The highly-acclaimed Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM), the first and only Asian edition of Madrid Fusion — Spain?s famous culinary event and one of the leading gastronomy gatherings in the world, made a successful, sizzling comeback last 7 to 9 April 2016 at the SMX Convention Center.

At the MFM 2016 Trade Exhibition. Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. showing a local produce to Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Jesus Gracia, while Lourdes Plana of Foro de Debate looks on.
At the MFM 2016 Trade Exhibition. Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. showing a local produce to Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Jesus Gracia, while Lourdes Plana of Foro de Debate looks on.

MFM 2016 witnessed a total of 8,616 trade expo attendees which was a 43% increase from last year?s attendance and 224 trade expo booths or 28% growth from 175 booths recorded in 2015. With a theme of The Manila Galleon: East Meets West, the international gastronomy congress had 1,436 delegates who joined the elite chefs and experts in the culinary field in discussing the latest trends, evolution of tastes, and new food habits. This famed global culinary event is part of the Department of Tourism (DOT)?s bigger and more exciting line-up of tourism product offerings showcasing the country?s competitive advantage as a multi-level destination under its Visit the Philippines Again (VPA) 2016 campaign.

?The Philippines really deserves recognition for being able to create a new reference for high quality gastronomy in the region. I was really impressed by the quality of the event and by the excellent organization of the team led by Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. of the DOT,? declared the Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Honorable Jesus Gracia.


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Hon. Luis Calvo, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, said “The Department of Tourism has really managed to make Madrid Fusion Manila even bigger and better than last year, which was really difficult. We are happy to have been able to take part again in this wonderful initiative that will help strengthen the links between our two countries.”

Michelin Star Chef Dani Garcia of Malaga, Spain during his presentation at the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 Gastronomy Congress held last 7-9 April 2016 at the SMX Convention in Pasay City.
Michelin Star Chef Dani Garcia of Malaga, Spain during his presentation at the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 Gastronomy Congress held last 7-9 April 2016 at the SMX Convention in Pasay City.

As chefs at Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) 2016 turned off the last stove burners, the international culinary rockstars, exhibitors, and foreign guests left Manila amazed at the local produce and homegrown culinary talents that they discovered in the Philippines. ?There is a lot of good ingredients in the Philippines, which should give everyone here the confidence to make it big,? noted Japanese Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa.

?This is the best thing about the Philippines? said Bali-based Chef Kevin Cherkas as he pointed to Filipino Chef Tatung Sarthou. ?Talent. You have great talent here like Tatung,? Chef Cherkas remarked.

Ms. Pilar Salas, gastronomy journalist for Agencia EFE, shared ?Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 was a great opportunity to discover new talents in Asia, as well as the products we have seen here in the Congress and at Farmers market. People in Europe aren?t so familiar with the Asian kitchen, or we only know more of Japanese or Thai cuisines. Philippine cuisine is very interesting and I think that it can travel well. I will be so glad to have a wonderful Philippine restaurant in my country.  I will really be happy.?

Organized by the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) , the Tourism Promotions Board(TPB), the Spanish organizations Foro de Debate and Arum Estrategias Internacionalizacion, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture  (DA)  and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 succeeded in showcasing the best of  Philippine cuisine, local produce, food products and exporters, and Filipino chefs against a dazzling background of international culinary legends, world-class gastronomical ideas and techniques.

?The Department of Agriculture was once again a proud partner of the Department of Tourism in the staging of Madrid Fusion Manila 2016.  Through MFM, the DA was able to successfully show to both local and international consumers and chefs the availability of various agricultural products and ingredients in our country and how these may be used in various food preparations.  We are looking forward to the third Madrid Fusion Manila,? Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat of the Department of Agriculture enthused.

Even the local visitors were impressed at the rediscovery of Philippine history, cuisine, and local ingredients during MFM 2016. Food writer Mr. Ige Ramos recounted, ?After listening to the lecture of Mexican Chef Jorge Vallejo, we take note not only of the things that we received during the Galleon Trade, but also of our contributions to other cultures. It?s a discovery of what we gave to other countries.?

Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. takes a slice of jamon, while Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Jesus Gracia and PAL’s Jaime Bautista look on
Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. takes a slice of jamon,
while Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Jesus Gracia and PAL’s Jaime Bautista look on

?I was happy to be able to attend this year?s Congress. It proved that the diversity in our cuisine is not a flaw, but rather an advantage. Most Filipinos look at our local cuisine as flawed for not having an identity of its own.  Look at the Mexicans and the Spanish, they are so proud of their colonial heritage from other cultures. Paella, for one, came from Arabic influences of mixing saffron with rice, meat and vegetables,? commented Dr. Fernando Zialcita, cultural anthropologist, sociologist, and professor at the Ateneo de Manila University.

?My takeaway from the limited time around the expo would be the local produce I discovered here, which I would definitely use in my next dish?, Operations Chef Paul Cottanceau-Poccard of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila said. ?I find Philippine cuisine excellent.  It?s a curious mix of European and Asian flavors.  And I think Filipino food is getting more recognized nowadays, with many Filipino restaurants now opening in Dubai, Singapore, and Hongkong.?

?My experience in MFM 2016 will help me in improving my culinary know-how and skills. I am certain my professors would echo the MFM lectures in our classroom for the next days and months?, said culinary student, Anthony Gabriel Manalastas.

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