One of the chief reasons we’re so excited about Saturday is the chance to work with Rob Martin once again. Since helping to make our first two events successes, Rob has enjoyed stints at a.o.c (Copenhagen’s newest Michelin-starred restaurant), Fiskebaren, and will shortly join the team at Sorte Hest. We caught up with him earlier this week to hear his plans for Saturday and to talk food in general.
Whenever we meet Rob, Chris and I come away feeling inspired. His passion for food is so tangible it rubs off on you. It’s a passion that was inculcated at an early age, in a family that loved food and encouraged him to cook.
But while he continued to enjoy cooking as he grew up, it wasn’t until his early twenties that he considered it as a profession: “I got to university and I didn’t really feel it. I decided to try culinary school and that was the lightbulb moment for me.
“I stopped living the good life. I spent all my spare cash on cookbooks, I stopped going to gigs, I stopped seeing a lot of friends. I got serious.”
While his tutors at culinary school were keen for him to stay a while longer, after 16 months Rob’s feet were getting itchy and he travelled west to San Francisco to begin his career, landing a job at Rubicon where he worked under the legendary Drew Nierepont.
Restlessness, and a continuing hunger for new influences and inspiration, would become the hallmarks of Rob’s career, as he ventured first to London and Paris and then to New York where he spent time in the kitchens of Restaurant Danube and Daniel. San Francisco called again and it was while working at Frisson that Rob met the woman who would become his wife and lead him to Copenhagen, and the kitchens of both Noma and MR.
His wanderlust has given Rob an enviable set of influences, but he reserves special praise for Noma’s Rene Redzepi: “I have so much respect for his drive and enthusiasm. There’ve been people before him who’ve strived to only use seasonal, regional produce but nobody had ever done it in the Nordic region and nobody has done it with his flair.
“He’s put this region on the map pretty much single-handedly. I remember the first time going out foraging for Noma and it brought it all back to me why I had decided to be a chef.”
Describing his own style, the words Rob uses again and again are honesty and taste: “For me presentation is important, but it’s not everything. I want my food to look alive and inviting but there doesn’t need to be smears, gels and oils. Sometimes things get muted. I want people to be able taste the individual ingredients. Food should be tasty!”