Who Won 2022's World's 50 Best Award For Sustainable Restaurant

Sustainability is the new indulgence in an age of rousing awareness over slowly dwindling natural resources. In the food service industry, a focus on seasonal menus, local food sourcing, and reducing carbon footprints has become paramount to the success of many businesses (per Plant Switch). Consumers note that environmentally friendly food practices are a major factor in choosing a restaurant, and the ocean-focused Spanish eatery that just won The World's 50 Best Restaurants sustainability award has their attention.

After venturing out to sea every morning to fish and find edible ocean fauna, Chef Ángel León returns to the laboratory at his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Aponiente (via Fine Dining Lovers). This is where he researches the new species of marine flora and underutilized fish that might make it onto his seafood-focused restaurant's ultra-creative and sustainable menu.

"Do you know we use only 20% of marine flora and fauna?" asks the world-renowned chef, who is excited about serving dishes featuring marine ingredients that would not usually make it onto the plate. Aponiente creates dishes with invasive crabs, tuna shins, and deep-water algae that are abundant but typically disregarded. But the wild marine-inspired dishes on the menu aren't the only reason that this restaurant received the sustainability award.

Aponiente serves up sustainability

Aponiente out of Cadiz, Spain was recognized by The World's 50 Best Restaurants when it received the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award for 2022. Setting the standard for environmentally friendly food practices, Aponiente focuses on sustainable fishing, marine conservation, and community outreach to lead the way with innovative fare that's responsibly sourced.

Marine-inspired dishes not only feature abundant seafood like mackerel and hake, but also focus on less familiar oceanic pantry staples like sea urchin and charcoal sardines that are in abundance but rarely make it to a restaurant. In addition, Aponiente sources local vegetables, eggs, and wine from purveyors walking on the same sustainable path. The menu features food from sustainable natural resources with the intention of showcasing a way to coexist and utilize foods affected by changing diets and climate conditions.

Keeping sustainability at the forefront of his restaurant, Chef Ángel León also collaborates with local fishing companies, research centers, and the University of Cadiz to help revive endangered and ignored marine life through education and improved fishing practices (via Fine Dining Lovers). The chef hosts workshops and children's camps at Aponiente to educate the community and future generations on the importance of sustainable food and practices within the restaurant industry.