From teenage dreams in Caracas Venezuela, to realizing a vision of creating one of South Florida’s most critically acclaimed restaurants, Edgar Leal is a profile in passion. Founder of Cacao in Coral Gables, recently named Best New Restaurant by both The Miami Herald and Florida Trend magazine, Leal boasts a list of accomplished culinary positions. At the age of 17, he became a chef in his native city of Caracas, Venezuala. After two years of training, his hard work was rewarded with the opportunity to work under celebrated Chef Pierre Blanchard at Caracas’ Deuxime Etage Restaurants.

After working for several years in Spain under a winner of the national award of gastronomy in Spain, Chef Iñaqui Izaguirre at Casa Carmona Restaurant in Seville, Leal returned home to Caracas where he would become Executive Chef of ARA Restaurant within three years. Guest chef at several prestigious festivals including at the world-renowned Le Café de Paris in Monte Carlo, Monaco, Leal decided it was time to perfect his skills at New York’s Culinary Institute of America, where he earned an A.O.S.

There in Gotham City, Leal interned at one of the ten best restaurants in the world, Daniel, as well as at the Three Star Michelin-rated Bulli in Barcelona, Spain. Today, Leal continues to add to his long list of distinctions which include being the first Venezuelan to present a dinner at the James Beard Foundation House in New York City in 2003.

His passion for life extends to his hobbies. A classical musician, Leal enjoys playing violin and classical guitar, savoring leisure time with wife Mariana Montero De Castro (Garde Manger/Chef de Partie at Cacao) and close friends, and traveling to places rich in history. While only 34, his dedication to enriching South Florida’s culinary scene is already being felt.






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