Chef Claudine Martyn on the Slow Food Movement in Dallas and Rediscovering the Family Meal and Local Farmers

Categories: Interviews

Dallas native Claudine Martyn is the regional governor of Slow Food USA for Texas and Oklahoma. Per their website, "Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is part of a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members in over 150 countries, which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment."

It's actually even more than that, though. At the local level it involves knowing the farmer who grows your food. At the community level, it means interacting with your neighbors by sharing meals together. And at the household level, it means breaking bread at the table as a family.

If "locally grown" is the new marketing catchphrase for restaurants and stores, Slow Food is the old man that's been doing it for decades wondering why it took everyone so long to catch on. The local chapter is working to expand its presence and membership in Dallas. We sat down to chat with chef Martyn to learn a little more about her and Slow Food Dallas.

When did you first get interested in cooking?
When I was in college I became really interested in cooking. I got married when I was young, 18, and my husband and I went out to eat once a week. Every other meal we cooked. It took a while for me to learn to cook, but over time I became so enamored with it I decided to make a career change and I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. That was about 12 years ago.

Why Paris?
At the time there were only two cooking schools in the States I was interested in: either the CIA in San Francisco or Hyde Park. So, I looked into it and thought, well, if I'm going to go that far away, why not go to Paris? And it actually didn't cost any more. I thought I'd just be crazy to not go to Paris given the opportunity.

How long were you there?
The cooking program there is different. I finished my degree in a year because they let students take the programs simultaneously. So, I took the cuisine and the pastry at the same time. I was there 13 months total.

Did you stage afterwards?
Yes, then I went to the south of France to stage in Montpellier, and that was awesome.

When you got back to the States, what did you do?
I interviewed at the Inn at Little Washington, but it was just after 9/11, so it was sort of a tough time. I wound up at Highland Park Methodist Church ... for some time, and since then I've been with Central Market -- I'm currently at the Southlake store.

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