We wanted to dedicate June's Inspiring People (month of the oceans) to the man who has earned the nickname of chef of the sea: Ángel León. We talked to him about his passion for the sea, about what it offers us, but also about what we still have to discover...
Cooking is art and revolution, but also, in your case, it is research and development. Where does your interest in discovering the secrets of the sea come from?
That restlessness was born in my childhood. My passion for the sea was instilled in me by my father when I was a child. My father loves sailing and fishing and we always used to do it in the Bay of Cadiz. I was never a good student and I was diagnosed hyperactivity so the sea was my escape route. When we went out fishing and came home with everything we had caught, it was my turn to clean it. My mother was bored and didn't like to do it, so I took care of it. I liked to caress the fish, to appreciate their smoothness, their scales... I used to slit their bellies to know what they were eating so I would know what bait to put...
You have recently discovered the "cereal of the sea", is the sea still a great unknown for human beings?
At the beginning, when we decided to radicalize our proposal and cook exclusively from the sea, some people told me that we were closing doors and that our path would be limited... but that is not so... we only know 40% of the marine pantry.
Look at this simple reflection. This misnamed planet earth is composed of 70% water and within this water 97.5% is salt water... We have much to explore!
Plastic pollution in the sea is increasing. From your perspective and knowledge of the sea, what do we need as a society to raise awareness and put an end to it?
What we need are lessons to be learned. But education is also important. Being aware of what we do, that is, greater visibility of the facts and the consequences. Because we are like this, but we cannot be satisfied.
A dream fulfilled, and one yet to be fulfilled?
My dream fulfilled is my restaurant, Aponiente and bringing plankton to the table. One to fulfill... to have been a marine biologist.
What or who inspires you in your cooking? Why?
In my kitchen my source of inspiration is the sea and a book that feeds my marine fantasy is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
If you had to choose a color, what would it be? why?
I would choose the colors of the Bay of Cadiz, the marshes surrounding Aponiente and the salt.