Pastry chef Edward Martinez leaving Enotria for Tyler Florence’s El Paseo

One of Sacramento’s most prominent pastry chefs is soon leaving Sacramento for a plum job in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pajo Bruich, executive chef of Enotria, tells “Appetizers” that Edward Martinez is leaving Enotria in early September to be become a pastry chef at El Paseo, the Mill Valley restaurant run by celebrity chef Tyler Florence and rocker Sammy Hagar. Martinez will join another former Sacramentan at El Paseo: executive chef Mike Ward, who previously worked as a sous chef at Enotria and The Kitchen.

Martinez continually wowed diners in the Sacramento area for his fusion of modernist dessert techniques and mastery of the fundamentals. His signature desserts included a sumptuous chocolate orb and nitrogen infused mousses, along with running Enotria’s much lauded bread program.

Martinez also has an especially unique backstory. He’s a former gangbanger from Fresno, who left his Fresno Bulldogs gang to enroll in a pastry making program and avoid state prison time. The Bee’s profile of Martinez was included in Da Capo’s “Best Food Writing 2012.”

Martinez came to Sacramento from Napa, where he worked at the Michelin-starred Bistro Jeanty. Before joining Enotria’s kitchen team in 2012, he served as pastry chef at Hawks in Granite Bay.

Martinez’s motives for leaving Sacramento area are primarily personal, said Bruich. A move to the Bay Area will bring Martinez closer to his family, and along with this prestigious new pastry chef gig, Bruich is happy for Martinez’s opportunity. Martinez himself has preferred to stay low-key about the move, and declined to comment.

“This is a great next step in his career,” said Bruich. “It’s been very taxing on him emotionally to be away from his family, and I’m excited for him that he’ll be in a situation where his family is close by. We all need that. In the Bay, he’ll do fantastic and I’m super supportive of him. I will continue to be a fan of his.”