Zara Abbasi

Pastry Chef/Lawyer

Little Rock

Age: 36

Zara Abbasi

No one could accuse Zara Abbasi of doing things the easy way. “Not doing things the easy way, it really makes you so flexible in life. Whatever life throws at you, you don’t get too upset at,” she said.

And life has thrown Abbasi some curves. Born in New York when her father, a dietician and nutritionist, was earning his master’s degree, her family moved to Boston when she was 6. When she was about 13, the family relocated to Paragould, and as her father moved for work, Abbasi spent high school in a different school each year, landing in Little Rock at 17. “It was a really tough adjustment.”

When she was 19, Abbasi, a student at the University of Central Arkansas, was badly injured in an auto accident. She missed a semester while relearning to walk. Graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Abbasi began baking professionally while attending the Bowen School of Law. She also married and had two children while in law school.

She earned renown as the pastry chef at Little Rock’s Natchez restaurant, later creating desserts for the Yellow Rocket Concepts family of restaurants. Abbasi, expecting her third child this month, is taking private orders for her desserts while talking to investors about opening her own bakery.

Her parents are her mentors, Abbasi said, and as for a life philosophy, “I think that’s our family mantra: We just roll with the punches.”