Photo by Rick Poon


Michelle McKenzie is the program director and chef at 18 Reasons, the nonprofit community cooking school in San Francisco's Mission District. She teaches cooking classes, curates the course calendar, and prepares the food for wine dinners and special events. She has a knack for making simple food seem special and is full of amazing tips for making every meal memorable. Michelle’s food seems at once healthy and hedonistic, elegant and effortless, and always attainable.

Michelle graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in nutrition and a minor in biochemistry, giving her a deep understanding of food properties and their complex implications within the human body. She later graduated from The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, where she immersed herself in health-supportive cuisine prepared from whole, organic and seasonal foods. Michelle has worked at some of the best restaurants in the country, has been featured on the Cooking Channel, and has been a contributor for publications such as Sunset Magazine.

Her first cookbook, Dandelion & Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs, will be published by Roost Books on August 2, 2016.