Santiago Gomez de la Fuente, Executive Chef, Cantina La Veinte
Cantina La Veinte’s Executive Chef, Santiago Gomez de la Fuente, is a talented young toque who offers a playful, yet sophisticated approach to traditional Mexican cuisine. His dishes reflect his passion for taking the rich offerings of Mexico’s agriculture and transforming them into contemporary masterpieces.
Born in Mexico City, Chef Santiago’s interest for cooking was sparked while he worked as a deliveryman for a local seafood distributor and often observed chefs at work. After graduating from the Centro Culinario Ambrosia in Mexico and Hofmann in Barcelona, Spain, he moved to Miami in 2008 to work for the fast-expanding NOBU brand. After a year at NOBU Miami, he returned home to Mexico to open NOBU Mexico City. From there he worked at additional concepts from Erawan to Sud777 before opening Cantina La Veinte. The success led to three additional openings in Mexico before moving the concept to Miami in July 2014.
In just a few months, Cantina La Veinte Miami has garnered national acclaim; the restaurant’s most recent feature in Travel + Leisure referred to the space as possibly one of the city’s most stunning new restaurants and dubbed Gomez as an “Ace young Mexican Chef.”
What are the staple ingredients in your pantry?
Corn, chili peppers and avocado.
If you had to pick one food item to best describe yourself, what would it be and why?
Chili peppers. We have an extense variety in Mexico . They not only add spice to the food, they also give a lot of flavor.
Other than your own, what’s your favorite restaurant in Miami right now?
Describe the Cantina La Veinte menu in three words.
True Mexican flavors.
After huge success in Mexico, why did you chose to come to Miami as your next restaurant location?
We wanted to export the concept and in Miami we found the perfect location.
What are your favorite and least favorite food trends right now?
My favorite is farm-to-table and my least favorite is pickling everything.
What is your favorite thing about living in Miami?
Tequila or Mezcal?
You’ll be participating at FLIPANY’s Chefs Up Front event on September 18th. Why did you decide to get involved and what can diners expect from you?
Its not just about cooking it’s about helping others through cooking. It’s a completely different culinary experience.