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 received 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, she 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 "helped" at the family's grocery store. Susan attended Schoolcraft College of Culinary Arts, where she earned a certificate in baking and pastry in 2007. She first joined Zingerman's Bakehouse during the 2008 holiday season in the pastry kitchen where she learned production baking. She found her way to teaching in 2012, and happily returned to Zingerman's Bakehouse in 2015. Susan is passionate about baking and sharing knowledge.
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 the 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.
Meg is a native southeast Michigander who realized at a formative age that baking was her passion. At age 12, in the checkout line of the grocery store, she spotted a pool-themed cake on the cover of Home and Gardens and knew that she needed to recreate it. Her mother, being a kitchen neophyte, happily nurtured her passion and bought all the ingredients needed to bake it. The end result was an $80 cake that was so beautiful her family refused to eat it!
Meg grew up in her grandmother’s kitchen. Her grandma was a fabulous home baker who taught an eager student everything she knew and when she passed away when Meg was in high school, the “spatula was passed on”. Meg went on to culinary school in Providence, RI, and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a BS in Baking & Pastry. From there, she worked in various hospitality establishments, from 5-star hotels and MLB stadiums to small organic bakeries and family-owned restaurants. With a varied range of experiences in both back and front of house hospitality positions, Meg has found her “dream job” with Zingerman’s in teaching others as she was once lovingly taught.
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 Coffee Cake. 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.