Our interview in July is with Gonzalo Landín, Executive Chef of the Spanish restaurant ¨Binomio¨.
- Hola Gonzalo, could you please introduce yourself?
Hola, I´m Gonzalo Landin, I’m 38 years old I came from an Andalusian town called Almeria by the Mediterranean Sea.
After graduating in Le cordon Bleu of London I spent a good 6 years there and another 1 in New York before coming to Singapore which has been my home for the last 6 years
- As Chef of the Spanish restaurant BINOMIO (20 Craig Rd, Singapore), how do you describe your overall cooking philosophy and the style of food we can find at Binomio?
Food for everyone basically, I wanted to keep it real and as close as possible to what you can find in the streets of Spain but with some modern elements too. My background in restaurants, I worked before in restaurants such as El Celler de Can Roca or Dinner by Heston Blumenthal allowed me to fusion traditional and some twists in many dishes that add on into the experience. But I never forget the roots that make Spanish food so special.
- Can you explain the meaning of “Binomio” and why do you call your restaurant like that?
Binomial … basically we have two menus and two concepts in the restaurant.
One dining room where tapas are more elaborated is perfect for special occasions business meetings or just a casual experience with friends
A bar with open big windows here you can just have more traditional and simple classic tapas and more affordable prices.
To add on we believe the key to success is also a good binomial between service and back of the house ( kitchen ).
- Spain is a country of great chefs. What chefs do you follow on social media or admire their work and career in general?
The Roca brothers who put in the map a small town like Girona as Ferran Adria did too.
Jose Andres who brought Spain into Washington and expanded so fast around the world nowadays and at the same time making a better world with his humanity aids in many places in need as he is recently doing in Ukraine going himself to feed these people.
- In your restaurant you have not only foreign customers, but many Singaporean customers. What is the image that Singaporeans have of Spanish gastronomy?
Basically tapas. They hear Spanish and have to come with tapas. For me coming from southern Spain and seeing how the tapas concept that has origin in Granada and Almeria has such a big repercussion is something to be proud of even though the concept has nothing to do abroad as it is. Tapas in southern Spain is a small side dish you have after ordering your beer or wine at no cost and anywhere else it’s just a small dish to share.
- Spain is recognized worldwide for the quality of its food products, such as olive oil, wine, cheese, Iberian ham, etc. What advice would you give to Spanish producers of these products to export them to Asia?
I think we have very good products and lots of potentials but at the same time, I think we haven’t been as good at making them popular worldwide.
We are well known nowadays but also let’s not forget that our neighbors like France or Italy have decades of advantage in marketing and promoting themselves.
Maybe due to the historical situation since Spain remained a bit more isolated after World War II since it was the only western European power under a dictatorial regime so it’s up to the current and new generations to keep doing a good job to make us even more worldwide recognized.
- What trends are you noticing regarding wine and food pairings?
Finally, people is starting to forget about the old cliches of red wine for meat and white wine for seafood … it’s not always the case.
It’s also nice to see how people from here start to understand that red wine is not that good paring for Spanish ham but a good sherry instead.
- What role do you think Spanish restaurants abroad can play to promote the image and brand of Spain as global ambassadors of Spanish cuisine?
My modest opinion, we need to break with the Spanish idea of just flamenco, bullfighting and paella. We have much more to offer and it’s up to us to show what we are. At the end of the day, we are the Ambassadors of our homeland.
- For those readers who haven’t been so far to your restaurant, what dish recommendations would you give them for their first visit?
Come hungry enough. We have a huge menu and so many things to try.
- And when you are not in your restaurant, what other activities do you like to do in your free time in Singapore?
I love to read about history or astronomy mainly so my favorite spot in Singapore is a Kinokuniya.
I enjoy the local food too so always happy to dine in any food court in Singapore. I also run next door to Binomio a lounge bar and I DJ there at night from time to time.
Gracias Gonzalo !
For more information: https://www.binomio.sg/