THE WAY FOR­WARD

SOME­TIMES IT TAKES HALF A CEN­TURY AND THE THREAT OF CLI­MATE CHANGE TO RE­AL­IZE IT’S TIME TO GO BACK TO OUR ROOTS—LIT­ER­ALLY. ON ITS THIRD YEAR, MADRID FUSIÓN MANILA DRAWS SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST REV­ERED CHEFS TO WEIGH IN ON THE FU­TURE OF GAS­TRON­OMY.

Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / APRIL - By Man­ica C. Tiglao

The third edi­tion of Madrid FusiÅn Manila brings some of the world’s most lauded chefs to the Philip­pines to talk sus­tain­able gas­tron­omy.

With var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional media out­lets fore­cast­ing the rise of Filipino cui­sine among the world’s most ex­cit­ing for the year, this month’s Madrid Fusión Manila 2017 sets the stage for pro­long­ing the Philip­pines’ mo­ment in the spot­light. The world’s big­gest and ar­guably most im­por­tant gas­tron­omy congress since its in­cep­tion in 2003, Madrid Fusión has con­sis­tently brought to­gether the best of the best chefs from all con­ti­nents to share in­for­ma­tion and pro­mote in­ven­tive new ways of pre­par­ing food and drink. Today, the Philip­pines re­mains its only part­ner in Asia, bring­ing ven­er­ated chefs in the league of An­doni Aduriz, Elena Arzak, Mario San­doval, and Paco Tor­re­blanca in past years to show­case their culi­nary prow­ess in Manila.

“It’s very good for the Philip­pines right now,” says Verna Buen­suceso, project di­rec­tor at the Depart­ment of Tourism, which first brought the event to Manila in 2015 in an ef­fort to pro­mote a dif­fer­ent facet of the Philip­pines. “Madrid Fusión Manila was about build­ing aware­ness and creat­ing the con­scious­ness of the Philip­pines as a cen­ter of gas­tron­omy in Asia, and I think we’ve been able to start that ball rolling.”

Of­ten passed over in fa­vor of its more pro­lific South­east Asian peers, Philip­pine cui­sine has been high­lighted in the past year in a way that it hasn’t be­fore, with a num­ber of Filipino res­tau­rants fi­nally field­ing at­ten­tion. One of them is Wash­ing­ton, D.C.’s Bad Saint, pur­veyor of “Filipino food worth the wait,” ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, and Bon Ap­pétit’s se­cond-best res­tau­rant in Amer­ica in 2016. Here and in other parts of the world, Filipino chefs are sim­i­larly get­ting no­ticed: Mar­garita Forés was named Asia’s Best Fe­male Chef in 2016; French-Filipino sis­ters and co-own­ers of Paris bistro Le Ser­van, Ta­tiana and Ka­tia Levha— who will be join­ing the star-stud­ded cast of chefs at Madrid Fusión Manila this year—have been cov­ered by the Wall Street Jour­nal,

Condé Nast Trav­eler, and Eater.com. If last year’s Madrid Fusión Manila, themed “The Manila Galleon: East Meets West,” cel­e­brated the 450th an­niver­sary of the Galleon Trade which opened up trade routes be­tween Asia, Europe, and the Amer­i­cas, this year’s sym­po­sium aims to pro­voke dis­cus­sion of a mat­ter that is press­ingly ur­gent and rel­e­vant to the world at large, with the theme “To­wards a Sus­tain­able Gas­tro­nomic Planet.” While re­cent years have in­tro­duced the lo­cal mar­ket to the farm-to-ta­ble move­ment, with more and more chefs con­sciously al­ter­ing their prac­tices to re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of food con­sump­tion and con­se­quently make the trade ben­e­fi­cial for the farm­ers who pro­duce the in­gre­di­ents, the move­ment has yet to reach its peak in the Philip­pines—and in other parts of the world for that mat­ter—de­spite the num­ber of big-name chefs who have in­grained the prac­tice in their re­spec­tive res­tau­rants. “The area of sus­tain­abil­ity is some­thing that af­fects not only gas­tron­omy but also dif­fer­ent sec­tors of so­ci­ety,” notes Buen­suceso, who ex­plains that the choice of theme is a dis­cus­sion be­tween the Madrid Fusión or­ga­niz­ers in Spain and their Philip­pine coun­ter­parts. “We think it’s very timely—the Philip­pines has so many nat­u­ral at­trac­tions, and we are a bio­di­ver­sity hotspot, which makes it even more rel­e­vant for us.”

Ahead of the Manila congress, Madrid Fusión 2017 shone the spot­light on those who have de­voted their ca­reers to sus­tain­able gas­tron­omy, such as Maria Fer­nanda di Gi­a­cobbe, re­cip­i­ent of the 2016 Basque World Culi­nary Prize—an award dubbed the No­bel Prize in the world of gas­tron­omy and given to chefs with projects of so­cial sig­nif­i­cance. In the span of a decade, di Gi­a­cobbe’s Project Bom­bon has slowly but steadily trans­formed the ca­cao in­dus­try in

“OUR PRAC­TICE HAS BE­COME A MES­SAGE THAT WE CAN CHANGE A COUN­TRY THAT HAS BEEN IMPOVERISHED, WE CAN CRE­ATE NEW JOBS THROUGH FOOD.”

her na­tive Venezuela by cham­pi­oning the bean to bar move­ment, di­rectly im­pact­ing the chain of ca­cao pro­duc­tion and creat­ing liveli­hood for thou­sands of fe­male Venezue­lan farm­ers. “It was a mo­ment of en­light­en­ment, like be­ing struck,” di Gi­a­cobbe told the Madrid au­di­ence on her com­mit­ment to up­lift­ing Venezuela through food. “I taught 10 women when Project Bom­bon be­gan, then they taught 330, and we now have thou­sands of women who have taken part. We like to say that the men in Venezuela har­vest the sea, but the women har­vest the co­coa.” While she may not have pi­o­neered the con­cept of so­cial en­trepreneur­ship, di Gi­a­cobbe sets a supreme ex­am­ple for her peers that theirs is an in­dus­try that can make a dif­fer­ence not only in sec­tors of agri­cul­ture and farm­ing, but also on coun­tries as a whole. “Our prac­tice has be­come a mes­sage that we can change a coun­try that has been impoverished, we can cre­ate new jobs through food,” di Gi­a­cobbe says. “The more we give, the more we get. We can change the world by lov­ing peo­ple.”

Among the culi­nary su­per­stars who will be tak­ing their cues from the Madrid ex­hi­bi­tions are Pe­dro Su­bi­jana (of three Miche­lin-starred Ake­larre in Spain), Gert de Man­geleer (three Miche­lin-starred Her­tog Jan in Bel­gium), Regis Marçon (three Miche­lin-starred Regis and Jac­ques Marçon in France), and Jordi Roca and Ale­jan­dra Ri­vas (three Miche­lin-starred El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, ranked se­cond on World’s 50 Best Res­tau­rants 2016), who will be joined by the Philip­pines’ Jordy Navarra (Toyo Eatery), Robby Goco (Cyma and Green Pas­tures), Gene Gon­za­lez (Café Ys­abel), and Josh Boutwood (The Test Kitchen). Though touch­ing on many var­i­ous top­ics in re­la­tion to gas­tron­omy’s role in our global eco­log­i­cal foot­print, the chefs’ pre­sen­ta­tions in Manila aim to col­lec­tively make a case for why sus­tain­abil­ity be­gins with food. Madrid Fusión Manila runs from April 6 through 8, 2017, at the SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, Pasay City. For ticket in­quiries and more in­for­ma­tion on the Fla­vors of the Philip­pines cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties, visit madrid­fu­sion­manila.com.

T&c

A PLAcE IN THE SuN Gert de Man­geleer, the youngest Bel­gian chef to helm a res­tau­rant with three Miche­lin stars, and his dim sum of lan­gous­tine and but­ter­nut at Her­tog Jan in Bel­gium.

Art oF PLAtInG From top: Dishes at the two Miche­lin-starred L’En­clume res­tau­rant in Eng­land; chef Si­mon ro­gan.

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