There’s nothing more exciting than knowing you’re about to try the food of a well-traveled chef, and DYNE‘s Chef de Cuisine Julie Marteleira might just have one of the most stamped passports out there. Born in Toronto and raised just outside of Lisbon, Marteleira grew up with both a love of travel and a deep connection to the kitchen (her mother was a chef in Portugal). DYNE’s unique and taste bud-tantalizing Iberian-Asian influenced menu makes more sense when you consider the adventurous personality behind it. We caught up with Marteleira to find out more about DYNE, her adventures in food and travel and her favourite restaurant in the world.
You were born in Toronto and raised just outside of Lisbon where your mother worked as a chef. How did your upbringing shape your interest in food?
Growing up in Portugal was so formative for me. My family owned a restaurant where I spent all of my free time and I really got a feel for what it takes to make it in the culinary industry. I am so grateful for this experience. Hard work with an experimental approach were modelled for me while my mother was at the helm of her own restaurant. I was immediately attracted to the fast-paced atmosphere. Aside from the restaurant, I have always been exposed to great food from different cultures. I come from a family of amazing cooks and I don’t think I ever had a bad meal during my childhood. Everything was always prepared with fresh ingredients and most importantly, just enough salt! Sometimes, it makes all the difference. In my experience, natural and fresh ingredients are key. If it’s not fresh, it just won’t cut it. My love for seafood comes from there as it is so accessible and fresh.
You are quite the world traveler. What have been some of the most influential places you’ve visited, as far as your cooking goes?
I have been fortunate enough to travel to some major food-centric cities. Most influential would have to be San Sebastian and Barcelona, Spain and New York. I have been all over Spain but San Sebastian and Barcelona have so much to offer – I learned so much there. I like traveling to places where food is a way of life, where everyone knows their local chefs and restaurants and ingredients are praised by the locals, places that show a true passion and appreciation for food. New York remains a city of great restaurants which contrasts the relaxed Spanish influence. Although some of the best New York restaurants aren’t everyday pleasures for everyone, expectations are very high. I have never been disappointed with the spots I’ve dined at as they have always turned around one hell of a tasting or a la carte menu. Ambitious but unceremonious.
What restaurant in the world do you dream of returning to and why?
There are still so many that I want to visit but right now I can’t wait to go back to Asador Etxebarri in Spain. It was so pure and stripped down, the ingredients, technique and flavours spoke for themselves. Nothing extravagant, but, that was an incredible meal.
DYNE is a global Iberian-Asian influenced restaurant. How would you explain the unique fusion to someone who’s never been to DYNE and how did the idea for it come about?
The idea behind DYNE comes from the union of my background and Executive Chef Richard Andino’s Filipino heritage and our mutual love for Spanish cuisine. We often compare our food to Macau, which was once a Portuguese colony and has a unique blend of Iberian Asian cuisine. From the onset, we agreed that the food needed to speak of flavours.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
It is a thriving metropolis that is distinguished by its polite citizens with a Toronto look that appreciates a Toronto cuisine. We can immerse ourselves in any kind of community or scene and be valued and appreciated. The city has come a long way and it will just get better as it continues to progress.
What’s your drink and where do you get it?
Ketel One Dirty Martini! It’s hard to find a place that makes it just right. I have had a few good ones in the city, dbar at the Four Seasons makes it just right. At DYNE we have a DYNE Martini, which is a simple, perfectly made dirty martini and we put this drink on the menu because of yours truly. Other than Toronto, you can’t beat the gin & tonics from Spain. They treat it like an art. I had a beautiful one with rose petals, all spice, black peppercorns, lime and lemon verbena in it. I wasn’t aware that such a classic drink could take on a new identity. Delicious!
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
On the website you can look at current menus and general info about the restaurant, although we are launching a new and updated one in January. We are very active on our Facebook page. We post all events and daily happenings. I am always posting on Twitter and Instagram. There you can find our day to day fun pictures from the restaurant. I like instragram you can tell a whole story with a single picture.
Did our Q&A with DYNE Chef de Cuisine Julie Marteleira make your taste buds curious? Check out the unique vibe of Iberian-Asian influenced DYNE below to see what you shouldn’t be missing out on…