Edible Grills Patrice Martineau

From Bettini Restaurant and Roxana Bar at the Harbor View Hotel

Illustration by Richard Limber
Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Champagne region of France in a town called Troyes. We had a farm with vegetables, cows, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and eggs. As a kid I loved to drink warm milk right after the cow had been milked. 

 

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I come from a big family. I have four sisters, two brothers; I am a twin. My mother used to cook all day preparing classic French dishes. At 8 years old I decided I wanted to become a pastry chef. By the time I was 10, I realized I would rather be a chef who could still make pastry, but being a chef felt more creative.

 

What brought you to the U.S.? 

When I was a young chef in France, I was working for a celebrated three-star Michelin chef, and at 24 I decided I wanted to try the American dream. I wanted to go to New York. I did not even speak a word of English, and with a J-1 visa, I got a job working for Daniel Boulud at Cafe Boulud.

 

 What is the biggest surprise about Martha’s Vineyard?

I didn’t know much except hearing that the Island was very high-end. I had been going to Cape Cod for almost 20 years. Coming here, I could not believe the beauty of the Island. Every town is so unique. Up-Island reminds me of England. 

 

What excites you about cooking on Martha’s Vineyard?

The farms. I moved here in October, and had a chance to visit most of the farms. I had no idea how many interesting farms were on the Island.

 

 After a long day in the kitchen, what will you eat at home? 

Nothing! I eat all day at work; I taste everything we make. We need to keep everything consistent and delicious. 

 

Who was the biggest influence in your career?

Daniel Boulud. I worked for him for six years. He took me under his wing. He taught me what the hospitality business is, not just being a chef, so much more in terms of guests, moneymaking, payroll. He is my mentor.

 

What do you look forward to doing on your day off? 

I had very few days off when we opened, and it always poured rain. Now I am going to go to the beach in Aquinnah with my fiancée. We will bring a picnic, stop at Grey Barn for some cheese on the way. 

 

What foods do you miss most from France?

The variety of cheese. Cheese has become quite impressive here in this country, but I still miss some of the variety from France.

 

What is always in your fridge or pantry at home?

Nothing! [Laughter] I eat here at work. I guess I do have French butter, and I have to have Dijon mustard and Hellman’s mayonnaise.

 

Favorite dish from your mother?

Blanquette de Veau (a white veal stew with cream). She made it in a very classic way, and served it with rice and mushrooms.

 

Chef Daniel Boulud will be coming to the Vineyard, and featured at the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival: An Evening with Daniel Boulud, Patrice Martineau, and Krug Champagnes; Friday, Oct. 25; 7 – 10 pm. mvfoodandwine.com.