He currently leads the Totem Miami restaurant, being considered the Ambassador of Latin American Cuisine after his culinary journey through Spain, France, Monaco, Chile, Japan, China, and the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
If there is anyone with firsthand experience who knows the ins and outs of the main Michelin-starred kitchens in the world, that is chef Edgar Leal.
It could be said that Leal is one of the most exceptional scholars of international gastronomy, having the impressive talent of “adapting,” the most sophisticated dishes to make them available for everyone.
Edgar Leal is a dreamer, an adventurer, and a culinary ambassador; but above anything else, he is a chef.
He is in charge of all the flavors of the Totem Miami restaurant, where he demonstrates his 20 years of culinary arts experience; this include the best education at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, an A.O.S, and internships with Daniel Boulud in New York, as well as Ferrán Adriá at the “El Bulli” in Barcelona, Spain.
“Welcome to the tribe,” is how Edgar greets all of his clients at his famous restaurant Totem located in the colorful district of Wynwood He is a passionate and talented chef, having been able to create one of the most praised restaurants in the south of Florida. The restaurant owes its success to the vast experience of Leal, as well as the innovative ideas of Daniel Materán, a millennial from Miami.
Creative and free-spirited, Chef Leal started to build his own destiny at the age of seventeen, when he decided to become a chef and forge a path for himself.
He started as an apprentice cook under the guidance of Chef Marc Provost at the Gazebo restaurant, in Caracas, his hometown. Later on, he got the opportunity to work with Chef Pierre Blanchard, at the Deuxième Ètage restaurants in Caracas.
He worked at the most renowned restaurants in the world, such as Casa Carmona, under Chef Iñaqui Izaguirre, winner of the National Gastronomy Award in Spain, as well as other important restaurants in France, Monaco, and Chile.
For Chef Leal, food has always been the door to a brand new world, a path that has taken him to many countries and where he has been able to learn about many cultures. As he continues to perfect his craft, he has become an Ambassador of Latin American Cuisine.
In 2002, he opened the restaurant Cacao located in Coral Gables with the help of his wife Mariana Montero de Castro, who is the chef and baker of the restaurant.
Cacao was named the Best Restaurant of Coral Gables by Wine Spectator. Edgar Leal has appeared in The New York Times”, “Time Magazine”, and on the NBC “Today Show”. Cacao was also named StarChefs Rising Star in 2004, one of the Best Restaurants of Miami by “Food & Wine”, as well as one of the Best Restaurants of the United States by “Zagat” that very same year.
Here we compile other milestones of his career:
• He was chosen as a consulting chef for the first luxurious Latin American restaurant in China, the Tao Tie Yuan, in Beijing.
• He had the honor of serving his culinary specialties to Japan’s Princess Takamado, at the South American Food Festival.
• In 2007, he was chosen as a distinguished guest chef by Johnson & Wales University in Miami, one of the most prestigious culinary arts institutions in the country.
• In 2008, Cacao was named the best Venezuelan restaurant in the food and drinks section of the “The Wall Street Journal”. Not so long ago, Chef Leal was selected to participate in a cooking television program of CASA Club TV, which will be broadcasted in all of South America.
• In 2009, he became a semifinalist in the Best Chef category of the James Beard Foundation Awards, the most important culinary award of the nation.
Chef Edgar Leal is available for interviews and cooking demonstrations on television shows.