Pastry chef Nikki Vavra got an early start to her culinary career. “In high school, I completed the two-year culinary arts program at Broadmoor Technical Center, specializing in baking and pastry,” she says. “After graduation I went straight into the industry.”
Over the last decade, Vavra, 28, cut her teeth working in several kitchens in Kansas City, including Stock Hill, Gram & Dun, and Plate. Now she’s whipping up decadent delicious desserts and pastries at Verbena in Prairie Village. “Baking is in my blood. I come from a long time of women in the kitchen,” she says. “I grew up in the kitchen with my mom. We still bake together today. Plus, I love the patience and precision that is required with pastry.”
We caught up with the dessert maven to find out five things you don’t know about her:
5) I collect coffee cups
“I drink a lot of coffee, and I am a sucker for a cute coffee cup. Something about them just adds a little happiness to my day.”
4) I was named after Nikki Giovanni
“Nikki Giovanni was an American writer, poet, and activist. She was one of my mother’s favorite writers because of how she wrote—and what she wrote about.”
3) I was born in Utah.
“Although I have lived in Kansas City for over 22 years, I was actually born in Logan, Utah.”
2) I used to swim competitively.
“I swam on a summer swim league team for 12 years and went on to swim varsity my freshman year of high school.”
1) I love chocolate ice cream—with gummi bears.
“Chocolate ice cream with gummi bears is probably my most favorite thing in the whole world. It always has been. If you’ve never tried it, you should.”