Fighting racism with flour and sugar

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Paola Velez uses childhood memories and experiences to inform her relatable desserts. She is one of the founding pastry chefs of this year’s successful fundraising effort, Bakers Against Racism. Photo courtesy of Paola Velez.

Paola Velez was riding high at the beginning of 2020. Not yet 30 years old, she garnered a James Beard Rising Star semifinalist nomination and graced the cover of “Washingtonian” magazine, as the hotshot pastry chef at Kwame Onwuachi’s Washington, D.C. restaurant Kith/Kin. Then following the death of George Floyd, she recruited colleagues to flour their rolling pins and level their measuring spoons for a fundraiser like no other. Bakers Against Racism raised more than $1.6 million in a single day. 

Currently, Velez is the Executive Pastry Chef of Maydan and Compass Rose in Washington DC where she recently launched La Bodega Bakery.



Evan Kleiman