Your name, address and age and some background about you:
My name is Selvin Bracamonte. I’m 31 years old and I’m the head chef at Martha’s Kitchen & Bar in East Street, Brighton.
I have been cooking for the past 14 years including in the UK for five years. I started by chance when I was very young but quickly decided I liked the world of hospitality and decided to continue. I’ve travelled to many countries before settling down in Brighton – that journey helped me to discover my own style of cooking and transform it into a passion. I’ve participated in several cookery competitions alongside being invited to be a guest chef at a few events in the UK and overseas.
What is your restaurant called, where is it and when was it established?
We are Martha’s Kitchen & Bar, located at 36 East Street in the Lanes area of Brighton. We first opened our doors to the public on 10 July 2021.
Tell us about the food you serve
We have different menus through the day, starting early with breakfast and then brunch. From 5pm we serve our brand new dinner menu which is based on small plates. Our cuisine is very eclectic, taking inspiration from lots of different cultures and countries including Guatemala and Mexico. We add our own twist to the dishes but always take care to respect the basics of the original dish. People have really started noticing how different we are; we’ve had some amazing feedback already in the little time since we opened.
How many on your team and who are they?
I’ve got eight on my kitchen team including my amazing sous chef and chef de partie. Together we continue to develop new ideas and ways that we can twist the dishes.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Martha’s was established by three friends: Jimmy and Marina Botton, and Aysin Djmil. They came up with the idea to open up an eclectic bar-restaurant in Brighton. Like everywhere else in the past year or so, Brighton’s hospitality sector has been hit hard with many casualties. However Aysin, Jimmy and Marina took a leap of faith and decided to launch anyway.
Not being in the restaurant trade before, they wanted to put a team together who were passionate about their art and hungry for success. After rigorous interviews they came across me and saw that my culinary skills, personality and ambition was what they were looking for.
Equally, the rest of the team all bring their own personal qualities and experience to the venue. My sous chef Tony has excellent culinary knowledge and is always up for a new challenge. Our bar manager Callum is passionate about cocktails. And Gio – our pastry-trained chef extraordinaire – takes the lead on front-of-house as restaurant manager. Together we come up with some fantastic ideas that have proven to be a hit with guests.
How have you coped/adapted during the pandemic?
Before entering the restaurant world, co-owner Aysin ran community-based cafés in parks across the South East. As with all hospitality businesses, he had to close during the lockdown and unfortunately wasn’t eligible for grants or furlough. When the government announced that takeaway could resume, business picked up again but with many people still working from home its far from pre-pandemic levels.
What would you like to tell people about your business?
We have taken a bit of a gamble by bringing something completely different to Brighton, particularly with our eclectic evening menu. It only works because we have the right people involved in the project. All of us love what we do and are always keen to experiment with new ideas
What are your plans/hopes for the future?
Right now, I’m focused on getting the message of our menu and restaurant out to as many people as possible. Personally, I’m keen to develop the formula and keep exploring the wealth of gastronomic techniques to be found around the world. I find discovering new flavours really exciting!
Martha’s Kitchen & Bar is open daily from 9.30am to 10.30pm
36 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HL
01273 776557, www.marthaskitchenandbar.co.uk