Chef Lino Sauro
Ask Chef Lino about his background and he will proudly introduce himself as a ‘traditional village boy’. Born in Sicily into an Italian family of farmers, Chef Lino still carries within himself his Southern Italian heritage.
His pride in his cultural background is recognizable when he tells the story of how he developed his love for fresh and unprocessed food: “Having a farmer as a father meant that we used to eat only the ingredients that we grew in our own backyard. We had to work for our food, and did not have the convenience of going to supermarkets; even eating out at restaurants was a luxury that we seldom could afford. Because of this, we grew up skeptical of all kinds of processed food and out-of-season ingredients”.
This philosophy resonates well and truly in his cuisine. Today, Chef Lino is recognized as one of the top chefs in Singapore, specializing in Sicilian and Mediterranean food. His cuisine focuses on sustainable ingredients, with a kitchen always graced by some of the best seasonal ingredients from Italy, and an impressive array of fresh seafood unabashedly on display to greet his guests at the restaurant.
Chef Lino’s other passion, travelling, helped him to develop his taste for fine cuisine at the tender age of 15. He understood that the only way that would allow him to travel was to succeed in the culinary world through discipline and dedication. Driven by his passion for food and motivated by his love for travel, Chef Lino toured Europe and Asia – enjoying unique cultural experiences. His travels have also allowed him to collaborate with some of the most renowned chefs around the globe, from whom he gained insights into the culinary world and the skills required to be a top chef.
Once landed in Singapore, Chef Lino’s skills were immediately recognized, and he was appointed Resident Chef of DOMVS, an Italian restaurant in Sheraton Towers. The environment of the 5-stars hotel exposed him to another level of food presentation and service quality standards, which further developed his style and allowed him to learn how to marry the precision of contemporary culinary techniques with the flavors typical of his Sicilian heritage.
In April 2010, a collaboration with the esteemed GGR Holdings saw Chef Lino unveil his first Restaurant, Gattopardo Italian Grill & Pizza Bar amidst the lush greenery of Hotel Fort Canning, a three and a half year long journey acclaimed by customers and critics as an undisputable success, a concept in which staple Italian fare met Sicilian dishes.
Now an affirmed business man and a recognised Celebrity Chef, Lino decided to finally go all the way back to his heritage and bring Sicily to Singapore in its purest form. On 28 January 2014, the restaurant, now known as Gattopardo – Ristorante di Mare moved to its current location in the up-and-coming Tras Street. Along with the radical change of look, Gattopardo improved its offering, with dishes emphasising a sustainable approach to ingredient selection and recipes inspired by the seasonality of the Mediterranean basin, which have won the hearts, mouths and bellies of critics and customers alike.
"With my new home away from home, Gattopardo Ristorante Di Mare, I never want to stop discovering. I am obsessed with creating sophisticated cuisine that will always honor the excellence of seasonal ingredients and the flavors of my heritage. I would like our guests to find our cuisine innovative, delicious and, from a sustainability point of view, inspiring." – Executive Chef, Chef Lino Sauro