- The renowned chef Ángel León, recently designated Food Hero by the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), has unveiled today at San Sebastián Gastronomika a discovery that could transform the world of food: the finding of a game-changing source of vegetable protein of marine origin: Canavalia rosea.
- “We have discovered in the sea a source of protein that we never dreamed of finding” explained Ángel León during his presentation, adding that “it has 50% protein and 40% carbohydrates“.
- The Aponiente team has carried out since 2021an experimental project in Venezuela, applying various processing, cooking, freezing, drying and fermenting techniques in the Laboratory of Gastronomic Investigation Chef of Sea. And to demonstrate it, they prepared and presented the following dishes: marine stew with tofu, beans with marine bacon; marine bean with plankton pil pil; marine yuba and curd with marine soy molasses.
- Ángel León has revealed the exceptional potential of the canavalia rosea as a food ingredient and its capacity to grow in adverse conditions, including its tolerance to salt water.
- “We come across it in 2021 on an expedition to Venezuela and since 2022 we developed its experimental cultivation with the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC) and the company Marine Vegetables,” the chef said.
- These efforts have resulted in the creation of a variety of innovative food products, such as sea soy sauce, tamari, miso, fermented tofu and others, all based on Canavalia rosea.
- The Sea Chef has referred to the discovered product as a “super sea soybean of the 21st century”.
San Sebastián, October 10th, 2023 – The renowned chef Ángel León, recently designated Food Hero by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), has announced today at San Sebastián Gastronomika a discovery that could transform the world of food. After three years of research, Aponiente announces the finding of an extraordinary source of vegetable proteins of marine origin: Canavalia rosea.
Canavalia rosea is a leguminous plant found naturally in tropical and subtropical dunes near the sea in America and Africa. Although this plant has been known since pre-Hispanic times, its consumption is practically unknown today, being difficult to find. However, Ángel León has revealed its exceptional potential as a food ingredient and its ability to grow in adverse conditions, including its tolerance to salt water.
With this announcement, the Chef of the Sea continues his search for the superfoods that water provides us with, after carrying out an intense R&D work with marine rice (Zostera marina) since 2018, which he continues to research and work in its experimental cultivation in abandoned salt marshes and estuaries.
Scientific studies support the nutritional quality of Canavalia rosea, which has high concentrations of high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates and an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, including iron. It is also low in anti-nutrients, making it a highly beneficial choice for human nutrition.
“We have discovered a source of protein in the sea that we never dreamed of finding,” explained Ángel León during his presentation, adding that “it has 50% protein and 40% carbohydrates“. In addition, he explained that “since 2022 we developed its experimental cultivation with the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC) and the company Marine Vegetable with the aim of using pods, beans and leaves in the production of nutritional products.”
This legume not only offers an exceptional nutritional profile, but also contains valuable phytochemical components such as cardiotonic glycosides, carbohydrates, alkaloids, fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, tannins and steroids. The Aponiente team has carried out extensive research in its Laboratory for Gastronomic Research Chef of the Sea, applying various processing, cooking, freezing, drying and fermentation techniques. And to demonstrate this, they prepared and presented the following dishes to the audience: marine stew with tofu, beans with marine bacon; marine bean with plankton pil pil; marine yuba and curd with marine soy molasses.
These efforts have resulted in the creation of a variety of innovative food products, such as sea soy sauce, tamari, miso, fermented tofu and others, all based on Canavalia rosea. Furthermore, in his report, the chef showed the enormous potential of this legume to replace or at least reduce the dependence of the current diet on soya, which is generating serious imbalances in local farming patterns and in territories where the cultivation of traditional varieties is being replaced in favour of soya, even by planting transgenic varieties.
Ángel León shared his enthusiasm about this finding in a presentation, stating: “This discovery by Aponiente could mark a milestone in the food industry by offering a sustainable and highly nutritious alternative to soya, while boosting research into underexploited marine resources”.
From his restaurant Aponiente located in Puerto de Santa María, the chef and his crew continue to innovate and promote sustainable practices that contribute to the conservation of the sea’s natural resources and the search for a better and possible future.
About Aponiente Restaurant & Chef Ángel León
*** Michelin Stars, Michelin Green Star for Sustainability, Sustainable Restaurant 2022 The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and #64 The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023.
The Aponiente restaurant is located in a former 19th century tidal mill. 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 change, given the local climatic conditions and the rhythm of the tides.
Led by chef Ángel León, Aponiente is carrying out the recovery of the environment in which it is located, creating an ecosystem for future generations. A benchmark in sustainability, it promotes the defence of the environment through gastronomy. Sustainable fishing and the use of species that have historically been considered discarded products are the hallmarks of the gastronomic proposal of the “chef of the sea”, together with innovation, creativity and honesty. A revolutionary genius whose commitment to nature has led him to discover, use and reinvent foods from the great larder of the sea.
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