Accumulating four-stars and being named Chef of the Year (2010) by Chicago Tribune marked Anthony Martin’s first year as executive chef/partner at renowned Progressive French restaurant Tru. His presentations, described by Phil Vettel as “so visually stunning that it seems crude to disturb their perfection for something so prosaic as eating,” have caught Chicago’s restaurant-hungry eye, with flavor combinations further described by Vettel as “maddeningly subtle, driving over-analytical foodies to despair.”
Martin’s first and fondest memory of cooking was helping his great-grandmother and mother bake during the Christmas season in his native Ohio. Growing up, he often helped transform produce from the family garden into the Italian recipes of his family heritage, but with a penchant for drawing and painting, and after receiving several art scholarship offers, he poised himself to enroll in art school. The desire to cook was too strong, however, and at the crossroads he changed course and joined the Pennsylvania Culinary School in order to channel his innate creativity into a culinary career. After graduation, Martin landed his first professional kitchen job at the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland. Next, he headed south to Atlanta where he worked for chef Gunter Seegar at Seeger’s Restaurant, leaving four years later as sous chef. An opportunity to lend his skills to Alex Stratta’s opening team at Alex’s at the Wynn Resort and Casino presented itself, so Martin took to Las Vegas, and after the temporary position ended, he secured the executive sous chef position opening the celebrated restaurant Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand. Finally, in 2008, Martin brought his considerable experience to Chicago to work at Tru, where he has been running the kitchen since.
“My cooking philosophy is classical technique applied to recognizable ingredients in fun and pristine presentations,” says Martin, continuing, “What excites me most is taking seasonal items from the markets and finest purveyors and transforming them for diners in delicious and unexpected ways in the stunning dining room of Tru.”
When Martin is not in the kitchen, he enjoys life in the fast lane as a sports car and motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys the bold flavors of Asian cuisine.