Chef Ángel León of Aponiente - Biography

El Puerto de Santa María, Spain

July 2011

He might be a renowned innovator now, but Chef Ángel León began his career much like any other chef—on the line. After three years at Taberna del Alabardero in Sevilla, Spain, the knowledge-hungry chef moved on to the Spanish Pyrenees and its regional star Casa Irene, and later to his homeland, the province of Cádiz, where he continued his professional development at Restaurante El Faro.

Fearlessly curious, León’s next step brought him to the tough-as-nails Bordeaux kitchen of Chapeau Femme, and then back to Sevilla, where he was appointed chef de partie at the Hotel Alfonso XVIII. At this point in his career, León decided to pursue a degree in hospitality management, which later afforded him two stages at the Hotel Sheraton, in Buenos Aires and Miami—then a hotbed of Spanish chef-transplants.

Returning to Spain as chef de cuisine at La Casa del Temple in Toledo, León longed to return to his homeland and the sea that swept its shores, and he began formulating a culinary thesis based on the unexplored marine bounty of his native port. El Tambuche proved a draw for locals and a stepping stone to León’s experiential, experimental, lab-equipped, fine-dining restaurant Aponiente.

Not only was the restaurant awarded a Michelin star in 2010, but through it, León has been able to collaborate with Spanish universities on potentially pivotal culinary innovations. In 2007, he designed the Clarimax with the University of Cádiz, an award-winning machine that eliminates fat from cold stocks and broths while maintaining purity of flavor. When he isn’t playing with plankton in the kitchen of Aponiente, León can be seen in “Chef of the Sea” and culinary travelogue “Un Pais Para Comerselo” on Spanish television. Co-author of More than Tapas, León also travels the world sharing his innovations and inspiration with the industry.