Born in Nairobi in 1952, Martin attended Kenton College in Nairobi and secondary school at Fettes College in Edinburgh, Scotland, before studying for a Bsc in Hospitality Management at Surrey University in England.
He was a reasonable academic, although 'could do better ' kept on cropping up on his reports. However he did excel at sports: rugby, basketball,
swimming,squash and in a later life, surfing.
Despite having a job offer on graduation with Hilton hotels, he ended up joining Chris Seex, the founder at The Tamarind restaurant in Mombasa in 1975 as a restaurant manager and quickly rose through the ranks to shareholder, general manager, managing director and by 1990 executive chairman.
He and Chris set about growing the Tamarind Group by opening The Tamarind restaurant in Haile Selassie avenue in Nairobi 1977, The Carnivore in 1980, The Tamarind Dhow in 1985, followed by the innovative concept of Tamarind Village in 1991 in Mombasa, The Carnivore in Johannesburg in 1993 and The Golden Key Casino in 1996. Then came the Tamambo brand in 2001 in Westlands ,Tamambo Village Market in 2005 and Tamambo Karen in 2010. In 2014, Tamarind in town was closed and moved to Karen. The group's first hotel The Tamarind Tree is under construction at The Carnivore and will open in 2016.
Those are the success stories, inevitably there were other adventures in business during the interim that didn't work out: Tamarind Trout Farms, Tamfeeds, Thriftec,The Carnivore Cairo and Dormans Coffee shops were all experiments in business that were started and sold off at a loss after much heartache.
On a personal level Martin is married to Geraldine Dunford, and they have three talented sons, who have excelled in academics and sports. Jason and David became world class swimmers and represented Kenya at two Olympics, along with winning medals at The Commonwealth and All Africa Games. Jason was honored to be selected to carry the Kenya flag at the opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012. One of the proudest moments of his life as a dad. Robert captained his university at rugby and recently swam from Zanzibar to Tanzania, a distance of 31.8 kilometers.
Martin founded The Woodlands Trust, served as the Chairman of The Trust, The Chaine des Rotisseurs, The Nairobi Swimming Association, and Kenton College Board of Governors amongst others.
Martin is enthusiastic about life, business, sport. He has a huge amount of energy, will try anything at least once, and is interested in just about everything.