You may know Leonor Espinosa De La Ossa by her nickname “Leo”. She is a Colombian chef owner of Bogotá restaurant, Leo Cocina y Cava. The place features a fusion of traditional and modern Colombian cuisine and it brought her to international attention when it opened in 2007. Espinosa appears regularly on Colombian television and also runs the restaurants Leo Cocina y Cava and Misia.
Chef Leo was born in Colombia’s Caribbean and got degrees in fine arts and economics. The taste of Carribean cuisine was present in her life as her great-grandmother used to prepare manjares and her grandmother led a troop of female cooks. Leo herself turned to cooking at the age of 35.
Science and cuisine
Leonor Espinosa has managed to refine tradition, memory, and creativity. Her culinary proposal claims Colombian native flavors, combining contemporary art with field research, anthropological insight, and immersion in different geographical locations. Being a prominent landmark, known for celebrating the national cuisine through its menu, Leo Cocina y Cava is a must for visitors and travelers.
Her current culinary proposal BIOMA-CYCLE focuses on the study through research, development, and innovation in the diverse ecosystems in the Colombian territory. In each biome, she and her staff work with biologists, farmers, and producers. They aim to make way for local products and cuisine that recreates Colombia’s collective memory.
In 2008 her vocation for gastronomic research led her to materialize the Leo Espinosa Foundation. It aims to create development initiatives in rural communities by strengthening culinary traditions, nutrition and food security.