Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, Chris Martha started working in hospitality at an early age. He developed a passion for the business at age 14, when he scaled the ranks from dishwasher, bus boy, and line cook to waiter as a high schooler. He went on to earn a business degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Penn State University and studied abroad in Switzerland where he fell in love with food and its deeply rooted connection with family and culture. Throughout his career, he has worked in nearly all facets of the industry, from casual to fine dining, within both hotels and restaurants. With this foundational experience, Chris today also enjoys his own venture – Scout – an Atlanta restaurant just around the corner from his family’s home.
Chris’ career began with an internship with Hyatt Regency Resorts in Hilton Head, SC, which led to a permanent position at the hotel’s location in Beaver Creek, CO. Hyatt proved to be an excellent training ground, but his heart was in smaller, independent eateries. He moved to Atlanta during the tourism surge brought on by the 1996 Olympic games and spent seven years with Fifth Group Restaurants, including Atlanta favorites such as South City Kitchen, LaTavola and the Food Studio.
His extensive experience has helped Chris focus on driving operational efficiencies without compromising the overall experience and satisfaction of his guests, an attribute that serves him well. Chris is well-versed in the industry and heads Valor’s Food & Beverage company.