It’s not easy being green, especially when you’re a vegan chef who cooks meat dishes at your restaurant. However, if you don’t actually eat the food, how can you tell if that grilled pork is any good or if the beef in your stew is suitably seasoned?

“At first, when we were creating the menu, I would spit out the meat after tasting it,” says chef Shannon Binnie (pictured above), 41, sheepishly. “But once the restaurant was up and running, and we have an open kitchen, I do swallow,” he adds laughingly. 

Binnie goes on to say that he doesn’t actually have to taste the meat dishes anymore now that he and his team have the recipes down pat. “We've written them out so the chefs can follow it and they taste the dish before it goes out to the diner.”

The wiry Australian heads the kitchen at The Botanic, which took over Salt Tapas & Bar at Raffles City Shopping Centre last November. Not to be confused with Botanico restaurant at The Botanic Gardens. The restaurant’s transformation came about after Aussie chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan’s departure from the Salt brand last year. His Singaporean partners transformed the space and concept, while retaining the entire team, including chef Binnie who remains the executive chef of The Botanic. Salt Grill & Sky bar and Ion is still up and running, by the way.

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