Natasha Brao ’22 on combining her passion for food, design and entrepreneurship

headshot of a student

Creativity has always been something that came easy for Natasha Brao, a senior from Los Angeles studying communications design in VPA with a minor in IDS. She says, “I’ve been a dancer my whole life ever since I was three. It was my number one passion, but I also loved to be creative in the kitchen and in art as well.” Additionally, she says that through her passions she was able to get very comfortable with being creative and not being afraid of putting it her own way.

As she entered her senior year of high school, Brao began to find a distinct love of graphic design in her AP Art class, particularly digital art. When it came to applying to colleges, she considered 24 schools before finally settling on Syracuse University. “I loved the combination of sports and college vibe with art school vibe. It was exactly the place I was looking for.”

After her freshman year of college, she encountered a life-changing moment. “Right after freshman year I was feeling overwhelmed and depressed. I needed a refresher, so I went to Israel for three weeks. It was truly amazing.” Brao specifically mentions how the food culture in Israel was something she really resonated with. She says, “Israeli food is all about coming together and sharing and enjoying food with one another. I wanted to find a way to bring this experience back home.”

Because of this realization, she started creating her own Shakshuka, an Israeli breakfast food that typically contains a variety of spices, poached eggs, tomatoes and other ingredients. Brao felt that a food truck with made-to-order Shakshuka would be a great way to share her Israeli culinary experience in an entrepreneurial way. As a design student, she spent all of her junior year creating a holistic view of the brand and came up with the Holy Egg! As she came into her senior year, she was trying to explore how to turn this idea into a business. Although Communications Design students are taught the practices of target audience research, brand positioning and other marketing strategies, she felt it was important to seek help with the logistics and financial aspects of things.

“My friend Kelly Davis brought me to the LaunchPad after one of my IDS classes and I met a wonderful community filled with the resources I needed to jumpstart my business.” Brao has competed in two pitch competitions, experiences that she says really pushed her to be the entrepreneur she is today.

If you ever have tasted Holy Egg! you know how delicious it is. Now Brao is looking to expedite the logistics and work on product development.

If you are passionate about food and Holy Egg! and are experienced in finance or supply chain reach out to

Story by Jack Lyons ‘22, LaunchPad Global Fellow; photos and graphics supplied