Interview with Carlos Serrano Chef and CoOwner of The Fish Market

Editorial Food & Drink Interviews Lifestyle

The Fish Market a restaurant in Casco Antiguo, serving up street food with a twist. The rotating blackboard menu of fresh seafood fuses flavours of Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean and might include fish gyros, gazpacho with prawns, thai green fish curry, Vietnamese sandwiches, furikake tuna steaks. We have a pleasure to interview chef Carlos Serrano and dig in to The Fish Market kitchen. Enjoy the interview with this great Chef!

Why did you decide to become a chef? What other positions from the back of the house have you previously occupied?
Since I was very little I have been motivated by the food and cooking; my grandfather travelled a lot for work to Africa, Asia, Mexico, Europe and always brought new spices. He and his wife are great cooking enthusiast; never eaten "normal". One day sweetbreads curry another a fish in the green sauce! At 8 years old I made my own birthday cake and it was something easy for me; since that day I felt a passion for this wonderful profession and I have always dedicated myself to the kitchen I have not occupied another position.

Did you go to culinary school? Where and how did you train?
Yes, I studied cooking in Venezuela in one of the few schools that were known at the time. I was 18 years old but my training in the kitchen started much earlier! I worked after classes in an Italian restaurant where my grandfather spend a lot of time. I always asked Him to take me there and ask if they could teach me how they do different kinds of pasta. And that's how it all started! I have passed through all the different areas of the kitchen and it didn’t matter that I was only 12 years old at that time.

Do you have a sense of humour?
Of course, my sense of humour is of a good dark colour but still intelligent hahaha

Describe the relationship between the operations of The Fish Market and those of your house.
They are very similar only that in my house I do not cook hahaha; Everyone knows that already that know that at the home of a blacksmith you will find a wooden knife.

Is there a chef that you admire more? Who and why?
The chef that I admire most was Paul Bocuse! I knew about him since I was 16 years old. It was always an inspiration to read his recipes, his massive contribution to the world of gastronomy was! 

What is your favourite cuisine? How many different types of kitchens are they capable of producing?
I like the cuisine of Southeast Asia. I like how the flavours change and it brings out different emotions though taste to my palate! I consider myself a very dedicated and technical plural cook so I think I can work with any type of cuisine but always investigated first.

What is your favourite food to cook? Peruvian cuisine

If you were asked to reduce fat and sodium in a menu, what would you do to maintain the taste in the quality of the dish?
That depends on what we would be cooking but there is nothing that spices a smoked and some citrus skins cannot solve.
What do you do to keep up to date on new trends? Describe two or three of the most interesting trends in the industry.
I buy many books and I read many chef blogs that have contributed a lot to the development of our new techniques and new technologies processes I also keep constantly evolving with my kitchen and work team. We are currently coming from a decade where everything was avant-garde cuisine and "molecular" cuisine is now being returning more to the root to the ancestral to the natural processes used by our ancestors. For me makes more sense to stay real and with that, I identify myself to still be vanguard but also original

How is the quality of its ingredients tested?
For me the most quality ingredient is not necessarily the most expensive it is easy to check the quality of an ingredient but much easier when it is produced locally with due process

When are you happiest at work?
When the customer enjoys my food when my team works and dedicates him passionately to his work

What do you think about the current restaurant scene in Panama?
Panama has grown a lot in its culinary proposal currently there is a lot of commitment to Panamanian cuisine and that is something that I respect a lot.

Do you have time to relax and what do you do in Panama when you have a day off? I rarely have a day off but every time I can spend with my family I try to take advantage of it.