Chef's Spotlight: Dan Lamb, Executive Chef, Marty's Market
The heart of Pittsburgh's historic Strip District may be Penn Avenue, but, tucked away on nearby Smallman Street lies a hidden gem – Marty's Market. The unconventional establishment is part market and part café, offering a delicious mix of high-quality organic and locally-grown foods.
Marty's Market has been featured on numerous "best of" lists, including The Pittsburgh Sun-Times' "Top 7 Coffee Shops" and Pittsburgh Magazine‘s "10 Best Lunch Spots that Won’t Bust Your Budget."
A little over six months ago, Marty's Market hired executive chef and Pittsburgh native Dan Lamb. The former Franktuary kitchen manager has developed a new menu for Marty's that is sure to please vegetarians and carnivores alike, adding his unique spin to classic comfort foods. Examples include short-rib pierogis, pumpkin beercakes and pork-belly Cuban sandwiches, all sure to delight those seeking unique flavors.
When did you start cooking?
I started cooking professionally about 15 years ago. I was in restaurant management and a friend asked me if I could help out a few hours a week in the kitchen for his restaurant. I had zero experience cooking, but loved the atmosphere and wanted to learn as much as I could. Who was your mentor?
I've had the fortunate opportunity to work under many great chefs and learned many things from them, but my mother probably had the biggest impact in my profession. I always loved helping her out in the kitchen growing up. What are you known for?
Keeping food clean and simple. I like to let ingredients speak for themselves. Organic meats and produce pack so much flavor it sometimes makes my job easy.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I work in an open kitchen, I love seeing the reaction on customers' faces when they first take a bite out of something that we have created. What is your favorite fish to work with? Why?
Any "meaty" fish. Tuna, swordfish, marlin... they are very versatile. You can broil them, grill them, sauté them or serve them raw. There are many different ways to bring out different flavors of the fish. What do you do for fun? Share a day off for us.
I usually try to make the most of my time off. We all work different hours from the normal Monday through Friday 9-5er, so I like to visit family members that I normally don't get the chance to see regularly. Why do you work with Land & Sea?
Their customer service is one of the best that I've ever dealt with. Three things always in your refrigerator/pantry at home?
Sriracha, sushi rice, and tortilla shells. Favorite book, movie and TV show?
The Odyssey, The Godfather and Entourage. How do you want to be remembered?
As a hard working, loyal and trust worthy individual. Both in and outside of the kitchen. What is your favorite/signature dish?
Chicken and waffle sandwich - fried chicken thighs with a cornmeal waffle, hot honey, creamy coleslaw and maple syrup Any ingredients you won’t work with?
Frozen vegetables. Favorite/best part of the Pittsburgh?
I love that Pittsburgh is a smaller, more condensed city. In this industry it seems like everyone knows everyone and is one big family. If you could cook for anybody in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Probably my grandmother. I was too young to know any other of my grandparents before they passed. We had a great relationship, and I would've loved cooking for her.