Chef Juan Martinez visited locales around the globe — Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and China, among others — on a quest for worldwide flavors to bring to his culinary repertoire. Now heading up the three restaurants at the recently opened JW Marriott Austin, he’s sure to bring a global flair to his carefully curated cuisine.
Opened in February 2015, the 34-story JW Marriott Austin is the largest hotel in the city and the largest JW Marriott in North America. In addition to the buzz surrounding its culinary outposts, the property also garners attention for its LEED Silver certification and a 2-star Austin Energy Green Building rating.
The JW Marriott Austin’s three restaurants are destined to leave a mark on Austin’s hyped food scene. Osteria Pronto offers a twist on classic Italian made-from-scratch using fresh, local ingredients. Paying homage to its Texas location, Corner serves Lone Star-inspired cuisine — think grilled meats and fish — alongside local craft beers and unique tequila cocktails. The more casual Burger Bar has a walk-up, food truck-style window for outside service and serves freshly ground burgers, fries and shakes at lunchtime and early evening.
Martinez has long been part of the Marriott family as head chef and sous chef at several properties, including JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, JW Marriott Shanghai and Doral Golf Resort & Spa. His industry expertise was evidenced when he executed the largest outside plated dinner in Shanghai, serving more than 3,000 guests.
The JW Marriott Austin boasts more than 112,000 square feet of event space, with large groups including South by Southwest Festival, 4C Environmental Conference and Abila already choosing to host events at the property. Martinez and his team will also handle all the food and beverage needs for the property’s banquets, events and meetings.
What three go-to ingredients are always in your home kitchen?
Extra-virgin olive oil, butter and salt
What’s your favorite season for cooking, and why?
Spring — everything is reborn. Everything looks better and tastes better!
Aside from your current position, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
My time spent working in Southeast Asia
What’s the first meal you ever cooked?
It was duck confit during my first professional job as a cook in a French restaurant named La Grill.
What are your first thoughts when you hear “farm-to-table”?
A great chef should be supporting his local farms and suppliers because the product is premium, best and seasonal, not simply for the name “farm-to-table.”
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