Q&A: Sandro Aguilera, 55 Fine Dining & Grill

Bangkok's 55 Fine Dining & Grill was just named "Best Restaurant in Thailand" by Lifestyle + Travel magazine readers. This is no small feat for 55, given that Bangkok is home to some of the world's best hotel restaurants; 55 is located on the 55th floor of the 505-room Centara Grand hotel, adjacent to the Bangkok Convention Centre.

The restaurant's menu is the work of chef de cuisine Sandro Aguilera, who cooked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Barcelona, Spain, prior to landing in Thailand. He is now focused on bringing French Mediterranean cuisine to Southeast Asian diners, and seafood is one of his specialities.

SeafoodSource spoke to Aguilera this week about his restaurant's accomplishment and his seafood inspirations.

Ray: Describe the vast selection of seafood on your menu.
Aguilera: I like to use as much [seafood] as the market makes available. I import [product] from Europe, Australia, Japan, Bali and even the United States. [Species include] turbot, Dover dole, John Dory, snow fish, blackcod, langoustines and oysters.

Which species native to Thailand do you menu?
Regularly I use local fresh tiger prawns, clams, mussels and yellowfin tuna.

What's the most popular seafood dish on your menu?
Here are examples of some of our favorite seafood dishes: Marinated Maine lobster salad, foie gras and avocado velvet snow fish, turbot seared in a copper pan and yellowfin tuna.

British Chef Richard Blanc has removed all non-sustainable seafood items from his menu and displays the Marine Stewardship Council logo. Would 55 follow his lead?
Sure, we all are responsible for the future of next generations.

Does working in Thailand present any creative challenges?
If one loves cooking, he will always find his way in any situation or circumstance, though one has to adapt. Of course, not everything is available locally and therefore you have to plan your menu according to what exists here or import some necessary ingredients you cannot find on the local market.

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