Address and phone: 2545 E. Broadway, 305-4760
Meet Todd Martin, chef and owner of Tucson Tamale Co. The 50-year–old Martin is a self-taught chef who realized he had a passion for cooking when he was in the seventh grade.
The Denver native was chef for Union Station restaurant as well as Love Kitchen catering company in Colorado for three years in the 1980s. Martin moved to Tucson 13 years ago, but changed his career path – taking over as a director of technical support for a computer software company.
Realizing his true love would always be food, Martin opened Tucson Tamale Co., just before Thanksgiving. His goal is to change the way people in Tucson thought about tamales.
“I love tamales, I always have,” he says. “I realized there’s only two kinds of tamales and I wanted something different.”
Flavors of Spain, Italy and Mexico influence his tamal creations. Martin says his mission is to sustain, simplify and celebrate the food ecosystem.
“We look for the best products out there,” he says. “We want the best foods. We want fresh, organic, local products.
“It’s a goal.”
What’s your favorite restaurant in Tucson?
Feast. I really like the way chef-owner Doug Levy rotates the menu. He does great things.
What’s your favorite dish to prepare and why?
My smoked barbecue ribs. It takes me half a day to make them – so I can’t make them every day – but when I do, they’re outstanding.
What’s your favorite dish to eat and why?
A grilled rib-eye with pan-roasted sweet peppers – because I love beef. I try to eat very little of it, so when I do I want it to be a good piece of meat.
What’s unique about the Tucson restaurant scene compared to other cities?
It feels like a tighter bond among the restaurant tourists here. I’ve already had five restaurant owners come in since I opened. To me, that feels very supportive.
What’s your favorite or most used kitchen utensil?
Well, my knife.
What do you always have in your refrigerator at home?
Cheese – lots of different cheeses – and beer.
Why are you a chef?
When you fall in love, that’s what it’s like to cook. It’s my nonhuman love, not that it would ever replace my wife, but it’s love.
Tucson Tamale Co.
2545 E. Broadway, 305-4760