“I have dreams of me eating different cupcakes and it’s either a color or specific flavor I tried recently. I try it out the day after and if it works, I just introduce it!”
I was born and raised in Rome. I didn’t know anything about food until I was maybe 18. The first time I actually made an egg, I was 17 and I burned myself. I still have the scar because it exploded all over me. So when I told my mom I was going to open a bakery, she was like, ‘No, sweetie, no you don’t.’ We moved here when I was 16 years old. And I went to college for psychology. I graduated a semester in advance because I studied a lot, I was studying all the time and took extra classes. I signed up for my masters also in psychology, but in the meantime, I was a bit of a troublemaker at that time so my family signed me up for culinary school to keep me out of trouble, but that’s how I found my passion for cooking.”
Martina Nardo, owner of Sugar Sketch, a bakery located on the Lower East Side, stumbled upon her life’s passion quite on accident. After being sent to culinary school by her family, she completed internships at cake shops and ultimately walked into one internship in which a famous cake designer at the time was designing a cake for singer, Katy Perry.
Martina fell in love with the designs. She says, “They were doing a big cake for [the music video for the song, ‘California Gurls’] made of candy, and this designer was an amazing sugar artist so she was doing a lot of candy wrappers out of sugar, it was beautiful. I walked in when it was just a sketch, and in four days it became this cake. It was taller than me and I just fell in love.”
After many internships and working at plenty of bakeries over the last few years, Martina finally was able to open her very own bakery, Sugar Sketch. Although she says her family doesn’t quite understand how successful bakeries can be (mainly because, according to Martina, bakeries aren’t actually that big of a business in Italy, who knew!), she is so happy to have something that’s her own, and is passionate about waking up to every day. Most of the flavors of cupcakes on the menu come straight from Martina’s dreams!