Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Vavra.
Nikki Vavra, 28 years old, Executive Pastry Chef at Verbena in Overland Park Kansas.
My passion for baking was ignited at a very young age, growing up in the kitchen with my mom. Well..that and my huge sweet tooth.
I love to feed people, I have always felt connected to cooking. There is just something about the way it makes me feel, I always knew it’s what I was meant to do.
My junior year of high school I started a program at Broadmoor Technical Center, where I studied Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management. My senior year I completed the program specializing in Baking and Pastry Arts. Broadmoor really solidified everything for me, I knew I wanted a career in pastry. So upon graduation, I did just that and dived right in.
The last 10 years I’ve spent completely immersed in pastry. Working amongst incredible chefs in numerous restaurants including; Coopers Hawk, Stock Hill, Gram & Dunn, Plate and Verbena. Learning everything from the magic of fermentation in bread to the importance of flavor combinations. Finding the perfect balance of savory and sweet, and truly understanding the chemistry and science behind baking.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’ve definitely had my own fair share of struggles. It’s been a long hard road. But I made it through, and every day I promise myself to be just a little bit better than the day before.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Executive Pastry Chef at Verbena -a new America restaurant
I put a whimsical refined twist on high-end American style desserts.
The current “Crowd Pleasure” also my signature bake.
– A Meyer lemon tart, shortbread cookie crust, vanilla bean crémuex, blackberry coulis, meringue, fresh blackberry
I think what sets me apart is my ability to unite textures and flavors in a unique way.
I want to break boundaries on desserts.
—Aside from my work at Verbena, I also have a small business on the side where I do custom cakes and sweets!
What matters most to you?
Bringing people happiness. Food is good for the soul.
- Website: https://verbenakc.com/dessert-menu/
- Instagram: @nikkivav
Anna Petro took my headshots