Leo Espinosa, World’s Best Female Chef in 2022: “Cooking is erotic, you have to take the love slow”

Life is a celebration of pain and death joy celebration. This is the great lesson that Caribbean growing up Leo Espinosa (Cali, 1963) learned on his unstoppable pilgrimage to explore thousands of cuisines. of the land of magical realism and introduce them to the world on a slow fire and with an erotic touch.

Fish from Cartagena de Indias, titote rice and snails, cone bread beans, crab and olive pearls from San Andrés and Providencia, ripe banana boronia, smoked eggplant and onion from Santa Marta, quail eggs, sour cream with cilantro and wrapped in longaniza Achira tamalito with pork hogao from Bogota and Medellín are some of the food recommendations from all regions of Colombia. presented by this economist and plastic artist turned into one of the most provocative chefs and successful in the world: it has just been named World’s Best Female Chef in 2022.

Espinosa brought it a few years ago your menu He went to Madrid and chatted with this newspaper.

-What does an economist and journalist do when aroused by erotic videos stuck in the kitchen?

-More than an economist, I think I have a heavy artistic career in my DNA and I’ve always been interested in erotic art. One day I decided I wanted to bring that rebellious and even disrespectful artistic language into the kitchen.

– What kind of arts do you do?

My kitchen is contemporary art born out of the need to experience, research and convey a message.

-And what’s your message?

-My message is Colombia, my country, a multicultural country with a diverse anthropological history and an impressive cuisine that has yet to be discovered despite its wealth. Colombia is the land of thousands of cuisines, thanks to its mega-diversity and cultural diversity.

-How do you marry the content of eroticism in your kitchen?

-Very good. kitchen erotica; You have to know how to deal with love in a slow fire. But if I’m a rebel in my life, I’ll be a traditionalist, even naive, in the kitchen.

-How do your Spanish, Irish and indigenous roots influence this culinary art?

– I come from a family of writers, doctors and artists who have inherited my creative vein from Espinosa de los Monteros, the first to come to Colombia. I have only the genes of the Irish cut: red hair, fair skin, and freckles. Like most Colombians, I’m native, and maybe that’s why I love exploring my country’s most remote ecosystems. I’m such a funny mix.

– What is left of the cuisine of the conquest of America in Colombian food?

– 60% of our cuisine is of Spanish origin. The conquerors brought us all kinds of flavored herbs, cows, pigs, birds, and something so essential to our recipes: coriander. Also with the Spaniards came a large number of Arab products.

– How do you demand local food now?

– Before the conquest, very few recipes remained, only preparations based on corn, tamales, wraps, buns and tubers. The local cuisine, on the other hand, prepares everything that mother nature gives you. It is the dishes based on endemic and medicinal species that today more than ever show that natural food is not only food but also medicine.

What was left of the black slaves who came to Colombia?

-Fruit-based desserts, palm oil fried foods and colours. In the Afro culinary culture, great importance has always been attached to the flamboyant and colorful dishes.

How did your grandmother influence your love for the kitchen?

-I owe him my love for Colombia, for stoves, for local and ancestral recipes. She is now 99 years old and, in addition to my godmother, is native Spanish. My grandmother always knew how to deal with the hundreds of workers working on the cattle ranches in the Sucre savanna. The poorest families always had a plate to feed their children. My grandmother taught me the taste of Colombia.

– How does Colombia taste?

– Wood fired and smoked. At my grandmother’s house in the Caribbean, the wood stove was lit daily to cook and feed the needy.

-What’s in the Colombian pantry?

-Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and the only one that surprises you from time to time by adding new animal and botanical species. We have 55,000 botanical species, of which 33,000 are endemic and almost all culinary, such as Santa María de anís leaves, pipilongo, cupuaçu, mortiño, mangrove fruits and all kinds of rhizomes.

How did the serious problem of the coca labs affect that pantry?

-It was a drama, an attack on something as patrimonial as my country’s indigenous culture. Drug traffickers and armed groups of all kinds hid in the leaves of Colombian cellars and bought from the people of these communes who lived in a certain way frozen in time. Coca is medicinal and sacred to the locals who have used it since pre-Inca times. Coca is their sacred tree of life. Another thing is illegal substance produced by drug dealers.

-What did you learn from the local and ethnic groups you visited to protect the traditional cuisine?

-Life is a celebration of pain and death is a celebration of joy. I learned happiness from them and money is not a necessary condition for happiness.

-Tell me exactly what happened and what FunLeo does.

-A foundation I created in 2007 to travel around Colombia and learn about the gastronomy of this country full of magical realism. I co-invented FunLeo with my daughter to return favors to communities that have opened up to me. What we want is to create a development based on gastronomic tradition to provide these communities with food and a better future.

Source: Informacion


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