Roger Martinez as born in Barcelona, Spain. He attended in La Escuela Hosteleria de Girona from age 14, where Joan Roca was his primary mentor in the kitchen. During the 5 years of study under Roca, Roger did many stages in Roca’s Michelin 3-Star restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. He then worked in several other distinctive restaurants in Barcelona such as Port de la Selva, Bel-Air, Aparthotel Prisma before becoming part of the team of Ferran Adria in his second restaurant in Barcelona, Talaia Mar, where he worked for 5 ½ years to become the chef de cuisine. During this period (1995-2000) he also spent a considerable amount of time working directly with Ferran at il Bulli in Rosas.
When Carles Abellan, a protégé of Ferran opened his restaurant, Comerc 24, in Barcelona in 2001, Roger had the opportunity to join him as chef de cuisine and remained there for 3 1/2 years. The cuisine combined the styles of Ferran, Carles and Roger.
In October of 2005, Roger decided to open his own restaurant, La Mifanera, with his wife Marta where they specialized in rices from around the world. The restaurant received great acclaim internationally and Roger published his cookbook, La Cocina del Arroz. After 7 years they decided to change their lives and move to NY where Roger was offered a chef position with David Bouley in his Tasting Kitchen. He worked with Bouley for more than 2 ½ years, rotating between the Tasting Kitchen, the newly designed flagship restaurant on Duane Street and ran the private party space, Botanical as well.
When Donna was introduced to Roger, she knew she had found the chef she was looking for since the early days of il Buco; one who combined the rustic sensibility of Spain with the modern style of the Mediterranean kitchen that has been the hallmark of her restaurants on Bond Street and Great Jones.