A new award given by the prestigious guide last night during the annual Michelin Gala was presented to Chef Ángel León, in recognition of his unwavering commitment to sustainable gastronomic practices. Aponiente also retained its 3 Michelin Stars for the second consecutive year.
Sustainable fishing practices and use of marine products which were previously perceived as marine waste are what identifies the culinary proposal of ¨Chef of the Sea¨. Not only has Ángel León played an active role in preserving and restoring the environment in which his restaurant is located, but he has been widely credited with revitalizing the marsh of the Bay of Cádiz.
His deeply-rooted respect for nature and his commitment to bettering the future of the planet eventually drove him to create an international debate forum focused on sustainability and sustainable practices. “Despesques” held its second annual edition in Cádiz in 2019 and hosted more than 80 world-renowned gastronomic leaders, committed to the conservation of global ecosystems.
Madrid, November 21st, 2019. Aponiente has been recognized by the prestigious Michelin Guide as the most sustainable restaurant of 2020. In the award´s inaugural year, Chef Ángel León was recognized for his extraordinary contribution to sustainability in the field of gastronomy. Through his sustainable philosophies and unwavering efforts to revive and recover the ecosystem surrounding his restaurant, Ángel León has been exemplary in what it takes to rebuild the global ecosystem and restore natural balance.
Being an ambassador for nature and the marsh of the Bay of Cádiz, Ángel´s profound respect for the sea and its tremendous capacity for innovation have led the “Chef of the Sea” to become a reference for sustainable fishing practices, widely known for transforming undervalued marine species and that were historically discarded as waste into integral elements of exquisite delicacies at the pinnacle of global gastronomy. Discovering and also using ingredients of the great pantry of the sea such as plankton.
Taking into account that only 20% of what is fished in the seas and oceans is used, a whopping 80% is discarded as waste. These numbers are what drove the Chef to bring new meaning to undervalued fish through high levels of creativity and innovation in the kitchen.
Creativity and exploration in their purest forms are pillars of Aponiente´s cuisine. Through innovation, the Aponiente Kitchen manages to get the most out of all marine food sources. An example of this is the creation of marine charcuterie made 100% with fish (comprised of sea bass, dogfish loin, sea bream, or mackerel sobrasada) to marine bacon (through the reuse of marine discards that were previously widely regarded as waste), to sea hare roe (similar to noodles). The latter was adapted from a previous perception of a “throwaways” to an integral element of a Michelin-star-caliber menu.
Chef León´s commitment to preserving the planet transcends beyond the stoves of Aponiente´s kitchen and the walls of the restaurant. In order to raise awareness for environmental wellbeing and promote sustainable practices, Chef León created “Despesques”, an annual debate platform that brings chefs of high prestige from around the world to meet with representatives from the food and environmental industries to set an agenda attempting to oust unsustainable food practices. Led by Chef León, this ambitious initiative will also promote the creation of an international chef association, featuring the most recognized chefs in the world and focusing on the promotion of sustainable gastronomic practices.
The “Chef of the Sea”, who has just renewed 3 Michelin Stars for the second consecutive year, continues to put his heart and soul into preserving the global ecosystem for the future generations of the world. In the words of the chef himself, “you can always add to the sea from the kitchen”.
About Aponiente, Chef Ángel León (***Michelin)
The Aponiente restaurant is located in an old tidal mill from the 19th century. In the heart of the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park in El Puerto de Santa María, the area is inhabited by marine life that is subject to constant changes, given the local climatic conditions and the rhythm of the tides.
Captained by chef Ángel León, Aponiente is at the forefront of efforts to recover its surrounding ecosystem to its original state of the environment while also creating an ecosystem for future generations.
Regarding sustainability, Aponiente prioritizes protecting the environment through sustainable gastronomic practices. Sustainable fishing, innovation, creativity, honesty and the use of uncommon species, which have been historically discarded, are the pillars of the gastronomic philosophy of the “chef of the Sea”. Ángel is truly a genius in the field of gastronomy whose commitment to nature has led him to discover, use, reinvent, and revolutionize food from the great pantry of the sea.