Michelle Magni Is Baking Up Success at Gonzaga University


Go-to late night snack? Popcorn with coconut oil

Favorite pastry to make? Pithivier {A round, enclosed pie usually made by baking two disks of puff pastry, with filling stuffed in between.}

Best dinner at the BARC? Fish Tacos

Chef Michelle Magni started her career with Sodexo as a substitute lunch lady in a Western Washington school district.  She was drawn to the company after seeing how well they treated their employees.  The warm embrace she received from Sodexo was enough to inspire Michelle to reenter the workforce after her years as a stay-at-home mom.  Michelle did not, however, let her humble beginnings stop her from achieving her lifelong dream – to work in the kitchen.  

Staying within the Sodexo family, Michelle eventually came to Gonzaga University.  She was working in the catering department when a bakery position opened up.  Seeing her hard work and determination, Sodexo encouraged Michelle to get her pastry certification at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu College in Seattle, WA.  Originally, Michelle thought that working in the kitchen was “just a dream,” but she recognized an opportunity when she saw one.  Jumping on the opening, Michelle eventually graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with honors, on the President’s List, and with perfect attendance.  

Due to Michelle’s hard work and Sodexo’s support, the aspiring chef has since climbed the ranks and now serves as the head baker for Zag Dining at Gonzaga University.  She says that she is blessed to work amongst the chefs at Gonzaga, and truly appreciates the opportunities she has been given.  As an inspiration to all, Michelle tells other aspiring individuals to “ask questions, look to your fellow employees and don’t be afraid to go back to school.”  She reinvented her career at the age of forty, and proved you should never stop chasing your dreams.

Since getting the position, Michelle has prospered as one of Zag Dining’s top bakers.  Her favorite war story was baking the #1 cake that stretched fifteen feet down bulldog alley last year.  As if the sheer size of the cake was not enough of a challenge, she was also working in twenty-eight degree weather.  Lucky for us, however, Michelle not only completed the cake, but also made it absolutely delicious!  We later asked Michelle what the best part of being a chef is.  She simply smiled and said, “When people say, ‘No, no, no, please don’t leave that there, I’m getting so fat!”

Interview conducted by Elizabeth & Molly Bonoma.

Pithivier definition provided by Wikipedia.




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