SNOHOMISH — At this house, breakfast is art.
Brek Nebel is a pancake Picasso.
What’s up with that?
He pours colors into Bisquick batter. The mixture begets Harry Potter, superhero and dinosaur flapjacks.
Nebel, 36, started five years ago with pancake molds to make breakfast fun for his then-toddler son, Koen.
An innocent request got him into designing his own.
“Didn’t he ask for a garbage truck?” said his wife, Rebecca.
“That was the first one,” Nebel said. “And it kind of spiraled from there.”
He has made hundreds. “Paw Patrol” pups. Sharks. Funko characters.
A Mad Hatter big enough to serve on a turkey platter.
“The T-Rex,” said Koen, 7.
Pancakes are his breakfast of choice at restaurants.
“I get them every time,” he said. Round ones, that is.
When he was little he didn’t understand that hip hotcakes aren’t the norm.
“He asked for a Space Needle,” his mom said.
Nebel got a flash of fame a few years ago when his pancakes went viral after a friend’s post on Reddit. The Huffington Post termed him a “frying pan genius.”
Now, he’s simply a cool dad who makes the cakes for Koen’s second-grade classmates at Dutch Hill Elementary School.
Nebel makes it look easy. It’s like watching the late TV show painter Bob Ross. Before your eyes in an hour a blank griddle becomes a masterpiece. He uses chopsticks as a pencil to do the outline, filling it in with colored batter.
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Art is a hobby for Nebel, who has been drawing since he was a kid. He did radar communications in the Navy and is a field service engineer with inflight entertainment systems for Thales Avionics at Boeing.
Pancakes are a way to make nourishment for the body and mind.
“I use breakfast as an opportunity to introduce my son to the things I enjoy, like Star Wars, comic characters or upcoming movies that I’m excited about,” Nebel said. “It’s always been something I do for him. It’s been a fun way to push him in that direction.”
It worked. His son is his pancake apprentice. Koen also likes to paint and has a wall of his artwork in frames.
Unlike the wall art, the pancakes get eaten. “We’re OK with the art being cut up and consumed,” Nebel said.
Want to be a pancake artist? Presto sells a griddle that comes with an art template and batter bottles.
For $35, you can be a Presto PanGogh.