It’s going to be an exciting summer for the Philippine culinary scene as the most important gastronomy event in the world comes back to Manila for the second run of its only Asian edition – Madrid Fusiόn Manila (MFM).
With the theme “The Manila Galleon: East meets West”, this year’s MFM celebrates the 450th anniversary of the Galleon Trade that linked Asia to the western world. The event will be headlined by twenty-one of the most influential and avant-garde chefs representing both cultures.
The three-day culinary event will be held on April 7 to 9 at the SMX Convention Center Manila, SM Mall of Asia Complex. One of its main highlights is the International Gastronomy Congress where these chefs will present the latest innovations and trends in culinary arts from 10 different countries. These Michelin-starred chefs are expected to speak to an audience of more than a thousand chefs, culinary instructors, and food enthusiasts.
Alongside the Gastronomy Congress, MFM will have a 3-day trade exhibition of the best products and the most delectable ingredients for Euro-Oriental cuisine.
A month-long nationwide food festival entitled Flavors of the Philippines bring the MFM experience to various parts of the archipelago as it holds a series of culinary events across the Philippines. This nationwide food festival will fully display the best Philippine produce and some brilliant Filipino culinary talents.
“We are really excited for Madrid Fusion Manila 2016! We can’t wait to enjoy this event as we expect more attendees and delegates from across the globe this year. We are encouraging everyone to participate in this big gastronomy event in celebration with the anniversary of the trade between Manila and Acapulco during the Spanish rule of the Philippines,” says Ramon Jimenez Jr., Secretary of the Philippine Department of Tourism.
Here is a sneak peak of the 21 chefs who will be sharing their knowledge and ideas during the event:
2 Michelin Stars
Ángel Leόn is a vocational marine. His passion for the sea and fishing is easily seen in the way he presents his dishes. He makes full use of natural resources from the sea such as algae, salt and fish. Leόn is one of the Spanish chefs who performed a study on marine products that contributed to the application of several new culinary techniques such as the usage of the vitreous humor fish as a natural emulsifier and fish scales as a natural thickener.
2 Michelin Stars
Dani Garcia believes that he was born with a gift and a calling — to dedicate his life to the culinary world through reinventing dishes. Garcia’s culinary work pays homage to his land’s folklore and nature, valuing the authentic Málaga and Andalusian cuisine. He has dedicated his creativity to the Hotel Puente Romano.
No. 7 “50 Best Asia 2015”
No. 22 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015”
David Thompson is renowned as a worldwide authority on Thai food. He has worked on ‘Thai Food,’ a highly regarded cookbook, which provides a comprehensive overview of Thai cuisine. The book won major cookbook awards such as being voted among the top ten best cookbooks written according to the Observer Food Monthly. After 20 years of cooking Thai food, he opened Nahm at the Metropolitan in Bangkok making it different from his previous restaurants for using uncommon local ingredients to attain a much higher level of cooking.
Pujol, Mexico City
No. 9 “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015”
No. 16 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015”
Enrique Olvera Pujol opened his first restaurant in Mexico City, after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 2000. Since then, he has been exploring local flavours, taking advantage of ancestral and contemporary techniques. Above all, he values tradition, product quality and attention to detail.
El Celler de Can Roca, Girona
3 Michelin Stars
Joan Roca is known as “The Lord of the Kitchen” and “The Bastion of Contemporary Cuisine Par Excellence.” Roca has mastered combining the traditional classic cuisine of his region with the most advanced techniques today. This chef believes in two fundamental ingredients for every dish he serves at El Celler de Can Roca: love and affection in the form of approachability. Roca’s restaurant’s strengths lies in complementarity, elegance, precision, technology, art, knowledge, and new culinary concepts.
“A man who thinks in terms of sweets”
Jordi Butron opened an extraordinary restaurant in Barcelona 15 years ago. Espaisucre offers what’s known as “sweet cuisine,” a branch of contemporary cuisine that has seen an authentic revolution in recent decades. Butrón has introduced countless dishes and new techniques. His ideas remain strong in each of the creations he presents.
Quintonil, Mexico DF
No. 6 “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurant 2015”
No. 35 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”
Jorge Vallejo is a Mexican chef who advocates using products from the nation’s small agricultural producers. This chef employs a contemporary take on home cooking. Being knowledgeable about indigenous ingredients, Chef Vallejo uses his creativity to elevate traditional Mexican cuisine at Quintonil.
Minibar, Washington, & Others
José Andrés was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people and was elected by the James Beard Foundation as an “Outstanding Chef.” Andrés is recognized internationally as a culinary innovator, creator, educator, television communicator, philanthropist and director of ThinkFoodGroup, an innovative company with a mission of changing the world through the power of food. He pioneered and introduced in the United States the concept of Spanish “tapas”. He was noted for his contribution to avant-garde cuisine through 22 different restaurants and firms located in Washington DC, Miami, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Mexico.
Jung Sik Dang, Seoul
No. 10 “50 Best Asia 2015”
Jungsik Yim was born in South Korea and trained in the West at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He is known as the most brilliant representative of New Korean Cuisine. Chef Yim has managed to bring the Korean cuisine (mostly acidic, bitter and with hot flavors) to western palates by means of the most innovative techniques such as vacuum boiling, texturizing, and impregnations. This chef is an interesting and revealing example of what both culinary crossbreeding and fusion cuisines are capable of delivering.
Cuca Restaurant, Bali
Kevin Cherkas is a Canadian-born chef who has won a lot of awards in the culinary world including the gold and silver medals at the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs national and regional competitions in 2003, a gold medal at the USA Chicago Culinary Salon Team Canada in 2001, and three gold medals at the British Columbia Chefs Association Hot Culinary Competition in 2000. Most notably, he joined the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest in 2001 as an apprentice representative and finished in fifth place. In 2013, He and his wife Virginia fulfilled their dream to open Cuca Restaurant, a casual destination that serves tapas, cocktails and desserts. At Cuca, Kevin’s cooking philosophy consists of serving western cooking made exclusively from the best local ingredients. He handpicks the tastiest products Indonesia offers and brings them to a new level by applying techniques acquired through his outstanding culinary career.
Pig and Khao, New York
Leah Cohen is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Leah has brought the bold flavors of Asian street food to the Big Apple, combining a culinary technique honed in the city’s top kitchens with the bold flavors found in the restaurants and food stalls of Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia. Leah’s cooking is innovative and strikingly authentic, and is on display daily at Pig & Khao restaurant on the lower east side of NYC. Pig & Khao has been voted the Best Asian Restaurant in NYC by Zagat, and the Best SE Asian Restaurant in NYC by the Epoch Times. Leah has appeared on several television programs such as NBC’s “Today Show,” “CBS This Morning” and “VH1’s Morning Buzz.” She is a regular judge on the Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” and has been featured in Food & Wine, Saveur, and Harper’s Bazaar among other publications.
Scout’s Honor; Le Petit Soufflé; Garde Manger
“Manila Chef of the Year”
Long before he was amassing awards in culinary competitions in the Philippines and abroad, Michael “Miko” Aspiras was already getting high praises from his colleagues and the local food and beverage industry. His pastry executions are unblemished, his flavour combinations remain unquestioned, and his work ethic is undeniably professional. Chef Aspiras has bagged multiple citations in the Philippine Culinary Cup as well as Gold medals in the World Association of Chefs Societies Congress in Korea and Hong Kong Culinary Classics. These have resulted to numerous citations as a “chef to watch out for” by recognized publications, a declaration as “chef of the year” by Esquire Philippines for 2015, consultancy projects for Magnum Cafe in Manila and Malaysia, and a coaching stint at the most recent Coupe de Monde dela Patisserie in Lyon, France. These days, Miko has been busy running establishments that have been shaking up Manila’s already-vibrant food scene. To date, he is operates three local hotspots: Scout’s Honor, a craft cookie shop; Le Petit Soufflé, a French-Japanese bistro; and Garde Manger, a cold kitchen churning salads and fresh juices.
Ink., United States
“Top Chef 6th Season Winner”
Chef Michael Voltaggio is the chef and owner of highly acclaimed restaurant Ink. as well as artisanal sandwich concept Ink.sack – both in Los Angeles. Living in LA since 2008, Voltaggio has been inspired by its diverse ethnicities, cultures and industries. This chef has reinterpreted a new class of fine dining at ink., dubbing the food and experience as “modern Los Angeles.” Ink. has been named as the “Best New Restaurant in America” by GG Magazine, and has been heralded by critics for “serious food that is playful, visually stunning and flawlessly executed.” Michael was a finalist for the James Beard “Best New Restaurant” award in 2009. That same year, he also earned the title of Top Chef on Bravo TV’s Emmy Award-winning show of the same name. Chef Voltaggio has been in the kitchen since he was 15 years old. By 21, he had completed his formal training at the venerable Greenbrier Culinary Apprenticeship Program.
Alab by Chef Tatung, Manila
Myke “Tatung” Sarthou is a successful chef and restaurateur with his restaurant aptly named Alab by Chef Tatung, a product of his fiery passion for Filipino Cookery. His exposure to different professional landscapes has given him an outlook on the culinary world as a historian, chemist, business man, writer, and teache. These perspectives allow him to weave a tapestry that clearly defines and recognizes what Filipino Food really is as well as what it can be. Using different tools and methods from his arsenal like cooking shows, educational talks and demos, and advocate groups, he spreads awareness and recognition of Philippine regional cuisines for what they are and what they represent in the country’s cultural identity. This chef is opening a new Galleon Trade themed restaurant named Agos alongside the Alab.
Nur, Hong Kong
1 Michelin Star
Nurdin Topham opened his restaurant Nur in Hong Kong in 2014. The first syllable of his name means “light” in Arabic, a meaning that truly resonates with his dishes. His vision is to serve a holistic food experience with consideration of nutrition and exploration of ingredients within the region. The restaurant is now one of China’s leading dining destinations offering creative, inventive, and
intelligent gastronomy. Topham spent his time at the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen exploring the deliciousness of food focusing on natural fermentation.
“2014 America’s Best New Chefs & Restaurants”
Paul Qui was born in Manila and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine. Chef Qui takes a modernist approach towards food, where there are no boundaries. Throughout the years, he learned to adapt traditional Japanese dishes with an eye toward local flavour, all while incorporating influences from South East Asian and European cuisine. He is the chef and owner of Qui, the Best New Restaurant in America 2014 by GQ title holder. He is also the co-founder and chef of East Side King Thai-Kun, a group of Asian-inspired street food truck/trailers and restaurants in Austin, TX. In 2013, Paul was honored by the Texas Legislature for his work and achievements as a chef and restaurateur.
Richard Camarena, Valencia
1 Michelin Star
Richard Camarena’s eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant also boasts of three Repsol Suns. The Valencian chef’s gastronomic vision focuses on Western Mediterranean cusisine. Camarena’s cooking stands out for its ability to capture the intense flavor of each product without sacrificing aesthetics and while trying out the latest techniques. This chef is a recipient of various awards including the Chef Award Millesime by Cruzcampo Gran Reserva 2014 and Central Bar Best Gastronomic Restaurant Almanac 2014.
Romy Dorotan & Amy Besa
Purple Yam, New York, Manila
“2014 America’s Best New Chefs & Restaurants”
Amy Besa and her husband Chef Romy Dorotan, have been in the restaurant business in New York City for the past 20 years. They opened Cendrillon, a Filipino pan-Asian restaurant in SoHo, Manhattan in 1995 and closed it after 13 years and re-opened Purple Yam in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn in November 2009. Purple Yam Malate, their first branch in the Philippines, opened on July 4, 2014 in Amy’s childhood home within one of the oldest historical districts of Manila. Amy and Chef Romy are co-authors of the award winning cookbook, Memories of Philippine Kitchens (2006, Stewart, Tabori and Chang, NYC). The book received the Jane Grigson Award for distinguished scholarship and research and the quality of its writing by the International Association of Culinary Professionals in Chicago in 2007. A revised and updated edition of the book was released in 2012 with the last chapter revised to reflect the move from Cendrillon to Purple Yam and the authors’ purpose of showcasing Asian culinary values and re-discovering the Filipino palate. Amy is the founder of the Ang Sariling Atin Culinary Heritage Institute in the Philippines.
1 Michelin Star
No. 1 “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015”
Chef Virgilio Martinez’s style when it comes to food is avant-garde Peruvian. He opened his restaurant Central in 2009 and has since led the formation of an interdisciplinary team combining gastronomy with nutrition, history, anthropology, and science. He regularly travels across Peru to discover and study local ingredients. His restaurant, which captured the top spot on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014, takes its customers on a vertical journey across Peru’s landscape. Martinez serves native ingredients sourced at various altitudes. This chef’s restaurant celebrates Peru’s biodiversity and ancient Andean heritage, delighting guests with inventive creations.
2 Michelin Stars
No. 2 “50 Best Asia 2015”
No. 8 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015”
Yoshihiro Narisawa believes in the marriage of sustainability and gastronomy. He is a pioneer of cuisine connected to the preservation of the natural environment. Having traveled to his producers’ fields, having stepped into the earth, and having built a relationship with the natural world, he has created dishes such as: “Soil Soup”, “Water Salad”, and “Essence of the Forest,” proving that several unexpected natural elements such as soil can be eaten. This chef’s calling towards the forest captured the attention of chefs around the world who in turn, directed attention to their own countries’ natural lands. Because of this, Narisawa was named the “Most Influential Chef” at Madrid Fusiόn in 2010.
For more information about the event, please visit www.madridfusionmanila.com