Chef Jeff Martinez’s culinary journey began at he young age of nine after writing a recipe for the ultimate hot dog. Years later after moving out of his parent’s house and looking for a way to pay his rent, Martinez became a dishwasher at a local restaurant.
Quickly moving onto prep work and sauté stations, Martinez took a short kitchen break, and headed west to Alaska to work in a salmon fishing lodge. Later hired as a personal chef in Maine, his culinary passion was reignited and brought him back to San Antonio where he worked at Biga, (now Biga on the Banks) with Bruce Auden and ultimately realized that he had found his calling.
Martinez headed to Austin, in hopes of landing a job at Jeffery’s, one of Austin's legendary restaurants. It was at Jeffrey's that Martinez met Carlos Rivero, the manager who would become his good friend and later business partner. As the duo began discussing ideas for a new restaurant, the concept for the beloved El Chile was born. Martinez was the genius behind El Chile’s most prized dish, Pescado Entortillado, a tortilla encrusted fish.
After five years at El Chile, Martinez left to work alongside Diana Kennedy at Fonda San Miguel, soaking in her techniques and teachings. Summers were spent at culinary courses in the Yucatan and Peru.
Today, Martinez can be found at Alcomar – A Latin Coastal Kitchen – along side co- executive Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas. There, the duo executes a constantly evolving menu featuring dishes, ingredients and flavors from Latin American’s coastlines.