Labor of love

Vianey Martinez

Photo by Josh Cozine

Vianey Martinez has been baking her whole life. Growing up in a Nicaraguan and Mexican household in Daly City, she was raised on Latin comfort food, her mother teaching her how to cook tortillas, cookies and cakes from a young age. Over the years, she would become a medical assistant and a reproductive specialist for different areas of the health care industry, but she never stopped baking. This summer, Martinez decided to take her kitchen skills to the next level, getting her business license and starting up Filbert Avenue Baking Co. Since then, she’s stopped working in health care and started selling her goods at local coffee shops, community events and setting up outside her house, along with taking custom orders online. For more information, contact Martinez on her Filbert Avenue Baking Co. Facebook page, or on instagram @citygirlcountrycarbs.

Was there any specific inspiration that made you decide to start your own business?

When I was in health care, I’d always bake for a lot of friends. We relied a lot on treats and cake and carbs and caffeine, and so I started doing it more and more. You know that moment when everyone says “Do what makes you happy”? Well, this does make me happy, so I just decided, “What the hey,” I’m gonna give it a go at doing what makes me happy.

How do you operate right now?

It’s still very small right now. It’s just a tiny little home operation and I only very recently got the confidence to meander outside my front door. I’m at Blackbird Cafe on Mondays from 4-7 p.m. selling vegan, non-GMO tortillas, but that’s a very recent venture and they’re not sure if it’s going to be year-round. Right now it’s basically by appointment only. I take custom orders online [through social media] and deliver them.

What’s on the menu?

I’m still finishing the menu, but the things I can say are confidently on the menu are homemade tortillas, chewy chocolate chip cookies and an ode to my Mexican cookies I grew up with, galletas grageas—sugar cookies rolled in sprinkles, and made-to-order cakes.

Any sort of risks involved?

You have to be respectful with food. Your kitchen has to be a sacred space—you’re always running a real risk when you cook for people. I also never thought I’d be at this point where I would just literally leave something I loved so, so, so much in [health care], and change is scary. But leaving doesn’t always have to mean you weren’t happy, you just gotta grow.

What are future business plans?

I applied to the farmers’ market and I’m waiting to hear back, but the goal is to never stop doing this. If I got to a point where I could do this full-time, absolutely I would.