Chef Biography

Michelle Nugent was born in 1969 in Denver, Colorado.  Her father was a professor, so initially they moved around a lot, eventually ending up in New Orleans where he taught at Tulane University, right after a hurricane hit the city.

She had three food revelations that got her interested in the business.  She accompanied her father on a sabatical at Stanford, and Michelle would spend a lot of time with one of his lab mates from Saigon, Vietnam who taught her that cuisine.  Then upon returning to New Orleans, she spent time with a Native American, Dr. White Cloud, who taught her his type of food.  The third revelation was meeting her friend Arthel Neville, whose father, Art Neville (yes the musician), taught her all about New Orleans food.

She was working at the Billabong Bakery in New Orleans when Great Chef Susan Spicer hired her in 1987 to apprentice as lead cook for Bistro at Maison de Ville in the French Quarter.  A year later, she moved out to Restaurant Matisse in Santa Rosa, California as garde-manger.

In 1990, Susan Spicer opened her own restaurant, Bayona, and talked Chef Nugent into returning to New Orleans as her executive sous chef.  Two years later in 1992, the Great Chefs team arrived to tape Chef Nugent for the Discovery Channel’s new Great Chefs television series, the New Garde, where she appeared in episode # 21.

Later, she became the executive chef of Susan Spicer’s specialty food market called Spice, Inc. located in the New Orleans warehouse district.  In 1999, she joined the Jazz Fest staff as food director where she remains today, in 2016.


Tuna with Japanese Noodles and Soy Dipping Sauce

Serving: 8 Print Tuna with Japanese Noodles and Soy Dipping Sauce By Great Chefs November 9, 2015 This recipe artfully combines ingredients and flavors borrowed from Asian cooking: Japanese, Indonesian, and a touch of Thai. Soba and somen are Japanese noodles, here tossed with peanut sauce as a bed for seared tuna fillets, which are […]

Add to Favourites