Colombia's Leonor Espinosa has been named as Latin America's Best Female Chef, ahead of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2017 sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, which takes place on 24 October in Bogotá and can be live-streamed on Fine Dining Lovers.
Espinosa, who has two restaurants in Bogotá – the flagship Leo, currently number 16 on the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list, and the more casual Misia – is renowned for her pinoneering work to revive Colombian culinary traditions, using food as a tool to promote cultural and social development in indigenous and rural communities. At Leo diners enjoy refined traditional cuisine, such as Carne oreada, a kind of sun-dried steak similar to jerky, and a snack of seared tuna with ants, accompanied by local coffees and ancestral beverages.
"I am very honored to receive this award and to join a very special group of female cooks," says Espinosa. "This award recognises the importance and value of the ingredients of natural diversity that can be enhanced for culinary and culinary traditions in Colombia."
Through her FUNLEO foundation, which is managed by her sommelier daughter Laura, Espinosa aims to preserve Colombia's food traditions whilst encouraging sustainable food practices. She was also the recipient of this year's Basque Culinary World Prize, which rewards chefs who have had a positive impact on society through gastronomy.