Ryan Blanton, also known as Rya, is a pastry chef, avid foodie and owner of the local Sugar Snap Bakery, which focuses on using local and wholesome ingredients for its one-of-a-kind treats.

According to its website, whenever you taste Sugar Snap Bakery's cupcakes, you'll know it at first bite.

Blanton, originally from Chicago, grew up in Ahwatukee Foothills and attributes her love of food back to her mother's successful catering company in Chicago.

"I was baking at age 8, just in the kitchen with my parents," Blanton said. "I've always been able to see what it's like behind the scenes of creating food for events, but she dealt more with the food side and I was more into baking."

While out shopping one day in 2007, Blanton fainted and was later diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 20. She had to withdraw from school because she was soon hospitalized for several months. However, she never lost her sweet tooth.

"Because it's Type 1, I can eat sugar, I just have to monitor it and I have become more contentious of what I eat," Blanton said. "I didn't want to sacrifice my love for baking just because I had this illness."

This is where their wholesome ingredients come into play. The bakery focuses on using local, fresh produce whenever possible and they also use organic milk, raw sugar and real butter. Their belief is just because desserts are something you indulge in, doesn't mean they can't be made with nutritious ingredients.

Not only does Sugar Snap use wholesome ingredients for its products, it also keeps in mind a wide range of diseases and illnesses that can affect someone's diet.

"Secondary, I have a lot of people coming to me who have celiac disease so we focus a lot on gluten-free items," Blanton said. "We are also working on a sugar-free line."

Sugar Snap has only been online for two months, but Blanton has been in production for about a year, through catering and word of mouth.

"Someone asked me to bake something and everyone liked it, and then I started taking more business and it just snowballed from there," she said.

While Blanton never saw herself owning her own bakery, this small catering and online bakery has blossomed overnight and Sugar Snap is currently in the process of acquiring its own storefront.

Going along with its theme of staying local, it's using a grass roots initiative to acquire the funding for its desired storefront.

"We are trying to do a grass roots initiative; we think it's a good way to introduce ourselves to the community by doing our fundraising through social media," Blanton said. "Social media is a life saver for businesses."

Their vision is to have a cupcake bar, where customers can come in and go through an assembly-style line, like what you see at Chipotle, and build their own one-of-a-kind treat.

• Haley Buntrock is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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