Head Chef at Hipping Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale
Oli Martin, 28, originally from Lytham, has worked at the likes of Northcote, Blackburn and the Gilpin Hotel, Crook, as well as in France and as far afield as Sydney, Australia.
A love of food started at a young age for Oli, favourites included his Nan’s (famous) toad-in-the-hole. Though seemingly humble dishes played a part in Oli’s early food education they had a profound impact… Especially as he quickly progressed from licking out the bowl at home to working in an AA Rosetteed restaurant aged 14.
Oli puts his success down to the inspiration he received whilst working at Chicory, in Lytham, under head chef, Steven Shepherd, who clearly saw the potential in Oli, sending him off to work in France for a summer.
In the years that followed Oli quickly worked his way through the ranks, and by 2013 he landed the role of sous chef at Hipping Hall, where after a year behind the stoves, at the tender age of twenty-six, he was offered the job as head chef.
With eleven years’ experience behind him he took it all in his stride, quickly making the position his own and bringing his own food philosophy to life, in this acclaimed Northern bastion of culinary excellence.
Oli’s food repertoire draws on his classical training and progressive cuisine styles from both the USA and Spain. Add fresh local ingredients into the mix and you begin to get an understanding of the creativity displayed in Oli’s food, his passion and his natural ability to bring together flavour and texture and let them sing.
A lot of Oli’s menu choices stem from a focus on seasonality and local produce. Again, his childhood plays a significant part in this, after all he is immensely proud to have grown up in Lancashire, a county with a very distinct food heritage of its own, which in is turn bordered by counties renowned for producing the very best of British produce.
It’s unsurprising that he makes the most of this rich bounty, with Lancashire’s connection to the coast he is able to choose from some amazing fish and sea food including line caught bass and cod as well as locally caught crab and Morecambe Bay potted shrimps. The rolling pastures produce Bowland pork and Goosnargh duck and the high Pennines produce wild boar, venison and all manner of game, so it’s no surprise Oli’s dishes make full use of locally fished, farmed and grazed produce.
Oli quickly realised that by working with other like-minded businesses at other stages of the chain, that he could make full use of the incredible food culture in Lancashire and surrounding areas.