Ángel León – Special mention

Nestled in the Bay of Cádiz and boasting three Michelin stars, restaurant Aponiente is where Ángel León dives deep into ocean research and development. His work aims to shed light on the unexplored potential of the ocean for gastronomical innovation and sustainability. Set against the backdrop of the decaying port of Santa María, Leon promotes restoration, management, and conservation of polluted marshes and estuaries, defending these neglected areas as treasures of natural life, food sources, and potential drivers of social and economic development. Championing the area’s exceptional biodiversity and wielding his creative understanding of the sea, León and his team’s cooking showcases an array of unknown and untapped culinary resources that open doors unto exciting possibilities. Collaborations with universities and other research groups have blossomed into new lines of work. Their discoveries fuel new dishes on the Aponiente menu, as well as conferences, projects, and other innovative ideas. All of these illustrate the potential of marine foods: from flavor enhancers such as marine plankton, to honeys and sugars, and even marine “grains” with remarkable nutritional potential, such as zostera or seagrass, which grows in the vicinity of Aponiente.