The Best Address

Master-chef Gabriel Grimaldo

Gabriel Augusto Grimaldo Castillo, born in the Republic of Panama, studied Architecture and Higher Education at the National University of Panama.  in 2019, he traveled to Panama and showcased his talent in the culinary industry. Among his many other talents, he is the winner of the talent show ‘Cocina al Extremo’ and serves as presenter and jury of the show ‘Pasa la Receta’.

Croquette of sweet banana, habanero pepper, coconut and cashews, with lamb in tamarind and guava sauce, coffee gelation. Name of tapa: ‘Tropico’ (Tropic)

Within the field of gastronomy, he also obtained a diploma in Pastry at the International Gastronomic Academy (based in Florida, United States). In 2022 he obtained a specialization in ‘Gastromarketing’, positioning himself as one of the great promises of Panamanian gastronomy internationally.

Plato Fuerte

In 2022 he managed to be a finalist in the ‘VI World Tapas Championship’, in Valladolid – Spain, as a representative of Panama; in addition to serving as ambassador of Panamanian Gastrodiplomacy, for its tropical fusion proposal that unites tradition and avant-garde in its dishes, preparing menus and tastings for foreign ministers, ambassadors and other personalities of international diplomacy.

Gabriel Grimaldo, in addition to being passionate about fine arts, is the author of two books, the first, Fusión Tropical Cuisine, which was awarded the Best American Cookbook at the Gourmand Awards 2023. In addition, he was awarded two international awards, one as World Celebrity Chef of 2023 (Gourmand Awards held in Sweden) and another, for his second book ‘Nuestras Recetas con Lili y Gabo’, in collaboration with the Mexican chef Liliana Barragán, which was highlighted as one of the best books of Plurinational Recipes of the World at the Gourmand Awards held in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023. Today, Gabriel Grimaldo is one of the exponents of Panamanian gastronomy at an international level, who, through his books and digital platforms, has been able to popularize the name of his country.


 Do you have a favourite time of the year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?

Panama is a country located in Central America and has a privileged geographical position, so we have a tropical climate, where there is a rainy season (half the year) and a dry season.  However, my favorite time of the year is in September, when it usually rains heavily, but when it stops raining, the sun comes out and you can enjoy a beautiful sunny afternoon. My favorite ingredients will always be tropical fruits such as: coconut, banana, passion fruit, pineapple, among others, which I like to use in almost all my sweet or savory dishes.

Brownies with hibiscus sabdarifa syrup and red berries

What would you do if you weren’t a chef?

In addition to being a chef, I am an architect, university professor and writer, so I feel fulfilled with my professions, which I feell complement each other harmoniously in my professional and personal life.

Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?

They definitely do influence, mainly because I like to reflect my essence and personality in each of my dishes. I believe that behind every dish there is a story to tell and most of the stories I tell are a reflection of my life and personal experience.

Rice with cane honey, curry, turmeric, fried ripe plantains and avocado with ‘pico de gallo’

What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend currently?

In my country and in the Central American region, I consider that traditional cuisine is gaining a strong position within the gastronomic market, due to the implementation of culinary promotion models and through the awakening of those movements that seek to rescue and implement culinary techniques of our ancestors and native people. This is visible in avant-garde dishes that are also highly acclaimed in restaurants, due to a harmonious fusion between tradition and avant-garde.

Fried rice baskets with garlic shrimp and habanero pepper

When are you happiest?

I always try to be happy. I can highlight that the best moments are when I am cooking and sharing with my family or friends, I consider that they are our ‘pole to the ground’  and they recharge us with good energy to continue fighting for our dreams.

When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?

When I’m not in the kitchen you can find me at home, on the beach, in my architectural studio or in some destination around the world discovering new cultures and flavors.

Grilled garlic octopus on rice with beets and cream cheese

Where is your favourite place to dine?

My favorite place to dine is any quiet corner that has good Latin music and where i am surrounded by my loved ones

What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?

In Panama we love soups, that’s why my comfort food is chicken soup, that glorious broth that comforts us when we are sick or simply when we are looking to taste something that tastes like those recipes from our mothers or grandmothers. Chicken soup reminds me a lot of my childhood, that’s why it’s my favorite.

Green banana nests with chicken in Panamanian Creole sauce

What makes the local food scene so exciting?

What makes the local gastronomic scene exciting is the story that is told in each dish, the freshness of the ingredients and the passion of those who prepare them, I consider them to be the added values that any gastronomic experience should have. Personally, I like to revolutionize the senses of my guests, through unforgettable sensory experiences, which range from good flavor to a magnificent presentation, where the ingredients are dressed up to achieve a memorable result.

Shrimp Cream

Which is the dish you’ve created that you are most proud of and why?

Actually, there are two dishes, the first one is a tropical shrimp ceviche with mango, one of my favorite recipes and is the cover of my first book. The second dish I have created that I am most proud of, was one called ‘Sentimientos del Alma’, because it reflects the love for my family and the kitchen; with that dish (which has molecular cuisine) I entered the talent show Masterchef Panama, then I had to replicate it to qualify for the final and has been the dish that I have done more in my career in the field of gastronomy.

Corvina (fish) ceviche with fried green plantain chips

This dish, cataloged by gastronomic critics of my country as a work of art, has become quite famous not only in Panama, but also internationally, this dish is composed of a cream of carrots with rosemary, coconut milk and Parmesan, has a core of caramelized carrots in cane honey, orange juice / thyme, with false coconut milk caviar, crunchy “tuilé”, edible gold leaf and edible flowers.

Mango and shrimp ceviche

You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?

Definitely, where I cook there will be flavors, colors and aromas of Latin cuisine, so I would make some type of ceviche as a starter, a chicken in tamarind sauce with guava, rice with coconut as a main course and for dessert I would make something based on Panamanian Geisha coffee and local chocolate, because I consider that these ingredients represent both my country and my cooking style.

Ripe banana cream with coconut and shrimp

Name your favourite city that has it all: food, culture, and nightlife.

For me, Panama represents that city that has it all, mainly because of a fusion of cultures because we are known as a ‘Hub of the Americas’  due to the privileged geographical position that serves as a connection with many countries, it is a city with a incredible nightlife, every night is a carnival of color, music and joy.

Madrid: It is a mystical place, with a wide gastronomic offer.

Stockholm: A place with such a rich culture, full of historical legacies, as well as having unmatched Nordic cuisine.

Deconstruction of Lemon Pie

Can you tell us more about the cuisine at your restaurants?

Quexopa Coffee & Food (Panamá): In the province of Chiriquí next to Costa Rica, a place that has dishes with a Panamanian essence of tradition and avant-garde.

Gabo Grimaldo Cuisine: In my catering I have made menus for Presidents, chancellors from all over Central America and even the chancellor of India; as well as various parliamentarians and diplomats, which has led me to be classified as one of the ambassadors of Panamanian gastronomy, especially in Cultural Diplomacy activities, always highlighting local raw materials, Panamanian cultural heritage and that traditional essence that characterizes the Latin people.



Recipe: Mango Salad (Ceviche type)

This is the version of a tropical salad, very easy to prepare and belongs to my second book (Our Recipes with Lili and Gabo), it is made with ripe mango as a base.


  • 2 large ripe mangoes (approximately 500 grams)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 100 grams of red onion
  • 4 lemons or limes (juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To decorate:

  • Comestible flowers
  • Hydroponic thyme (for garnish)
  • Green banana chips (to accompany)


  1. Cut the pulp of the mangoes into cubes or medium squares, place them in a glass container, cut the red onion and cilantro finely into julienne strips. Integrate everything and add lemon juice, powdered ginger, finely chopped “habanero chili”, sesame oil, sugar, salt to taste and olive oil.
  2. Refrigerate the salad in an airtight container for three hours, then serve in glasses and garnish as desired with green plantain chips (fried), edible flowers, and hydroponic thyme micro greens.


Preparation: 25 minutes

Serves: For 4 people

Difficulty level: Low

Tip: You can replace the powdered ginger with a teaspoon of grated ginger or add it to your liking, taking care that its flavor is not invasive compared to the mango.











Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *