Three Courses With…Oli Martin
Oli Martin is the talented young head chef at three-AA-rosette Hipping Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale. He’s packed a lot of experience into his short career so far, working at some top kitchens in Britain, France and Australia before taking over the reins at Hipping Hall two years ago at the tender age of 26. We caught up with Oli for Three Courses…
What first got you into food and who were your early influences?
I was first attracted to food when I realised how versatile and creative it is. I’ve always been a creative person that enjoys finding out how things work and I love the way it’s always changing and evolving and how your style changes with the times. There will never be a day when you’ve learnt everything but you can always master your own style.
I took on board a lot of classical influence early on in my career and that subsequently changed more towards the modern in style. Big influences have been Steven Shepherd at Chicory in Lytham who introduced me to fine dining; Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen at Northcote who taught me about local links and Russell Plowman at Gilpin Lodge who showed me how a kitchen should be run. All of them taught me a great deal about cooking and how to further myself.
Tell us about the most memorable meal you’ve ever had.
The best meal I have eaten was at Tickets in Barcelona. The whole buzz of the place was something you just wouldn’t expect -- it wasn’t just a meal it was entertainment, an event. It taught me that food should be fun, playful and jest. I eat out a lot and it’s a great way to see what other people are doing. I think this meal taught me the most and of course the food was superb as well.
We’re sending you on an all-expenses paid trip to a restaurant of your choice anywhere in the world. Where are you going and why?
I would go to Alinea in Chicago. I’ve always admired Grant Achatz as a person as well as a chef. He’s the most forward-thinking person in the industry. I was lucky enough to go to his pop-up in Madrid and it just left me wanting to experience his restaurant first hand.