|Born||11 April 1960|
|Cooking style||French cuisine with Baltic references|
Early life and career
His parents came from Latvia to England just after the World War II. Martin attended Thornbury Castle School where he excelled in Home Economics. Once he'd finished his education, he learned his craft through college training in Cheltenham and Cambridge. His cooking style is influenced by his half Russian half Latvian mother. He did a spell at the Strand Palace Hotel in London, a season in Switzerland and went on a Greek tycoon's yacht before settling down in a job at Lampwick's in Battersea, London.
Blunos's first restaurant as chef and owner was Lettonie (French for Latvia) in Bristol, which opened in 1988 with a Franco-British style of cooking with some Eastern European elements. He had opened it with his then girlfriend, Siân, who would later become his wife. He earned his first Michelin star there in 1989, and a second in 1991. He felt at the time that his fellow chefs didn't give him much credit, as he wasn't well known prior to winning the accolades from Michelin. In 1997 he moved Lettonie to larger premises in his home town of Bath where he was assisted by James Tanner. He subsequently felt that he didn't get enough out of the Lettonie "brand", as at the time he felt that he couldn't run more than a single location. The restaurant closed in 2001 as he felt that as a chef-proprietor, he couldn't devote enough time to his family. It was the birth of his daughter that prompted the decision and thought that the only thing that kept his marriage together was that his wife also worked at the restaurant. He opened a new restaurant called Blinis, and his two Michelin star rating followed him to the new premises. In September 2002, the owners, Sebastian and Philippa Hughes decided to close the restaurant. Blunos launched a court case for unfair dismissal.
Blunos cooked for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh whilst they were visiting Bath as part of the Golden Jubilee tour, in 2002. Following the closure of Lettonie, Blunos was kept busy for the next two years with television appearances and consultancy work for other restaurants. In 2004 Blunos took over as head chef of the Lygon Arms in Broadway, Worcestershire, gaining it a Michelin star and two AA Rosettes in 2005. His two-year contract at the Lygon Arms allowed him the freedom to appear on television and it was agreed that he wouldn't be required at the restaurant every day. He later became executive chef at Hurst House on the Marsh, Laugharne, West Wales, and was executive chef at the Reservoir in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham.
In 2010, Blunos became executive chef for Crown Hotels, owners of restaurants at Whitebrook and Celtic Manor. As part of his appearance at the Frome Cheese Show in September that year, Blunos developed what he hoped to be declared the world's most expensive cheese sandwich. It contained cheddar mixed with white truffles and sprinkled with edible gold dust, and cost £110.59. Crown subsequently began to manage the restaurant at The Parc hotel in Cardiff, owned by Thistle Hotels. The restaurant earned two AA Rosettes, but the partnership between Crown Hotels and Thistle Hotels ended in August 2011. The arrangement between Crown and Blunos ended in 2012 after catering was taken back in-house by Celtic Manor. Later that year, he was appointed as culinary director of the restaurants at the Hogarth Hotel in Dorridge, West Midlands. His appointment was part of a £4 million investment into the hotel by owners Helena and Andy Hogarth. He has also teamed up with the Devon-based Mad About Pies company, which launched a range of Martin Blunos Gastro Pub Pies to be stocked in Co-operative Food stores. It is part of an expansion by the company which looked to increase its production to 10,000 pies a week by the end of May 2012.
Blunos now concentrates on consultancy and television work. He is a regular contributing chef on Food Poker and a guest chef on Cooks. He is also associated with Great Food Live, Food Uncut, Saturday Kitchen, The Supersizers Eat... and Iron Chef UK. Prior to appearing on Iron Chef, Blunos watched some episodes of Iron Chef America but thought that the chefs on the British version were equal to their American counterparts. He was the first "Iron Chef" to be selected on the show and appeared in the opening episode. He also had his own show, Tasting Times with Martin Blunos.
Blunos sports a walrus moustache, which the media has stated makes him instantly recognisable. Although he once said that if he was ever to get a short hair cut that he'd remove it, as he was concerned it would leave him looking like a member of the Village People. Blunos lives in Bath with his wife Siân, his two sons Leon and Max and his daughter Coco.
His son Max is the drummer for the band Out Like A Lion, and formerly for progressive rock band Zilch. Out Like A Lion played Glastonbury 2010 for BBC introducing; supported Florence and the Machines, The Temper Trap and Example; and been selected for Radio One playlist by Chris Moyles. Blunos enjoys clay pigeon shooting in his spare time, and feels that it enables him to refresh after working in the kitchen. Martin is also a Bristol City F.C. fan.
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- Jessica Gunn (15 March 2005). "Michelin's ups and downs". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "A refreshing approach". this is Bristol. 23 August 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Kerstin Kühn (20 December 2010). "Martin Blunos joins Crown Hotels in Wales as executive chef". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "World record attempt for most expensive cheese sandwic". BBC News. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Manson, Emily (5 August 2011). "Martin Blunos and Crown part ways with Thistle in Cardiff". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- McComb, Richard (14 June 2012). "Michelin star chef Martin Blunos heads to West Midlands". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Celebrity chef joins pie firm as it looks to expand". Gloucestershire Echo. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Harmer, Janet (11 April 2016). "Chef Martin Blunos to join Bespoke Hotels at the Talbot Inn, Ripley". The Caterer. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Nightingale, Laura (17 August 2016). "The Talbot Inn reopens following £1m refurbishment". getSURREY. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Blunos, Martin. "Pork fillet with sautéed potatoes, Sao Jorge cheese and gherkin and dill sauce". BBC Food. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Gerard Gilbert (21 April 2010). "The hard men – and women – of cooking". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
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- Wollaston, Sam (27 April 2010). "Iron Chef UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Martin Blunos". Lifestyle Food. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Williams, Sally (22 December 2010). "Celebrity Chef Martin Blunos Boosts Wales Two Michelin Star Bid". Wales Online. Retrieved 14 October 2012.