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 CHEF DE CUISINE ALEXIS MARTINEZ:
It shouldn't be called a kitchen. It should be called a
February 2015 Issue / Vol. 3, No. 3                                                                                challenge, stadium, or pop quiz.

















 






   
      
Executive Chef
Ken Harvey
     
     
Certified Sommelier
Shaun Adams

      
February 2015
Chef's Larder

       
Kids in the Kitchen
Junior Leagues International


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Synopsis: Chef de Cuisine Alexis Martinez, Sheraton Downtown Denver, Colorado
Sometimes being 100 percent is not enough. And sometimes that’s good. It was for Alexis Martinez when he first came to Tucson from his home in Douglas, Arizona. “My goal was to play for the University of Arizona’s baseball team,” Martinez said. “In your hometown you’re the best. But if you’re not 110 percent, you’re not the best anymore.” Chef Alexis tore his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, which gave him enough of a handicap to not make the team. Bummed, he went back home to Douglas. Then a friend invited him back up to Tucson to stay over the Labor Day weekend. “My friend was working at Loews and said, Why don’t you apply for a job?,” Martinez recalled. “So I did.” The Flying V’s manager, Rock Saul, hired the 19-year-old Martinez as a busboy, and Martinez worked his way into the kitchen by asking to work there on his days off. Three years later he went to the Ventana Room, at the time, Arizona’s only five-star restaurant, as sous-chef under Master Chef Mark Ehrler. Ehrler, one of 75 master chefs in the world, came to Tucson from South Beach, Florida. Spiritual, into meditation and yoga, and quintessentially French in his cooking (simple, but not simplistic), Ehrler transformed just about everyone in the kitchen. He not only taught his staff remarkable cooking techniques, but he shared invaluable life skills. The experience has left the chefs gushing about him for years. Martinez worked under Ehrler for four-and-one-half years until the Ventana Room closed in 2009. Management asked him to consider returning to the Flying V as Chef de Cuisine. He got the title, but not without a little trepidation. And he has the confidence to pull off the extemporaneous ideas for which he’s famous. Martinez said he takes food to the edge, but keeps a tight enough reign so flavors and textures never get out of control.. “We get a little crazy,” Martinez said. “That’s how I inspire my staff. I ask them, What can we bring to the table that’s a little different? A little crazy? We want people to remember our food as something different. Something special.” Special enough to win him awards when he transferred to Loews Denver Hotel as executive chef. He won first place in Denver’s Best Chefs of the West competition in 2012 and a nomination for Best Chefs in America. Article includes a recipe for Santa Cruz Chili Chicken, featuring grilled chicken, marinated with Santa Cruz chili, chopped garlic, cilantro, sage and Negra Modelo beer