Ángel León and the ocean-inspired cuisine take centre stage at Quintonil’s 11th anniversary celebration
Maverick chef Ángel León, renowned for his ocean-inspired cuisine, joined forces with Mexican colleague Jorge Vallejo to celebrate the 11th anniversary of Quintonil (voted in the top ten of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants) on Friday 31st March. The event is part of Quintonil’s concept The Elements, which pays homage to the forces of water, air, earth and fire that shape our world.
León, often called ‘The Chef of the Sea,’ was specially invited by Vallejo to represent the water element due to his expertise in creating dishes that utilise the bounty of the ocean. León’s three-Michelin-starred Aponiente is considered the most sustainable in the world by 50 Best and is known for pushing culinary boundaries with innovative flavours and textures from the depths of the sea.
For the anniversary celebration, León and Vallejo crafted a seafood-focused menu that combined their unique gastronomic talents. Signature dishes from Aponiente included Sea Ham, Squid Cheese, Fig Leaves Escabeche, Plankton, Pata de Mula from San Ignacio Lagoon; Striped Bass, Pil Pil and Salicornia; Chocolata Clam Marinera; Sea Porchetta and the famous Sea Tarte Tatin.
Vallejo contributed his culinary flair to the menu with dishes such as Octopus in Pickled Potatoes and Turnips; Fish Crackling, Salicornia Guacamole; Dashi with Rockfish Cured in Kombu, Lacto-Fermented Mushrooms and Burnt Spices; Brassicas Aguachile, Margarita Scallop and Chile Chiltepín; Grilled Sea Snail, Dirty Beans; and the Crème Fraîche, Melipona Honey, Passion Fruit, Caviar.
Guests were treated to a selection of wine pairings including Rodríguez de Vera, Manzanilla Pasada (Sanlúcar de Barrameda), Jerez Txomin Etxaniz, Txakoli (Basque Country, Spain, 2021), F. E. Trimbach, Clos Ste Hune (Alsace, France), 2017 Ximénez-Spínola, Pedro Ximénez (Jerez, Spain, 2019), Monte Xanic, Gran Ricardo (Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, 2021) and R. López de Heredia, Viña Tondonia, Reserva (Rioja, Spain, 2009).
The visit to the Comcaac people provided the Aponiente team with invaluable insight into age-old wisdom, which aligns with their mission: enhancing future diets through the use of sustainable oceanic resources. Both Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Jorge Vallejo himself accompanied the team during this enlightening experience.
Ángel León’s groundbreaking contributions to the culinary world have earned him global recognition. He is deeply committed to preserving and conserving our oceans, employing historically overlooked marine species, exploring uncharted ingredients and advocating for sustainable fishing practices. León’s dedication to the environment drives his innovative approach to sourcing and transforming ingredients from the ocean’s rich pantry.