The sea brings innovation in new foods that will also play a key role in combatting climate change.
The chef Ángel León’s known across Spain as el Chef del Mar and famous for his “cuisine of the unknown seas” has dedicated his efforts to bring little-known marine species to the fore. He was recognized in 2010 with his first Michelin star. By the time the restaurant earned its third star, León had become a fixture on Spain’s gastronomy scene: a trailblazing chef determined to redefine how we treat the sea. It was his discovery of the culinary use of the marine grains which cling to the base of the eelgrass in his native Cadiz in Spain which evolved into the innovative project at Aponiente, to recast the common eelgrass as a potential superfood, albeit one whose singular lifecycle could have far-reaching consequences:
“In a world that is three-quarters water, it could fundamentally transform how we see oceans,” says León. “This could be the beginning of a new concept of understanding the sea as a garden.”
Pioneering project on a world scale.
The project was launched in 2017 – the first of its kind in all the world. The undertaking allowed for the recovery of the native species, Zostera marina, helping to generate greater marine biodiversity, thus enriching our ecosystem and strengthening the struggle against climate change. Lab tests hint at its tremendous potential: gluten-free, high in omega-6 and -9 fatty acids, and contains 50% more protein than rice per grain, according to Aponiente’s research. And all of it growing without freshwater or fertiliser.
At Aponiente’s research lab, we have achieved the cultivation of Zostera marina and its seed – marine grain. For the first time ever, controlled crops have been successfully grown. Never before has this goal been reached.