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.