Paola Velez

portrait of Paola Velez

Paola Velez has been a pastry content creator and influencer since co-founding Bakers Against Racism, a viral advocacy movement. The experienced executive pastry chef was named Pastry Chef of the Year by Esquire and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington in 2020 and a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2021.


Velez grew up in the Bronx and landed a pastry sous position with chocolatier Jacques Torres after culinary school. Upon moving to Washington, D.C., she led the pastry kitchen at Iron Gate before joining Kwame Onuwachi at Kith & Kin, where her work earned a 2020 James Beard Award nomination for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

During the pandemic, Velez raised funds for undocumented restaurant workers with her Doña Dona doughnut pop-up and co-founded the international social media bake sale Bakers Against Racism that went viral with more than 24,000 participants in 15 countries supporting hundreds of causes. Velez has since worked as the pastry chef at D.C.'s Compass Rose and Maydan and hosted dessert pop-up La Bodega.


Velez attended Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando.

About Food & Wine

Food & Wine, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, is an award-winning online resource for anyone passionate about the culinary world. With rigorously tested recipes and the most trusted restaurant, drinks, culinary travel and home coverage, we inspire and empower people everywhere to discover, create, and devour the best in food and wine. Learn more about us and our editorial process.

Latest from Paola Velez