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Chef Profile: Ricky Martinez

by Rob Gaston, October 20th, 2016

I had never heard of Ricky Martinez until Delicia and the Northside Social started participating at the Taste of Indiana a few years back. Since then, Ricky has participated every year at Taste of Indiana, as well as our new Munch Madness event, and regularly appears in other local events and dinners.

Through his new business, 317rolls, Ricky recently donated a leather knife roll to our “Local’s Choice” award that took place at Taste of Indiana this year. I picked up the beautiful black leather bag from him and delivered it to Chef de Cuisine Dan Stackpoole from Madison Grill, a restaurant from Pendleton that won the award.

Ricky has been around the Indianapolis scene longer than I realize. Little did I know he was working in restaurants that I frequented over the years, such as Bravo, Abuelo’s, and Adobo Grill, where he worked with George Munoz, currently the owner of La Chinita Poblana.

Turns out that in his teen years, Ricky moved to Indianapolis from Mexico, where he grew up on a family estate that was also a farm. While he had friends here in town, it was clear from the beginning that Ricky intended to distinguish himself as a success with hard work and long hours. When he spoke fondly of the communal kitchens that were back on the family farm, where cooking was happening dusk to dawn for family as well as all the farm hands that worked there, it’s clear where he gets his inspiration for his dishes.

While Ricky is technically the executive chef over Lu Mulita, Northside Social, and Northside Kitchenette, most of the time you will find him at Delicia, where he has established a style of service and cuisine that he truly loves. In fact, if he ever decides to change things up, rather than go bigger he would probably opt for a more intimate dining experience in a smaller community where he could interact and get to know his guests on a more personal level.

For now, Ricky is happy to have Delicia as a second home, but has also started 317rolls, a handmade leather knife roll and apron business. Why leather knife rolls? As he was coming up in the industry, Ricky noticed the knife roll bag in which Neal Brown carried his tools-of-the-trade. While curious about this at first, Ricky realized that it showed a respect for the craft that mirrored his own strong work ethic and pride in a job well done. However sticker shock quickly set in as Martinez realized these bags quite regularly cost about $1000.

Unable to find knife rolls at a price he considered affordable, Ricky was able to figure out how to sell them for around $200 or even slightly less online. In addition to the aprons and rolls, you can also find knives and sharpeners on the site, offered for both the professional and home cook. If you travel with your knives, you should definitely keep them in a bag, and if you want to show respect for your tools, check out 317Rolls.