The Department of Tourism (DOT) tapped some of the most recognized Filipino chefs/ restaurateurs and local farm owners to give a taste of Filipino cuisines and ingredients, and a glimpse of the culinary talents featured in this year’s edition of Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM), Sunday at a restaurant South of Manila.
Chef Tony Boy Escalante hosted a sumptuous lunch for a small group of guests that include foreign journalists at his eponymous restaurant Antonio’s in Tagaytay City, with two of MFM starring chefs Robby Goco of Green Pastures (2017), and Miko Aspiras of Le Petit Souffle (2016), along with chefs Josh Boutwood of The Test Kitchen, and Nicco Santos of Hey Handsome, featuring the freshest produce and farm-to-table ingredients from Earth beat Farms, Teraoka, and Earthflora, Inc., among others.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said the DOT is just warming up as it whets the appetite of the global audience to what is in store on the third helping of MFM on 4 to 6 April 2017. “This is just an appetizer for the ‘next gastronomic sensation’ awaiting at MFM’s third run,” she went on to say in an issued statement, adding that among DOT’s top priorities includes selling the Philippines as a culinary destination.
According to DOT Director Verna Buensuceso, bringing Madrid Fusion to the Philippines “started the ball rolling for the country to be known for its cuisines and ingredients.” She said it helped that Madrid Fusion is an established gastronomic brand, inviting world renowned chefs Joan Roca, Elena Arzak became much easier.
Goco could not hide his excitement to be part of this year’s edition of MFM. He said he has been working with his culinary team on his presentation for the gastronomy congress. The challenge is to present something new and novel—the “next gastronomic sensation, so to speak,” added the pioneer in slow food movement and sustainable dining experience in the Philippines.
He will be joined by equally renowned Filipino chefs Gene Gonzales of Café Ysabel, and Jordy Navarro of Toyo Eatery to give a talk and culinary presentation at the gastronomy congress in this year’s edition of MFM.
Meanwhile, 28-year-old farm owner Enzo Pinga of Earthbeat Farms proudly showcased their harvest that day and talked about the fast growing farm-to-table business in the Philippines, along with fellow agri-entrepreneurs Raphael Teraoka of Teraoka Farms and Nicolo Aberasturi of Earthflora, Inc. Pinga, who never planned to go into farming but was eventually dragged into doing the business over time, sees this niche market of farm-to-table to become part of a growing “lifestyle movement” in the country in the next couple of years.
International lifestyle columnist Daven Wu of DestinAsian, on the other hand, has only good words to say about his first Filipino cuisine experience. “The restaurants we’ve been to and the chefs and farmers we’ve met are such an eye opener. Their commitment and enthusiasm are simply amazing,” the Singaporean author added, describing Filipino cuisine “surprising.”
He however admits that “while there is so much to discover in flavors and with culture influences so well developed,” people in the West and greater Asia know little about Filipino cuisines.
For full calendar of events and more information on MFM, log on to its official website at http://www.madridfusionmani
Madrid Fusión Manila is a joint partnership between the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines and Madrid Fusión organizers Foro de Debate and ARUM.