From 2004-2010, Niki worked at Chez Panisse. Starting with the foot-in-the-door position, she worked her way through all the stations of the cafe and downstairs restaurants, represented the restaurant at public events and researched/developed recipes for Alice Waters. As part of a pilot program, Chez Panisse sent Niki as one of the first visiting cooks to the American Academy in Rome as a part of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. While there, she cooked and occasionally ran the kitchen – serving a community of American artists and scholars. Niki spent multiple stints in Rome (as a part of the RSFP) as a visiting chef and again as a writer’s assistant for Executive Chef Mona Talbott’s “Zuppe: Soups from the Kitchen of the American Academy at Rome”.
As the 2012 Montalvo Arts Center Culinary Fellow, Niki spent the year testing out a more “plant driven” menu concept in a community of artists from around the world, curated two food-related events for the public in collaboration with artists, authors, farmers and chefs, maintained a garden and kept a menu blog titled “mountains in my spoon“. She spent the next two years in Healdsburg, CA: as an opening chef and consultant for farm-to-table cafe, Healdsburg SHED, and then as a freelance chef, volunteer farm worker and food writer while living on a working sheep ranch. Currently located in Oakland, she continues to cook for private philanthropic and political events and is also an editor and “Culinary Muse” for the national culinary publication GFF Magazine (founded by Editor-in-Chief and lifestyle expert, Erika Lenkert) with 10 recipe-driven farm-to-table articles, illustration and food styling to her credit. Niki is also working on a plant-based Salmon Creek Farm cookbook with the artist, Fritz Haeg.