Moira Beveridge’s culinary infatuation began when she was three years old on the island of Arran. Growing up, Beveridge and her family would travel from their home in Menlo Park, California to spend summers at this island in North Scotland where her family owned The Whiting Bay Hotel. The young, inquisitive Beveridge would often wander into the hotel’s busy kitchen to catch the behind-the-scenes action of Scottish chefs implementing classic French techniques.
When she was ten, Beveridge’s father’s business took the family from California to Killearn, a town outside Glasgow. Beveridge’s culinary horizons expanded as she became accustomed to eating blood pudding, haggis and toad-in-the-hole on a regular basis.
As a teenager, her family’s yearly travels led her across Europe, Africa and New Zealand. Her parent’s passion for food spurred them to spend hours touring the farmer’s markets with the family at each destination. The Beveridge clan would adapt to the local food and dining traditions wherever they went.
In 1999, Moira moved to the U.S. to continue her education. While attending University of Arizona, she took on her first restaurant job as a host and server at Skyline Country Club. Beveridge was hit by the drastic difference between the dining culture in the U.S. and abroad. She began to dream of opening her own Scottish-style restaurant one day so that she could attempt to recreate some of the soulful epicurean experiences of her youth.
Moira continued to share her ideas with her family. When her parents mentioned the possibility of attending culinary school, Moira knew it was a necessary next step. She enrolled in the California Culinary Academy and graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management in 2004.
After graduating, Beveridge dove deeper into the world of restaurant management. Her strong work ethic and deeply ingrained hospitality standards allowed her to shine as General Manager at Stoa Restaurant and Wine Bar in Palo Alto and subsequently as a server, host and bartender at Evvia Estiatoria, where she met her future Martins West business partner and husband, Michael Dotson.
In 2007, Moira went on to work as an event coordinator at Sens restaurant with Dotson in San Francisco. At Sens, Beveridge and Dotson had the opportunity to discuss their long-term career goals. Moira’s lifelong dream to own her own restaurant began to crystallize. There was no doubt in her mind that the concept must reflect her Scottish roots.
“After living and working in California, I began to appreciate the Scottish pub culture very deeply. There’s always a wonderful warmth, beautiful energy and a mysterious man in the corner looking down into his pint,” said Beveridge, “Martins West is inspired by this inimitable Scottish pub culture and the inviting atmosphere our family friend Martin Irons always created at his restaurant.”
Beveridge’s keen sense of atmosphere and eye for every detail of service has shaped the Martins West dining experience: an experience Beveridge hopes is one of the best to be found in the Bay Area, and the U.S.
An unwavering reverence for the freshest seasonal ingredients has been the common thread through Michael Dotson’s career as an Executive Chef. Dotson credits his apprenticeship with Master Chef Norbert Schultz at Brigitte’s in Santa Barbara, CA from 1991 to 1993 for laying the groundwork for his farm-to-table approach to cooking. While working with Shultz, Dotson connected directly with the purveyors of his ingredients for the first time.
“My passionate desire to buy locally goes back to the very early days of my career, when I would buy wild mushrooms from mountain biking foragers for Brigitte’s,” says Dotson. “I was blown away by the incomparable quality of the product. This experience helped me realize what a difference local, fresh ingredients make.”
In 1996, Dotson carried this appreciation for quality sources directly to his job as Executive Chef at PlumpJack Café in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, CA. Here Dotson walked the line between rustic and sophisticated styles earning his cuisine three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. In his 1999 review of PlumpJack Café, Michael Bauer labeled Dotson “one of the Bay Area’s brightest stars.”
During his time with PlumpJack, Dotson was able to take a seminal two-month sabbatical at several highly regarded restaurants in Italy and France, many of them with Michelin stars. In Europe, Dotson was hit by the largess of the outdoor markets, even in the most provincial towns. At Au Crocodile, the Michelin three star restaurant at which he apprenticed in Strasbourg, France; Dotson still reflects with wonder on the volume of farmers that would appear – wielding everything from a dozen fresh rabbits to pounds of parsnips – at the restaurant’s tiny back kitchen door each day. These experiences continue to have a great impact on the direction of Dotson’s cooking in the U.S.
Dotson eventually moved on to wine country where he worked as Executive Chef at Heirloom Restaurant until 2000 and as Chef and Proprietor of Heirloom Catering and Consulting until 2001. Throughout this period, Dotson’s cooking earned him national recognition in publications such as Wine Spectator and Food & Wine.
Dotson then returned to San Francisco to work at Kokkari before taking his talent to the Executive Chef position at Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto, CA in 2001. Here he enjoyed four years executing one of the best dining experiences in the South Bay and led the restaurant to a three star review in San Francisco magazine. At Evvia, Dotson also met Martins West future business partner and wife, Moira Beveridge.
Seeking to experience the unique energy of a New York kitchen, Dotson consulted for a year at Ammos and Kellari Taverna in Manhattan, yet he began to miss the abundant farmers markets of the Bay Area after about a year. In 2007, He accepted his next position as Executive Chef at Sens restaurant in San Francisco. At Sens, Michael cooked the Mediterranean genre of cuisine he loves most, but he was compelled to move even further forward to start a venture of his own.
At Martins West, Dotson carries the spark of passion that first ignited his culinary career along with over 20 years of experience in the industry into a refined yet casual dining concept with impeccable food that’s accessible to everyone. With the restaurant as his platform, Dotson is excited to delve further into the study of gastronomy, the relationship between culture and food.