Chef Spotlight: Carlos Gomes
Carlos Gomes spills the beans on his unconventional use of chopsticks & his tips for opening a restaurant.
Porto-born Carlos Gomes is the Head Chef at newly opened Portuguese restaurant, Canto.
Canto brings modern Portuguese cuisine to Ancoats, Manchester, in the form of small plates and larger, sharing dishes.
Opened by Carlos Gomes and Simon Shaw, Canto combines their vision of introducing Portuguese fare to Manchester following the success of their Spanish tapas restaurant, El Gato Negro.
How did you become a head chef and what has the journey been like?
I’ve always wanted to be a chef and my first steps towards a career in the kitchen were at the age of 21, as a pastry chef at local Porto restaurant, Gosho.
I was fortunate to progress quickly and in 2011, made the move to the UK as Chef de Partie at acclaimed Japanese restaurant, Koya. From here I moved to Michelin-starred Barrafina in 2013, where I became Head Chef in 2016. In 2017 I made the move from London to Manchester joining Simon and the team at El Gato Negro and here I am today. The journey has been crazy, but fun; I’ve loved every minute and have learnt a lot.
What drew you to the hospitality industry?
My love of cooking, I have been in the kitchen since I was a young boy, cooking with my wonderful grandmother and she always inspired me to be a chef.
What do you think is the key to running a successful restaurant?
A lot of hard work, passion and determination. I’ve been fortunate to develop my career in the kitchens of some really great restaurants, honing my skills alongside the best. It was when I moved to El Gato Negro and worked alongside Simon that I got a real understanding of what it takes to run a successful restaurant and not just a kitchen however; the food is the main ingredient of course, but it’s about much, much more. The whole team from front of house, to marketing and the kitchen all have a strong part to play; as do of course the guests. I have a clear idea of what I’d like to deliver but it’s important to balance that with what our guests want.
Describe an average ‘day in your life’ outside of work…
You’re likely to find me at home, spending quality time with my family and if the weather’s good, stood over a barbeque!
I do like to go out in Manchester though, it’s such a vibrant city and I think a great destination for food.
What is your all-time favourite dish?
Beef is my favourite meat to cook with. Although I am from a seaside town and am better at cooking fish, I prefer to eat meat. At home I spend a lot of my time cooking on the grill and BBQ; I love the smokey flavours and the tenderness of the meat.
What ingredient could you not live without?
There are two things I always, always have in my house – salt cod and chorizo, they are the main ingredients I could not live without!
Tell us one thing about yourself people might not know?
I plate all of my dishes with chopsticks. It’s a style I developed in previous roles and I love the precision it affords me. It never fails to raise the eye of the rest of the team but to me it’s entirely normal!
You can take a look at the menu here and reserve your table online for a delicious Portuguese feast.