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Under the Toque ~ Curry Martin

Curry Martin, owner and chef of a new culinary chapter of Aspen Grille in Myrtle Beach, says his style of cooking can be described – if one can put into words the artful practice of food preparation – as “driven by freshness and balanced flavors.”

But Martin admits that while he enjoys the creative outlet of cuisine, “My passion lies in the overall dining experience. We want people to come to Aspen Grille and feel comfortable and relaxed, and know that the next couple of hours are all about them – not necessarily my cooking ego.”

Martin and his wife, Jennifer, officially purchased Aspen Grille on June 15. “Our menu is the focus right now,” he says. “Because we’re coming into an existing business, we want to honor the current clientele and menu and not make wholesale changes, but we are slowly adapting the menu to our focus on the highest quality ingredients, prepared with care and balanced flavors. I also enjoy working on the wine list, making sure our wines stand up to the quality of the food on the table.”

Martin’s training in food and wine began upon graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Charleston in 1996 with his work in Noble’s Restaurants located in the Triad area of North Carolina. It’s where Martin learned to uphold the Noble’s mantra on absolute freshness, and “keeping flavors of foods as natural as possible,” he says. “Simple, yet the highest quality product available.”

In 1997, Martin left the Carolinas for California as a line cook for the restaurant at Domaine Chandon Winery in Napa Valley. He doubled his shift there by working mornings at Hudson House, the hospitality kitchen at Beringer Winery. “During my year stint in California, I came to appreciate the role of wine with food and the subtle changes we make as chefs that can really affect a wine’s characteristics,” says Martin.

After working again with Noble’s to assist in opening the flagship restaurant J. Basul Noble as sous chef, Martin traveled to France, where he staged with Restaurant Pierre Orsi in Lyon and Restaurant Michel Rostang in Paris. When he returned to the states, Martin next worked as a sous chef at Sonoma Bistro in Charlotte and with Prestige Wines as a fine wine salesman.

Today, Martin not only balances the flavors of his food at Aspen Grille, but life at work and at home with his two daughters. “I like to spend time with the family and enjoy being outdoors – on land or water,” he says.

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