Seaspice Executive Chef Angel Leon

Seaspice
Seaspice Modern Garden
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By: Miami New Times Writer

As one of the world’s most respected culinary capitals, Miami is home to an impressive array of talented chefs who are constantly redefining the concepts of flavor, technique, and presentation. One of the destination’s most beloved local talents is Chef Angel Leon, a longtime fixture of the Miami culinary scene and executive chef at the critically acclaimed restaurant, Seaspice. We sat down with Chef Leon to learn a little more about how he got his start in the industry—a fascinating history studded with culinary stars—as well as his favorite things about Miami, the place he calls home.

A Passion for Food Ignited at a Young Age

Most successful chefs have loved food from a very young age, but few can say they had a place in the kitchen before even reaching adulthood. However, Chef Leon began his professional culinary career at the age of just 16, working in the Cuban bakeries where he uncovered his deep interest in the art of food. It was in these local bakeries where Chef Leon honed his passion and decided that he was destined for a future in the culinary arts. Thanks to his raw talent, determination and hard work, this small spark of interest at an early age quickly began to flourish.

Working Closely with and Learning from Miami’s Best Chefs

Once Chef Leon embarked on his adult career, he spent time gaining invaluable knowledge while working under several of Miami’s top chefs. First, he cooked under French Chef Pascal Oudin, a world-renowned talent. During this time, Chef Leon established a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise, upon which he was able to build his own creative talents and cutting-edge techniques.

Later, he moved on to join the opening team at Azul Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, working alongside Michelle Bernstein. After his success at Azul Restaurant, Chef Leon stepped into a leadership position at Miami’s SUGARCANE raw bar grill. He was a driving force behind the restaurant’s much-anticipated opening, partnering with Chef Timon Balloo and earning rave reviews from critics and local foodies alike.

Today, Chef Leon leads a talented team as Executive Chef at Seaspice, drawing on his knowledge of classic and contemporary European cuisine to take a modern approach to traditional flavors and presentations.

A Miami Local, Through and Through

Chef Leon is a pillar of Miami’s culinary scene, but he’s also a local who enjoys everything the community has to offer. When he steps out of the Seaspice kitchen and has time to spare, Chef Leon can be found cycling through the scenic surroundings of Key Biscayne, soaking up the views and gorgeous Miami weather. He also enjoys playing basketball with friends and getting out on the water every chance he gets. After busy weeks at the restaurant, he heads to the spa at The Standard for some much-needed downtime.

For those who wonder where a chef goes when he wants to dine out, we were able to get a diverse list of personal favorites from Chef Leon himself. French cuisine is his favorite—which makes sense when you consider the early years of his career—but his collection of go-to restaurants is definitely diverse. His favorite spots are those owned or operated by his close friends in the culinary world, including Sakaya Kitchen, Blackbrick and Pascal’s on Ponce.

When he’s craving something healthy, you can find Chef Leon at Ten Fruits, a Miami favorite for fresh juice, acai bowls, and salads. And of course, because no collection of Miami restaurants would be complete without Cuban cuisine, his top spot for Cuban food with his family is the Latin America, located on 8th Street.

Put Your Skills to the Test with a Chef Leon Original

Curious to see if you have what it takes to wow your friends and family with an original recipe from Chef Leon himself? He recently released an original recipe for everyday chefs to try at home, with ingredients and steps that are simple enough that even amateur cooks can enjoy a meal worthy of a gourmet restaurant. His Seaspice Shrimp Linguini takes full advantage of the signature flavors of Miami, incorporating fresh seafood for a deliciously decadent dish. With just the right combination of pantry basics like chicken stock, garlic, olive oil, white wine and butter, you can whip up a serving of Chef Leon’s trademark talent, all from your very own kitchen.

Discover More Culinary Talent in the Best Restaurants in Miami

Want more of the one-of-a-kind flavor and culinary creativity that Miami is known for? Check out our guide to Miami’s top restaurants and discover your newest favorite today.

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