In addition to the interview below, David will be writing an exclusive article for Foodbeat every week with behind-the-scenes secrets and inside details of his journey on Masterchef. Be sure to check back every Wednesday for David’s news and views on each episode – information you can only find on Foodbeat.com!
FoodBeat: What’s your culinary history? How did you get into cooking?
David Martinez: I had a really weird journey into cooking. I started skipping school so I could stay at home and cook for my friends. I would try what I saw on television and my passion blossomed from there. I was 7 years old and mixing flavor profiles. At 14 I made my first quiche. In my teenage years I was the grill master. It was in college that my cooking really grew because it was the first time I had to make all of my meals. My parents moved so there was no place I could go for home cooked meals. I started spending holidays at school and I would cook huge dinners for my friends.
I’ve paid a lot of attention to my schooling. I had a really rough youth and my parents never thought I would make it through. Just look at me now though- I’m working on my PHD and I’m on MasterChef!
FoodBeat: Congratulations! That’s not an easy task. How did you end up finding out about the show?
David Martinez: I love food. I’m a huge foodie. I watched season 1 and 2 with my wife and I was saying that I could do it. My wife applied for me! I’m very grateful to her because she is always pushing me to be the most I can be. I am a very ambitious person and she brings out the best in me. Because of my rough upbringing I lack self confidence. She pushes me over the edge and we rock the world together. We’ve been married 4 years and they’ve just flown by. So yeah, I’m on the show because she believed in me.
FoodBeat: What was the audition experience like? Was it nerve wracking meeting the judges?
David Martinez: It was super awesome! People have a fear of individuals who are more aggressive and more accomplished than they are. It’s totally natural. I was very nervous at first. I work with a lot of professional cats in my career so I knew what they wanted. What they need you to be is 100% honest with yourself so they can push you to greatness. My fear turned to acceptance, and then it turned to joy and elation. While the application was long and arduous, it turned into an amazing experience.
FoodBeat: What has been the most challenging part of the show so far?
David Martinez: The biggest challenge was getting over my own fear and lack of self confidence. Letting go and trusting my skill was a big stepping stone for me. The show has made me grow as a person and I am much more confident now.
FoodBeat: If you could work with one person on the show, who would it be and why?
David Martinez: Frank! He has a way to calm me down and put me in a solid direction. David Mack was also great. He could sensor me and back me down from going out of control. Christine and Tanya have the best palates. If we could all work together in a restaurant it would be super cool.
FoodBeat: Anyone you wouldn’t want to work with?
David Martinez: Tali Clavijo only because we have very different cooking styles. He has a lot of modern techniques while I keep things very rustic. Our styles just don’t mix well. My style of cooking is very bare boned. I use only 2 or 3 ingredients and he is very complex.
FoodBeat: If you had to give this season a label, what would it be?
David Martinez: I’d call it AWESOME! It’s such a great experience. I’m not a religious person but I feel blessed for this opportunity. I would have never thought someone like me could do something like this. The type of person I was at 14 could never consider accomplishing something this great.
FoodBeat: Anything else you want our readers to know?
David Martinez: I want people to know they need to be confident about food. We need to get back to eating seasonally and not eat crap. We need sustenance rather than mediocre things. People should be experiencing their food. The best times of our lives all surround food- birthdays and holidays with family. My fondest memories from being on MasterChef were just eating with the contestants back at the hotel. Anyone can do what we do. If you are willing to learn, then let’s do it!
Also, I want people to know I would love to talk to them. I’m super accessible. I always try to answer every message I get. Reach out to me and let’s chat. I’m just some dude who was blessed with this opportunity. Check out my twitter at MC3David and my website fromfiretotable.com.