Jaime Rodríguez and Sebastián Pinzón
The concept: Chefs Jaime Rodríguez and Sebastián Pinzón spent years exploring the Caribbean coast of Colombia to perfect their proposition before opening, meeting indigenous people and discovering flavours and ingredients they had no idea existed. They researched techniques and documented recipes that were in danger of being lost in a bid to capture the authentic identity of the region – the research initiative was dubbed Proyecto Caribe Lab.
The experience: Despite being only two years old, Celele has become the jewel in the crown of Cartagena’s burgeoning culinary scene, with the 30-cover restaurant a must-visit gastronomic stop for the legion of tourists who flock to the colonial city. In 2019, it was selected as the winner of the Miele One To Watch Award. Diners can choose from the à la carte menu, but for the full experience a 10-course tasting menu explores everything the Caribbean has to offer, accompanied by a thoughtful drinks flight of regional craft beers, cocktails made with exotic Colombian fruits, fermented spirits and wines.
What will I eat? Casabe bread, made from cassava (yuca) flour, is followed by a variety of seafood dishes, including sea snail with corn textures and melt-in-the-mouth goat (stewed in coconut milk and served with sundried shrimp rice) from the arid plains of the Guajira peninsula in the northernmost part of Colombia, before finishing on a trio of desserts that includes traditional Caribbean candies.
Bonus point: Social causes were always at the heart of the project, with the aim to improve the lives of farmers, peasant families, artisans and micro-producers the chefs met across Caribbean Colombia by sourcing all ingredients locally, as well as promoting biodiversity and sustainability.