Chef Aishia Martinez’s inspiration comes from the vibrant cultures of her hometown Union City, NJ and the exciting diversity of Hudson County. Living and studying in such a uniquely multicultural community was an incredibly important influence in her food view. Born into a huge Puerto Rican family who's love language is baking in a community with constant access to cuisine from around the world imbued a deep appreciation for new foods, for absorbing a cultures story and feeling that history in a single bite and being able to travel the globe without ever leaving your dinner table. These connections, these acknowledgements of our collective sameness, experienced through a meal, are what ignited her passion for pastry and dessert making.
Aishia studied Pastry Arts at in her own backyard at HCCC where she was chosen to represent the college's CAI program at the 2016 San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. It was during that initiatory competition that she was scouted by the Michelin Award winning Daniel NYC. In the midst of persuing her Culinary degree, Chef Martinez was brought on as part of Daniel’s pastry team, working under the mentorship of prolific Ghaya Oliviera. It was during this experience that a seed was planted, an appreciation for the intricacies and detail of modern French pastry began to grow and inform Chef Martinez' approach to building flavor profiles. After her time at Daniel, Martinez went on to join the fast paced realm of New Jersey Wedding Season at the W Hotel. Working directly with couples, she was able to curate dessert menus based off of each client's unique personality, using her passion for personalized flavor profiles to truly represent each individual couple who celebrated their nuptuals with the venue. With multiple wedding seasons under her belt, Chef Martinez refocused and re-inspired her work, taking a few years to fully immerse herself in the art of artisanal handcrafted gelato. A love affair began between Martinez and gelato in those years, using local organic farm-fresh ingredients, learning to master the delicate balance of fruit, fiber, water and fat she worked hand in hand with Jersey City restaurateurs to create exclusively formulated, hand crafted Phillidelphia Style Gelato. After devouring every morsel of gelato experience, Chef Martinez hopped back into the kitchen taking over the reigns of the pastry department as part of the Battello Family, a pillar of pierside dining and sought after Jersey City Wedding Venue. Chef Martinez brought higher end, whimsical desserts to Downtown Jersey City, where she was able to expand the Battello pastry department to include a scratch made gelato program with a repertoire of 40 rotating seasonal flavors. With a renewed hunger for bringing guests bespoke seasonal offerings Martinez left her post at Battello and joined the pastry team at Gotham in the West Village where she learned candy making and expanded her knowledge of more European pastry techniques, refamiliarizing herself with the Michelin experience.
So Here's The Story...
Looking to challenge herself even further Chef Martinez dipped her toes in the realm of cooking competitions as a baker in the 9th season of Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. With her infectious positivity, immense pride for her Latino culture, and strong bond with her chosen kitchen family Chef Martinez stayed true to her Caribbean roots, introducing the judges to traditional Puerto Rican staples and paying homage to the blend of flavors her diverse kitchen family has taught her throughout her career.
Chef Martinez is expanding her skillset this year taking on
more intentional catering events highlighting minority business
openings and celebrations promoting, serving and supporting her own community. "Whenever one of us takes a step up the ladder, I truly believe it is that individuals absolute obligation to turn around and help the next person up. Partnering with minority owned businesses is the best way I can achieve that in my own community. Although a drop in the bucket it is definitely a step in the right direction." Be on the lookout for Chef Aishia Martinez’ upcoming collaborations with local restauranteurs, her upcoming line of spice blends and sauces and her art inspired work with SHOP MIDNIGHT HOME, a NJ based black female owned business bringing curated antiques, sourced with history and intention in mind, to the greater community.