“You have to open El Cielo in Madrid”, King of Spain congratulates Juan Manuel Barrientos for his Michelin-starred restaurant

Juan Manuel Barrientos

This week, the King of Spain, Felipe VI, was passing through Colombia. In the midst of the invitation made by the President of the Republic to participate in the XXVII Biennial Congress of the World Association of Jurists, the monarch visited different tourist areas of the national territory. El Cielo restaurant, the first in Colombia to be awarded a Michelin star, was part of the King’s agenda, and Juan Manuel Barrientos, founder of the establishment, shared what he experienced with the highest member of Spanish royalty.

“When the King of Spain, after serving you a magical menu in Barranquilla, tells you ‘you have to open El Cielo in Madrid’, well, hala, El Cielo Madrid. Thank you President Duque and First Lady María Juliana for the great reactivation in Colombia, for the largest and most ambitious environmental project ‘Road to zero’ to become carbon neutral in Colombia in 2050, and for today to receive for the Country the “World Peace and Liberty Award” called the ‘Nobel’ for democracy “The chef wrote on his Instagram account in a publication that he accompanied with photographs of him next to his special and prestigious guests.

It was on December 3, at the closing of the event, held in Barranquilla, that the national government received, from the hands of the president of the World Jurist Association, Javier Cremades, the World Peace Liberty Award. For the first time in its history, it was not given to a particular person, but rather to the community. In the past, the accolade was held by political figures such as Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

According to King Felipe VI of Spain, Colombian democracy deserves the World Peace & Liberty because “It is the highest recognition that the World Jurist Association grants to people or entities that have stood out for their commitment to democratic values ​​and the rule of law.”

“Behind this historic lunch for the country there are thousands of applause. First, for the El Cielo family and the team in charge of making sure everything went flawless. Ángel flew in six days Medellín-Miami-Washington DC-Miami-Barranquilla to, together with the team of Carlos, Kelly, Álvaro, Dario, Juan David, Ángela, Will, work for four days, ‘non stop’. Thanks to María Paula, Rodrigo, Felipe, Andrés, the presidency team and all the directors of the World Jurist Association. And nothing would have been possible without Dr. Ardila, his wife and the Ardila Lule Organization and the good energy of Claudia Gurisatti and Santi Giraldo ”, Barrientos detailed in the stories on his Instagram account.


Juan Manuel Barrientos, founding chef of the establishment, as mentioned previously, was awarded a Michelin star, an exclusive award that is also the greatest achievement that a chef can achieve in his trade. The Michelin guide is a gastronomic publication that recommends and recognizes the best restaurants in the worldIn other words, they deliver a quality seal to diners who, sure of the recommendations given by the entity, go to those restaurants.

“My team and I are very honored and we receive with great humility this recognition of becoming the first Colombian restaurant to appear in the Michelin guide. This is a great achievement for Colombian cuisine. I am proud that the gastronomy of my country is recognized as a world cuisine and I hope this is only the beginning to show the great impact that our gastronomy and products can have by transcending borders “, assured the chef.

Barrientos received the honor due to his management at El Cielo Restaurant at its headquarters in Washington, in the United States. The Colombian restaurant and hotel company was founded 14 years ago and, in addition to its headquarters in Medellín and Washington DC, opened in 2007 and 2020, respectively, it is located in Bogotá, (2011) and Miami (2015).

On the days of the delivery of the star, Barrientos was in an interview with José Andrés, a Spanish chef who has two Michelin stars with his Minibar restaurant. The chef asked Juan Manuel questions; Pepe Moncayo, from Cranes; and Danny Lledó, from Xiquet. What seemed like conventional conversation took an unexpected turn when José Andrés received a call from Gwendal Pullenec, the international director of the Michelin guide. Through tears, the three chefs were thrilled to Pullenec say: “I have good news. Its restaurants have earned a Michelin star. Congratulations”.

“I forgot English”, Barrientos said at the moment in which he had to give his words of thanks. In the following video the moment of the news was recorded.

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“You have to open El Cielo in Madrid”, King of Spain congratulates Juan Manuel Barrientos for his Michelin-starred restaurant