan was born and raised in the metro Detroit area. After earning a B.S. in Clothing and Textiles at MSU, Susan began a lifelong love of cooking, travel and new food discoveries. Early food memories from both sides of the family were the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of great food, including pies and birthday cakes made for her by her maternal grandmother and the annual visits to her paternal grandmother in California, where she h and her brothers "helped" at the family grocery store. These memories, as well as the hungry support of her husband and kids, were the inspiration to attend Schoolcraft College of Culinary Arts, where she earned a certificate in baking and pastry in 2007. Susan first joined Zingerman's during the 2008 holiday season in the pastry kitchen where she learned what production baking really meant. Employed in various restaurants and bakeries in southeast Michigan since then, Susan has spend the last two years as the Resident Chef at Sur la Table where she nurtured her passion for baking, cooking and teaching.
Dan was born and raised in Detroit, MI in the Palmer Park area. He is of Italian heritage with both sets of grandparents immigrating to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a young child (the 1st of four siblings) in a large and extended Italian family, food from Grandpa's garden, made from scratch meals and fresh baked goods were plentiful. Dan's love of food developed in Mom and Grandma's kitchen with out him realizing it. He thought everyone had the meals he was able to enjoy as a child.
After a short stretch of time in the Marine Corps, Dan realized maybe not everyone has access to really good food, like while on a military base. He did spend a lot of time with people from all walks of life and from every corner of the United States. This gave Dan an appreciation for regional differences in culture and particularly how food was always mentioned when recalling good times with friends and family.
Dan’s first career after graduate school was as a healthcare administrator at hospitals in Michigan and Indiana. After 17 years of work he and his wife decided it would be fun and rewarding to own their own business. They both have an appetite for great food and the start of a second career was born, resulting in two artisan bread bakeries and one retail food store. Many years later he decided to retire, but this was a pursuit that only lasted about nine months when he heard about the instructor opening at BAKE! Dan brings more than 20 years of baking experience to BAKE! with a fondness for teaching people how to make delightful baked treats at home for their family and friends.
Nikki was born and raised right here in Ann Arbor. She worked toward a degree in Elementary Education for a few years, but later decided to go to culinary school. She has loved cooking and baking her whole life and is always watching The Food Network. Nikki graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona in 2004. She has since worked at the New Orleans Convention Center, Paesano's restaurant in Ann Arbor, Main Street IX in Milan and as Pastry Chef for both University of Toledo and Eastern Michigan University. Her most favorite thing to bake at home is cheesecake and she thinks hers is darn good. When we saw Nikki wearing a pair of earrings shaped like a kitchen mixer, we knew she was in the right place.
Amy Emberling is a Managing Partner at Zingerman's Bakehouse. She has been an avid food lover and baker since her childhood in Nova Scotia, Canada. After high school Amy moved to Cambridge, MA and received her bachelor's degree from Harvard College. She then followed her passion for food and learned to cook and bake at L'ecole de Gastronomie Francaise at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, France as well as in Michigan restaurants. In 1999 she received her MBA from Columbia University.
Amy came to Zingerman's Bakehouse when it opened in 1992 as one of the original bakers on the staff of eight. She soon became the first manager of the bread department, then the manager of the pastry department and in 2000 she became a partner.
Amy has been working in the food world for over 20 years and is passionate about hands on baking, teaching about baking and business, developing businesses and people. As well as teaching at BAKE! Amy presents for ZingTrain on our business practices. A few of the Bakehouse items she is personally responsible for developing are the Old School Apple Pie, Buenos Aires Brownies and our Gingerbread Coffeecake. In addition to developing items Amy is a promoter of classic bakery favorites from many cultures and has brought traditional standards to the Bakehouse such as Paris Brest, Hummingbird Cake, and Maple Cream Cookies.
Managing Partner, Zingerman's Bakehouse
Born in Detroit, Frank has made Ann Arbor his home since 1972. With an engineering degree from U of M, Frank didn't necessarily set out to become one of the premiere bread makers in the country. But after growing up in a Sicilian-Austrian household, one in which food was held sacred, it's no surprise that he ended up making food. Frank met Paul and Ari when they all worked together in a restaurant in 1978 and after partnering with Paul at Monahan's Seafood Market for 7 years he became the managing partner of the Bakehouse when it opened in 1992.
Frank has been training, coaching, and teaching for nearly 30 years. Through BAKE!, Frank coaches the fundamentals of baking, helping both novices and experts.