Leonor Espinosa, chef-owner of the Leo restaurant in Bogotá is the winner of The World’s Best Female Chef award, awarded by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 and sponsored by Nude Glass
After studying economics and fine arts and working as a manager in the world of advertising, Espinosa felt the need to further satisfy her creative spirit through cooking.
Although she never studied to become a chef, Leonor Espinosa in 2007 opened the restaurant that bears her name, focusing on the contamination between traditional and contemporary Colombian cuisine.
The gastronomic experience of La Espinosa is inspired by the concept of “Cycle-Biome”, which studies the different Colombian ecosystems and explores the ways in which new species can be used in the kitchen. In the Leo menu, the utmost attention is paid to the origin of each ingredient, such as giant lemon ants, rainforest mojojoy worms, pulantana, a typical seed of a Colombian desert plant, cacay nuts and cnopio , from the foothills of the Andes.
Epinosa has long been involved with Funleo, a non-profit organization she founded in 2008 with her daughter, Laura Hernández-Espinosa (Leo’s chief sommelier). FUNLEO was created to support processes aimed at improving the well-being of Colombian communities, understanding gastronomy as an engine of social and economic development. The foundation works with international cooperation agencies, government organizations and NGOs to highlight Colombia’s gastronomic traditions and biological and intangible heritage.
With a strong sense of social responsibility and a humble attitude, Espinosa has become a global reference that aspiring chefs must look to.