Name: Mauro Martina
Occupation: Chef and founder of OEB Breakfast Co.
Name/address/location of restaurant:
OEB Breakfast Co.
17757 N. Scottsdale Road #103
How long have you been in business? For the concept, we celebrated 10 years on Oct. 21 this past year. We opened our Scottsdale location this past November.
Briefly describe your business/services offered: OEB is an all-day breakfast and lunch restaurant, it’s a chef driven concept, where we make the ingredients shine. We put our farmers and growers first, by sourcing local, ethical and sustainable. This has been my personal belief from the beginning.
What made you choose this line of work and why is it important or interesting to you? I grew up in southern Italy. My grandparents used to have land and we used to grow many types of vegetables, citrus trees, grapes, figs, artichokes and so on. I remember the late summer harvest of tomatoes, where friends and family would come over to cook and jar tomatoes all day long, for us to have a great passata di pomodoro in the cold winter months. I remember helping my Nonna in late September with the harvest of grapes and us making mosto d’uva (grape juice) in order to make wine.
I recall sitting under a massive fig tree with my brother in the blazing heat of summer, picking and eating fresh figs, the picking of cactus pears and remember not wearing gloves. Going on a snail (escargot) hunt on a rainy day with my mom, this is when snails are most active. The vivid memories of the fresh baked breads and homemade pasta at Nonna’s house, the daily market shores of finding what’s best and freshest for that day, from vegetables to meat to poultry and fish. Fresh was all I knew; it was the norm.
You can tell that I was pretty much born to do this, I love every aspect of being a chef, I would not trade it for anything else.
At the end of the day, what brings you the most joy or is the most rewarding aspect of your job? To teach and inspire the next generation and this company’s employees to achieve better and more through hard work and dedication towards our craft. To never take anything for granted, to be thankful of one another and respectful to our patrons.
What separates you from your competition? OEB is the ultimate approach of farm to table. This has been the backbone of this company since we started in 2009. This is not just a buy and sell business, this is about the people that make this journey possible for us.
We go to great lengths to source and develop our own recipes, something, most fine dining restaurants may not do. I can’t think of too many breakfast places that have their own, butcher, micro green and hot house grower, baker, beekeeper, hog farmer and so on. It takes hard work and a constant reminder that we all can do better, and that it is important to eat sustainable, not only for us, but for future generations.
Why did you choose to locate your business in the area? Scottsdale feels like a second home to me, without the snow and cold weather of course we have up in Calgary during the winter month. It’s a vibrant city with amazing restaurants.
I felt an immediate connection when I visited for the first-time many years ago. It’s a place I can go to escape in order to recharge and re-think and get re-inspired. Arizona must be one of the most beautiful places on earth, just the drive from Phoenix to Jerome to Sedona is like no other I have ever experienced, I’m so jealous!
Where are you from? I was born in a small town called Copertino, near Lecce in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, but grew up in Munich, Germany.
Who was the biggest influence in your life? My parents and grandparents for the earlier years in my life. My Sous chef Phillip back in Germany during my apprentice years when I was becoming a chef. My mentor Jorg Reichert in Toronto, Canada. Reichert gave me the opportunity to do what I was born to do and to let me run a kitchen at the age of 21.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a chef or in the restaurant industry? Be ready to sacrifice, work hard, challenge yourself to be the best, never give up, always listen, we chefs always learn, we are not TV chefs, mentor others, stay true to who you are, love food, eat everything, try something new whenever possible, be nervous, cook at home, visit a farm, talk to a farmer, know where food comes from, visit restaurants, travel the world, learn cultures, remember that there is no “I” in team.