A Few Words
I Believe Passionately...
that my love for baking will bring you joy.
Pastry has been a life-long passion for Martin. Growing up with a mother who always baked homemade cookies and cakes, he couldn’t help but join in the fun. Going from Mom’s helper to EasyBake experimenter to Wilton cake decorating enthusiast created the building blocks for a budding pastry chef. Enjoying cooking as well, he took a job as a cook at a local restaurant in his hometown of Columbia, MD. Upon hearing the chef sing the praises of his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America, Martin decided to go that route too. Once a CIA graduate, he found pastry to be his true calling and went to work with Albert Kumin in Bedford Hills, NY. Next stop was working with Waldy Malouf at La Cremaillere in Banksville, NY. Waldy guided Martin in creating restaurant desserts to dazzle the celebrity clientele. Feeling the need to try something completely different, in 1989 Martin took the pastry chef position at Pier House Inn and Beach Club in Key West Florida. One year later he headed back to New York to open Hudson River Club with Waldy at the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. In 1997 Martin became the executive pastry chef at the Rainbow Room atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza making desserts for all their high profile outlets. From there he went on to open Beacon restaurant in midtown and Purdys Homestead in Westchester County. In 2001 Martin joined Restaurant Associates (now Patina Restaurant Group) to be pastry chef at Brasserie and Brasserie 8 ½. In the spring of 2009 he left the company to work on performance and singing as his drag persona Chocolatina, Queen of the Dessert. This lead to being crowned Miss Stonewall 2009 and hosting many nights at the legendary venue. All of this will hopefully come to fruition as a pastry cabaret, his ultimate dream.
The critics have been wildly impressed, noting the influence of “the splashy architecture of the World Financial Center and 30 Rockefeller Plaza” on his fabulous creations. Accolades such as “elegant yet humorous” (Chocolatier), “his desserts tend toward the spectacular” (Gourmet), “a fantasy” (New York Magazine) and “a wow” (Crain’s) are invariably linked to Martin’s name. In fact, the pastry chef’s well-known for his divinely decadent and whimsical desserts, which are remarkable for their fabulous flavorings as well as extraordinary eye appeal.
In October 2010 Martin and his co-author Pablo Cartaya debuted their first storybook/cookbook Tina Cocolina, Queen of the Cupcakes with Random House. It’s the story of a little cupcake girl in search of her topping, complete with recipes and a cast of delicious characters. In fall of 2013 the second book will be released, Tina Cocolina, a Cupcake in Paris.
In addition to being named one of the country’s top ten pastry chefs two years in row (1997 & 1998) by Chocolatier and Pastry Art and Design magazines, Martin was James Beard Foundation baking competition’s winner and “People’s Choice Award” honoree which led him to make a grand birthday cake for the annual James Beard Birthday celebration. He has been the recipient of an extraordinary number of honors and awards including, Domaine Carneros Wedding Cake Competition, “Let Them Eat Cake”, national pastry chef competitions and costume design for the Chef’s In-line Skate race. Recently he won the Country Music Celebrity Cake competition partnered with Julie Roberts and the Beaujolais Nouveau Cake competiton held at the Time Warner center in NYC.
Martin has made many TV appearances including, Foodnation with Bobby Flay, Extreme Pastry, Food Network Challenge, Travel Channel, CNN, CBS, NBC and Fox morning shows, Today Show, Good Morning America and even a Japanese documentary show called “New Yorkers”. Being on the advisory board for the annual Chocolate Show has also led to numerous national and international media coverage.