It’s been a quite the year for Colombian chef Leonor Espinosa. Just today, the face of the award-winning Leo Cocina y Cava was named Latin America’s Best Female Chef as part of Latin America’s 50 Best Program for 2017. This prestigious award comes just months after receiving the 2017 Basque Culinary World Prize in Mexico City. Espinosa will claim her prize in the Colombian capital of Bogotá at the Latin America’s 50 Best awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 24.
As Colombia continues to rise in prominence in the culinary world, there’s no doubt about the role of Leonor Espinosa in leading the country forward. Her restaurant Leo Cocina y Cava celebrates indigenous cooking styles, many that had been forgotten over the years, and the wide diversity of Colombian ingredients. In addition to Leo Cocina y Cava, Espinosa also leads a casual neighborhood restaurant called Misia. Both were featured on our most recent Bogotá Eat List and are the gastronomic highlights of many who visit the Colombian capital.
Not only is Espinosa dedicated to her two restaurants, but also the chef runs Funleo Foundation with her daughter Laura, the restaurant’s sommelier. Garnering international respect and a main factor that led her to win the Basque Culinary World Prize, the organization supports rural development and the spread of gastronomic knowledge across the country. The core pillar of the foundation’s mission statement is using gastronomy and education as tools to fight drug trafficking in Colombia. Since its founding nearly a decade ago, Funleo has taken steps to preserve and promote ancestral food techniques in Afro-Colombian communities. These rituals and recipes are gathered and will be preserved in an upcoming Gastronomy Center in Chocó.
Espinosa will be awarded for her accomplishments at the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in Bogotá on October 24. Celebrating its fifth year, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants will unite restaurateurs, chefs, sommeliers, media, influencer from across the Americas to honor leading chefs across the region and celebrate the diversity of gastronomy. To stay updated on the awards and winners of the list, connect with Latin America’s 50 Best on Facebook or Twitter.