New Leaf Cafe’s Executive Chef Andrew Martin

New Leaf Cafe at Outlook Inn
New Leaf Cafe on Orcas Island

Nestled along the inner edge of Orcas Island’s 57-square-mile ‘horseshoe,’ Outlook Inn’s New Leaf Café has long been recognized as a culinary gem. The hotel and eatery can trace their roots back to the late 1800s, when the site was first opened as a general store of sorts. Both the hospitality and the culinary prowess has evolved (thankfully). The island’s jail is no longer located out back and dental services are no longer offered next to bulk staples, like rice and beans.

But the location is no less stunning. It’s set beside one of the two protected beaches at the island’s inner toe. Centrally located in the heart of Eastsound, it offers easy access to the Orcas Island Farmers’ Market, novelty shops, galleries, and more.

In keeping with the island’s sense of rustic charm, New Leaf Café is graced with warm wood accents and large windows that frame stunning views. Weather permitting, you can dine al fresco to the background music of gentle waves and the subtle scent of sea air.

Joining the staff in 2022, Executive Chef Andrew Martin has reinvigorated the café with elevated culinary classics that are both intriguing and approachable. His passion for locally sourced ingredients weaves throughout the seasons, highlighting the island’s bounty.

Get to know Chef Martin and what makes New Leaf Café so unique.

New Leaf Cafe Executive Chef Andrew Martin

Q&A with New Leaf Cafe’s Chef Andrew Martin 

Q: Where are you originally from and how long have you lived on Orcas Island?

I am originally from Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C. I moved fully to Orcas in the Spring of 2021, so this is my fourth season at New Leaf. My family and I absolutely loved visiting here. My wife, Amy, and I knew this is where we wanted the next phase of our lives to be after our son went off to college.

Q: How is cooking on Orcas Island different from cooking at the Ritz-Carlton Club Aspen Highlands in Colorado? 

Being in Aspen, and with the Ritz-Carlton, provided me with such a strong foundation to build my career from. The attention to detail, service, and quality of all aspects of that property gave me a base on which to grow my future techniques both in terms of food and of managing others. 

I would say that while I appreciated that atmosphere at the time, I try to provide a slightly “looser” environment. I don’t want my team to be scared to try new things and make mistakes. With the menu, the quality of the local products with the longer growing season in the Northwest allow us to work with a wider range of produce. Obviously, the freshness of our seafood and fish is second to none. 

New Leaf Cafe Chicken on Orcas Island

Q: Does your wife, Amy Nack, work with you in the kitchen or ever make a guest appearance on the menu?

Separation of Church and State! Amy and I worked together for many years, and at many properties, to start our careers. As we entered the phase where she would be taking the step to pastry chef, and I to executive chef, we felt it best to walk separate paths.

 Amy is brilliant with desserts, and all menu items, and I ask her advice all the time. But usually is limited to her ideas on a flavor pairing or item to complement a dish. 

Q: Italian techniques and methods are often utilized in your cuisine. Where did this background come from?

My first real experiences with  Italian cuisine came from my time at Pazzo Ristorante, in Portland Oregon. My chef had strong influences from working with Mario Batali. I appreciated the dishes most that were simple where the few ingredients used brought out the best in each other. 

Q: What island-sourced ingredients are you looking forward to most this year?

It is always going to be the local fish and seafood. The oysters and clams grown and harvested locally are always amazing. Buck Bay Shellfish Farm and Judd Cove Oysters provide the island with an amazing range of items to work with. 

New Leaf Cafe Worcestshire
New Leaf Cafe Steak
New Leaf Cafe Worcestshire 2

Q: Your house-made Worcestshire has earned quite the reputation. What inspired this recipe, how long did it take to develop, and where can we expect to see it on the menu this year?

Full disclosure: I put Worchestershire sauce on EVERYTHING at home! I use it in all of my marinades, ramen, braises, and shake it into sauteed vegetables. I’m sure the original recipe came from a book, or online. I did originally add more sugar to it, as the sauce was a little on the “bright” side for me. It has a million ingredients that really add to its complexity. It isn’t currently on our Spring menu, but is certain to make another appearance soon.

Fun Things To Do On Orcas Island