The Talbott Hotel Welcomes James Martin As Executive Chef
James Martin, a Washington, D.C. native who most recently led the kitchen at A10 in Hyde Park, has joined 20 East at The Talbott Hotel as executive chef.
Martin trained at some of the most vaunted restaurants in the nation's capital, Vidalia, Restaurant Nora and Bistro Bis, among them. He brings a seasonal sensibility to The Talbott's casual American restaurant at 20 E. Delaware St.
The 32-year-old finds inspiration in ingredients—he and his wife honeymooned in Spain, which sparked his love for the flavors of the Basque region—and from the world-traveling guests of the artful, intimate Gold Coast hotel.
"I've worked with amazing chefs and learned different cuisines so that I can develop my creative outlook and ultimately connect with people around the table. Our guests are coming from all over the world but no matter where they're from, whether they're staying at the hotel or not, I want them to feel happy here," says Martin.
Martin has worked in restaurants since he was 15. He was in it for the spending money back then. But having a babysitter who was a fantastic cook and spending summers in his father's hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, thick with fields of corn and soybeans, left an indelible mark.
After earning a culinary degree from the Art Institute of Washington, Martin joined Morrison House, a Mobil 4-Star hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, as lead cook. His next job at Vidalia, the Southern restaurant long considered one of D.C.'s best, introduced him to influential chef Jeffrey Buben and to a fellow cook from Chicago, which is how Martin ended up at North Pond in Chicago for a year.
Back east, after stints at the Four Seasons Washington, D.C., Jean-Georges in New York City and The Wine Kitchen in Maryland, Martin reunited with Buben as chef de cuisine of Buben's other restaurant, Bistro Bis. His appreciation for farm-to-table cooking grew during his time as executive chef of the iconic Restaurant Nora in D.C. After opening Pamplona, a Spanish restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, Martin and his wife moved back to Chicago in 2017.
Martin looks forward to introducing new menu items at 20 East later this summer. 20 East serves creative, unfussy American fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.