Born in Bristol in 1955, Martin grew up around good food- his father was a food importer, his mother a good cook, and a lifetime love of good food and wine began there with Somerset farmhouse cheddar & River Wye salmon from the local shop in Westbury-on-Trym, supplemented by annual family camping holidays around the regions of France.
Whilst still at school, Martin entered the restaurant world as a kitchen porter and commis chef for the Beaujolais Restaurant in Bristol, moving to their new Bath restaurant in 1973 as a full time cook with chef Philippe Wall.
After a stint at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, Martin moved to London in 1976 working at Justin de Blank’s ground-breaking traiteur, an Aladdin’s cave of good ingredients for the young cook.
As head chef of The English house in Chelsea, Martin became good friends with the legendary food writer Elizabeth David, who lived locally.
In 1981 he opened Le Caprice as head chef with Chris Corbin & Jeremy King, moving to L’ Escargot in Soho as head chef in 1982, with Nick Lander & Jancis Robinson.
Throughout the 1980s L’Escargot was the centre of the modern wine world in London, with tastings, wine lunches & dinners almost every week.
In 1992, when the opportunity came up to open a neighbourhood restaurant in Battersea, he chose the waterside site with a view to making it a restaurant that served the best food and wine from great producers in a comfortable, affordable, no-frills way.
In 2019, when food provenance and seasonality are buzz words for the modern chef, they had never been out of fashion with Martin. With numerous awards for food, wine & service, Ransome’s Dock was known to many as ‘the wine trade canteen’, often used for tastings and dinners by winemakers from around the world.
Ransome’s Dock closed after nearly 22 years on 11th August 2013.
Martin runs a consultancy [Martin Lam Food & Wine Services], on all aspects of food, wine and restaurants, as well as some teaching projects.