Michelin-starred Spanish chef dies in Singapore

Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:25am EST
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Spanish celebrity chef Santi Santamaria died late on Wednesday in Singapore after collapsing during a presentation at his restaurant, the venue's owners said.

Santamaria, who earned three Michelin stars for his restaurant Can Fabes in Spain, was one of six high-profile chefs at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, a $5.5 billion entertainment complex operated by Las Vegas Sands, which officially opened on Thursday.

"We have lost a great chef and a beloved member of our big family here," George Tanasijevich, interim chief executive of Marina Bay Sands, told journalists.

People involved in the media tour at the casino complex said Santamaria fainted during a presentation at his restaurant and was rushed to the hospital.

Santamaria, the first Catalan to be awarded three Michelin stars, was a critic of the unorthodox cooking of compatriot Ferran Adria, in contrast to his more conservative approach.

Singapore is counting on the resorts opened last year by Malaysia's Genting and Las Vegas Sands to boost tourism and economic growth.

Marina Bay Sands, one of the city state's two casino complexes, has attracted some 11 million visitors since its soft opening in April last year.

(Reporting by Harry Suhartono; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)