Madrid Fusion Manila
Philippine cuisine is a fundamental element of the identity and expressions that are distinctly Filipino. The cooking methods differ from one region or province to another. It evolved from the diverse histories of its 7,107 islands, ranging from its Austronesian origins to the infusion of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and American influences. According to President Benigno S. Aquino III in his welcoming message, “from the time ingredients are harvested to the moment when meals are served, our people [the Filipinos] take great care in giving the best in service and quality.”
Recently, a number of globally renowned chefs took the center stage in Manila, for the Madrid Fusion Manila, that reaffirmed the country’s gastronomical influence in Asia and highlghted Manila’s role as the center for culinary excellence in the region. In cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the event was held last 24-26 April 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. This is one of the major highlights of Visit the Philippines 2015 (VPY 2015). The country is privileged to showcase the creativity, ingenuity, and innovation that Filipino chefs can offer. Likewise, the country is also proud to showcase its cuisines that reflect its colourful history.
According to DOT Secretary, Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. in his welcoming message, “Madrid Fusion is known as one of the most important conferences for gastronomy in the 21st century.” Last April 2015, it was the second time that it has been organized outside Madrid, Spain since it began in 2003; and the first time it has been held in Asia. Participants were very fortunate to have been served works of craftsmanship by Michelin-star and Repsol-sun chefs from Spain (Andoni Luis Aduriz, Elena Arzak, and Francis Paniego, among others), Singapore (Andre Chiang), Hong Kong (Alvin Leung), and the Philippines (Claude Tayag, Fernando Aracama, and Margarita Fores, among others). Likewise, according to Jaime Garcia-Legaz, Secretary of State for Trade of Spain, “it is an honor for the Government of Spain to take an active part in the very first Madrid Fusion Manila, which will contribute to turning the Philippines into a reference point for gastronomy in the region and strengthening the excellent relations between our two countries.”
The Madrid Fusion Manila had two major components: (1) a gastronomy congress; and (2) a trade exhibit. Both showcased modern cuisines and facilitated the congregation of the international culinary community’s various members and enthusiasts.
The AIM – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism was privileged to be granted visitor access to the trade exhibit, which was in conjunction with the congress. The first two days (24-25 April 2015) of the exhibit was exclusive to trade and food industry professionals while the last day (26 April 2015) was open to the public for a PHP 500.00 registration fee. In this trade exhibit, heirloom rice, cacao, fruits, cheese, coffee, sugar, vinegar, liquors, and other products from different regions in the Philippines were showcased. This is to give support the producers of these raw materials and motivate them to practice sustainable production.
Moreover, at the trade exhibit, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has its own booth promoting locally produced products – mangoes, bananas, local fruits, and other products produced domestically through traditional processes. Likewise, the TPB also has its own booth showcasing the different tourist destinations in the country.
|From left: (1) pork cheek burger with mayo and gorgonzola cheese and arroz con costilla de cerdo; (2) arroz con costilla de cerdo – rice with pork chop with onion, garlic fried with chorizo, spices, white wine, chicken stock|
The trade exhibit was also an opportune event for visitors to participate in various activities such as tasting seminars, degustation tunnels of premium wines, cheeses, caviar, jamon, heirloom rice, chocolates, olive oils, herbs, and spices. The Center was given the chance to encounter Michelin-starred Chef Kisko Garcia as he prepared pork cheek burger with mayonnaise and gorgonzola cheese and arroz con costilla de cerdo. It was also an honor to see Maestro Cortador Filipino, Michael Lopez Teves, the only Filipino awarded as the best carver of Jamon Iberico in the world, do his expertise.
|From left: (1) Session on “Carving Jamon Iberico Bellota and Cold Cuts by Terry Selection with Michael Lopez; (2) Madrid-based Michael Lopez Teves (Maestro Cortador Filipino) demonstrating how to carve Jamon Iberico|
Other seminars that the Center was able to participate include: Penedes, the origin of our wine by Avey; Riofrio, the finest and first organic caviar in the world by Terry Selection; Wines from Cataluna by Castell Del Remei; and Philippine Heirloom Rice at the Food Tunnel. Indeed, the Madrid Fusion Manila brought “to the foreground some of the best aspects of our (Spain and the Philippines) shared history: gastronomy, food, and beverages” as how Inigo Canedo, Director of Arum Estrategias Internacionalizacion, S.L., has put it.
In this contemporary time, we can anticipate fascinating and innovative developments in culinary tourism as food becomes highly global. A number of renowned chefs are seeking new ways to understand food; cook food; reinvent cuisines, and have gone as far as establishing specialty restaurants in the Philippines. Likewise, Filipinos are progressively introducing local cuisine worldwide by setting up restaurants abroad and eventually catapulting Filipino food to the world stage. Moreover, young Filipino chefs are also exploring places beyond the Philippines to advance their skills, and in the process contribute to the internationalization of Filipino cuisine. These observable facts in the food industry are promising for the Philippine culinary tourism – it jointly elevates standards of Filipino cuisine and introduce it to the world.
|From left: (1) Session on “Discover the Regional Cheeses from Spain” by Terry Selection with Chef Juan Carlos de Terry; (2) Interprofessional Porcino de Capa Blanca’s food demonstration with translator Isabel Cuervas and Michelin-starred Chef Kisko Garcia preparing the pork cheek burger with mayonnaise and gorgonzola cheese.|