Leonor Espinosa (full name Espinosa De La Ossa) is a self-taught chef and considered one of the leading culinary talents in the world. In 2022 she was named Best Female Chef in the World by the World's 50 Best Restaurants.
Espinosa was born in 1963, in Cartago, Valle del Cauca, Colombia and studied economics and fine arts. Later, she embarked on a successful career in marketing and advertising before leaving it behind to follow her dream of becoming a professional chef. She opened her eponymous restaurant Leo in Bogotá in 2007, and gained international recognition for her use of ingredients sourced only in Colombia. Her cuisine represents Colombian native flavours, combining contemporary art with field research, anthropological insight and immersion in different geographical locations. She is an advocate for the social function of gastronomy and is a crucial figure in the rebirth of Colombian gastronomic culture.
Espinosa founded her non-profit Funleo in 2008 with her daughter, Laura Hernández-Espinosa (Leo's chief sommelier). The organisation works to preserve traditional indigenous foodways, systems and ingredients, and disseminates knowledge and skills to support the economic development of local communities.
In 2021, she relocated her restaurant to the exclusive Chapinero district in Bogotá, where she has created an original tasting menu made entirely with local ingredients, with single courses that describe a journey to discover the gastronomic culture of her country.
Other awards to Espinosa's name include Latin America's Best Female Chef, The Basque Culinary World Prize and the Estrella Damm Chefs' Choice Award.