Santamaria's Singapore restaurant to close

Posted at 02/22/2012 10:48 AM | Updated as of 02/22/2012 10:51 AM

SINGAPORE - The Singapore restaurant of Spanish Michelin-starred chef Santi Santamaria, who died of a heart attack last year, will close in March, his daughter said Tuesday.

The fine-dining SANTI -- located within the casino block in the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) resort -- will serve its last diner on March 11, a joint statement by MBS and Santi's daughter Regina stated.

Santi died in February last year on the way to hospital after collapsing in the restaurant's kitchen while serving guests gathered to inaugurate the official opening of Marina Bay Sands. He was 53.

The closure of the restaurant -- which opened in April 2010 -- comes as the Santamaria family refocuses its business to Santi's native Spain, according to the statement.

"We want to build on my father's strengths and passion to create a success of the projects that he unfortunately had to leave halfway, many of which are happening in Spain," said Regina Santamaria, who runs SANTI.

"We're sad to leave Singapore but we appreciate very much the support that diners have given to us."

An as-yet-unnamed Asian restaurant will take over the restaurant's premises "in the next few months," the statement added.

MBS said staff working at SANTI will be redeployed across the casino complex where celebrity chefs, including Michelin-starred Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy and Wolfgang Puck, have also opened restaurants.

Santi is widely acknowledged as the man who brought Catalan cooking to the world and his Can Fabes restaurant in the Spanish city of Sant Celoni has been rated with three Michelin stars since 1994.

The self-taught chef was given two further Michelin stars for his restaurant in Madrid, Santceloni, and another one for his Barcelona establishment Evo, and another for Tierra, in Valdepalacios, just outside of Madrid.

Santamaria was a fierce advocate of using only the freshest produce in his cooking and had been a vocal critic of the advent of "molecular gastronomy."

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