What has Leonor Espinosa done in the culinary world?

The beginnings | Gastronomy | Achievements

Leonor Espinosa is one of the most outstanding Women in Colombia in the kitchen. Here, we will tell you why she is such a successful chef and what she has achieved over time.

The beginnings in the life of Leonor Espinosa

She was born in 1963. She is one of the Cartagena women since she lived there since she was 3 years old. However, in her youth, she decided to study Economics and Fine Arts, which is why she decided to move to Bogota. You probably didn’t know it, but at that time she worked in advertising.

Even at that time, she was passionate about the visual arts. However, by 1998 she decided that she wanted to give her life a new direction. When she was preparing food for her daughters, she realized that food could also be art (El País, 2017).

Therefore, she became interested in the culinary world, which is why she decided to investigate more about Colombian communities. As a result, Leonor learned about different techniques, preparations, and traditional ingredients of her country, which she would later incorporate into her restaurant.

Her first restaurant was not successful, as she had no experience in running a business. However, in 2007 she decided to open the second one (La Vanguardia, 2020). There she realized the interest in local dishes. Therefore, she incorporated flavors from the mountains, the sea, or the jungle in all her dishes.

Her success in gastronomy

Well, it should be noted that she is the owner of the LEO restaurant, located in the city of Bogotá. In 2007, this restaurant was rated as one of the 82 best restaurants in the world, according to the British magazine Conde Nast Traveller (Notimérica, 2017).

In addition, since 2014 her restaurant has been on the list of the best restaurants in Latin America, according to the list of S. Pellegrino LatinAmerica’s 50 Best Restaurants (Infobae, 2021). She also won the award for Best Chef in Latin America 2017 (Excelencias Gourmet, 2017).

On the other hand, her success has not prevented her from remembering her roots. On the contrary: she continues to explore the gastronomic traditions of her country. She has achieved this with her foundation FUNLEO, which works to reclaim the food of all regions of Colombia.

She has even ventured into television. Leonor Espinosa was in three seasons (2007, 2008 and 2009) in El Gourmet, with her show “Nueva Cocina Colombiana”. On the other hand, she was also in the reality show La Prueba, by Caracol Televisión in 2015 (El Espectador, 2014). 

Other achievements

In addition, among other achievements, she has managed to appear in:

  • 105 best dining experiences in the world, National Geographic 2010.
  • Best Chef of Colombia, La Barra Awards 2012.
  • 20 best leaders in Colombia, according to Semana Magazine 2015 (Semana, 2015).
  • Basque Culinary World Prize 2017.
  • The World’s Greatest Places, TIME Magazine 2018.

Today, she believes that she doesn’t have to be just a Colombian beauty. Her work also aims to prove that Colombian females can also be great cooks. Espinosa became one of the most important women in the country’s cuisine.


El Espectador (2014, December 12). ‘La Prueba’, el sabor de Colombia en una cuchara. https://www.elespectador.com/cromos/vida-social/la-prueba-el-sabor-de-colombia-en-una-cuchara/

El País (2017, October 19). Leonor Espinosa, la mejor cocinera de Latinoamérica. https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/10/20/eps/1508450752_150845.html

Excelencias Gourmet (2017, September 13). Leonor Espinosa, Mejor Chef Femenina de América Latina 2017. https://www.excelenciasgourmet.com/es/noticias-gourmet/leonor-espinosa-mejor-chef-femenina-de-america-latina-2017

Infobae (2021, October 5). ‘LEO’, el restaurante colombiano que está entre los 50 mejores del mundo. https://www.infobae.com/america/colombia/2021/10/05/leo-el-restaurante-colombiano-que-esta-entre-los-50-mejores-del-mundo/

La Vanguardia (2020, November 17). La chef colombiana Leonor Espinosa, premiada por su trayectoria profesional. https://www.lavanguardia.com/comer/al-dia/20201117/6040995/the-world-s-50-best-restaurante-premia-leonor-espinosa.html

Notimérica (2017, March 15). Encuentro digital con la chef colombiana Leonor Espinosa este jueves 16 de marzo en el Facebook de Notimérica. https://www.notimerica.com/cultura/noticia-encuentro-digital-chef-colombiana-leonor-espinosa-jueves-16-marzo-facebook-notimerica-20170315184707.html

Semana (2015, September 27). Estos son los 20 Mejores Líderes de Colombia 2015. https://www.semana.com/on-line/galeria/los-20-mejores-lideres-de-colombia-2015/444058-3/