Chef Jose Marty
Executive Chef/Director of Catering Celebration Farms
Food is art for this award-winning chef who enjoys global influences.
It’s hard enough to master the perfect meal. Now imagine that 200 times. That’s the life of Executive Chef and Director of Catering Jose Marty of Celebrations Farm in Bluemont, VA. Chef Jose is a prestigious graduate of the New England Culinary Institute with nearly 25 years in the restaurant and catering industries. And this is a chef who’s serious about his guilty pleasure snack!
What is your guilty pleasure snack?
Seared Terrine de Foie Gras with Black Truffles with a glass of 2015 Sauterne. “In general I do not eat fatty foods, but if I am going to throw caution to the wind, this would be it.”
What was your favorite meal growing up?
Bacalaitos or Puerto Rican salt cod fritters. “Just the smell of salt cod transports me to 1979 in my grandmother’s kitchen. If I close my eyes and take a slow, deep breath, I swear I can still taste them. They are magical disks of yumminess!”
What’s the one condiment you can’t live without?
GARLIC – “I could literally eat garlic every day. Garlic is not only central to so many cuisines, but it possesses many health benefits as well.”
Food is Art for Chef Jose
With nearly 25 years in the culinary world, Chef Jose describes himself as “a career changer that could not envision making a living being a studio artist.”
“My passion for food & flavors along with my need to be creative, made my transition into the culinary world natural and easy,” says Chef Jose. During his education at the New England Culinary Institute, Chef Jose took top prize in the NECI “blind basket” competition, received the Chef’s Award in pastries, and represented NECI at the Anthony Spinazzola Benefit in Boston, MA. Upon graduation, he landed a job with Executive Chef Cathal Armstrong of the nationally acclaimed Vidalia Restaurant in Washington DC. After later working as a Sous Chef for Susan Gage Caterers, Chef Jose joined Celebrations Hospitality in 1999. He and his culinary team are responsible for special events catering at Celebrations Farm’s historic Whitehall Mansion.
Creating Culinary for a Crowd
There is a world of difference between being an executive chef in a fine dining restaurant and providing quality food for a banquet. For example, “In catering, the actual cooking differs greatly,” explains Chef Jose. “It’s a two-step process vs. cooking and serving a meal right away. In a restaurant, the kitchen staff cooks a few dishes at a time. In catering, we execute hundreds of dishes in a very short amount of time. This is where artistry meets the tactical precision of a seasoned Navy Seal Team.
But there are also important similarities between the two culinary worlds. “The menu planning process, the sourcing of ingredients, obsessive attention to detail, the expectation of serving quality flavorful food and the pressure to exceed the guest’s expectations,” are still the same notes Chef.
Catered events are also experiencing an infusion of locally sourced ingredients in their menus. “We work with purveyors that get local produce as often as possible,” says Chef Jose. “I am glad to see that the amount and variety of local produce have steadily increased. One of my favorite artisans is Doug Aylestock of Blue Ridge Meats of Front Royal. They make fantastic venison jerky and an amazing curry lamb sausage.”
The Joys and Challenges of Being a Chef
Cooking attracts creative individuals. “Being a Chef allows me to combine some of my biggest passions in life – food, creating & sharing experiences with people. Opening people’s palates and minds to new and different flavors or cuisines makes me happy.”
But the career is not without its challenges – especially in the event catering environment. “The most challenging aspect is to provide a superior fresh food experience in the off-premise catering environment,” continues Chef Jose. “Most of the time we are cooking out of make-shift kitchens or in fields with no electricity or running water. We must be self-sufficient and extremely coordinated in our approach. The planning & logistics increases tenfold. The hours in catering are longer due to the set-up, clean-up and travel times.”
A Little About Celebrations Farm
Celebrations Farm is an agri-tourism and cultural center located just off Route 7 in Bluemont, VA. Located on 50 acres with gorgeous Blue Ridge views, Celebrations Farm will host the final event in the Root to Table Culinary Series on October 11th, 2020.
“We are very excited about this next chapter that will begin in late fall. Celebrations Farm will be home to Sapphire Vineyards and a new tasting room. We have the opportunity to make our ‘mark” by combining a curated wine tasting experience with a unique ability to produce fresh foods using the highest quality ingredients.”