Born on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in Humboldt County, California, Marvin Martin grew up in Redding, surrounded by some of the most expansive olive ranchos in the vast and fertile Sacramento Valley. As an undergrad at UC Davis, Marvin’s passion for olive trees and olive oil was truly ignited while working part-time as a chef in the catering department of the Corti Brothers Fine Wine and Gourmet Foods Grocery of Sacramento. So, when Marvin graduated UC Davis in 1983, he moved to Sacramento to continue working with Corti full-time. “Darrell was an amazing teacher and a source for all things, food and wine.” says Marvin. “Working with him provided a rare opportunity to experience culinary delicacies and traditions from all over the world on a daily basis. And best of all, we shared a love of the art of great olive oil.”
After 4 years at Corti Brothers, Marvin headed west to make his home in the Napa Valley. Now a studied Chef, he spent much of the next few years exploring the olive orchards of northern California; meeting growers, producers and experts throughout the world. He also began what would become a 20-year tenure as a chef for Robert Mondavi Winery; working on a variety of private and public events in the US and Europe, including the culinary school known around the world as Great Chefs. It was at Great Chefs one year that Marvin met international best-selling novelist, Danielle Steel and her [then] husband John Traina. The Trainas quickly engaged Marvin as private family chef for them and their 9 young children. As a result, Marvin split his time between San Francisco and his home in Napa Valley for the next 20 years – continuing work as chef, educator and olive industry activist.
By the mid-90s, the California olive oil industry movement had begun to surge and Marvin returned to Napa Valley full-time. The California Olive Council (COOC) had been founded and the demand for new orchard development and production facilities was on the rise. As the number of California olive oil producers was increasing exponentially, Marvin Martin knew it was time to hang out his olive consulting shingle. So, in 1999, he founded Marvin Martin Olive Oils. He followed up by becoming a member of the COOC Tasting Panel, the only panel to certify extra virgin olive oil in the US at that time, and returned to UC Davis Extension to further his studies in the Advanced Olive Education and Marketing program. Later he served on the Board of the COOC. Marvin has been a Certified Master Oil Taster & Judge since 2000. He now is a master taster for the Applied Sesory Olive Oil Taste Panel. A globally recognized certification panel.