Chef’s Corner: Julian Martinez

26-Year-Old Behind Barbareño Discusses His Santa Maria BBQ Dish

Julian Martinez
Paul Wellman

Tenure: Cofounded the downtown but off-State Street restaurant in the fall of 2014.

Résumé: Since starting his career under the direction of Kim Schiffer at the Santa Barbara Club, Martinez worked at Napa notables The French Laundry and The Thomas, Wexler’s in San Francisco, and Doc’s of the Bay in Oakland.

Dish he digs: Santa Maria BBQ, which features red-oak-roasted tri-tip, pico de gallo, and pinquito beans. “The term Barbareño really defines Santa Barbara,” he said. “Simple and straightforward, the beans are only grown in Lompoc, and we smoke on local red oak, then cook overnight for 12 hours. ”

The scoop: At the ripe age of 26, Martinez is already running his modern but rustic restaurant. Taking cues from the landscape around him, Martinez forages for native plants such as wood sorrel, bay leaf, and acorns. He also supports hometown purveyors like Winfield Farm, which raises heritage-breed Mangalitsa pigs, known for their fatty, marbled meat. He’s able to incorporate Chumash traditions into dishes like oak tagliatelle and grilled chicken, but with a modern spin. “I am inspired by things people know,” said Martinez. “I want to reinterpret traditional dishes and elevate them.” 205 W. Canon Perdido St., (805) 963-9591,


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