The Philippines is confirmed to host the very first Madrid Fusión – Manila in April 2015. Madrid Fusión, Spain’s famed culinary event, has established itself as one of the leading international gastronomy gatherings held annually in Madrid and attended by elite chefs and experts in the culinary field to discuss trends, evolution of tastes, and new food habits.
President Aquino with the organizers. (From left) Lourdes Plana (Managing Director of Foro de Debate, S.L.), Ana Capel Rivas (International Director of Foro de Debate, S.L.), Maria Leonor Esteban (Gastronomy and Special Projects of Arum Estrategias Internacionalización) and Inigo Cañedo (Managing Director of Arum Estrategias Internacionalización).
No less than President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Spain on the conduct of Madrid Fusion-Manila 2015, done at the sidelines of the President’s visit to Spain last week.
The signing ceremony was led by Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. and Spain’s Secretary of State for Trade and President of ICEX (Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior) Jaime García-Legaz. President Aquino was joined by Philippine Ambassador to Spain Carlos Salinas and the other Cabinet Secretaries. The event formalizes the partnership agreement signed earlier in July between the DOT and Spanish organizers Foro de Debate, S.L. and Arum Estrategias Internacionalización (Arum).
The Manila edition will be one of the highlights of Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015 to help establish the Philippines as a focal point of gastronomic interest worldwide. Slated on 23 – 25 April 2015 at the SMX Convention Center Manila, the event will have two major components: a gastronomy congress and a trade exhibition which aims to showcase avant-garde cuisine and the coming together of international gastronomy. This global event is envisioned to showcase an encounter between Spanish and Filipino chefs to celebrate 300 years of shared history.
President Aquino with the top Spanish chefs. (L-R) Paco Torreblanca, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Jose Luis Gonzalez and Mario Sandoval.
Arum’s Maria Leonor Esteban and Iñigo Cañado and Foro de Debate’s Lourdes Plana and Ana Capel Rivas were also present, together with four Spanish Star Chefs who have confirmed their participation in the Manila edition, namely, Andoni Aduriz, Mario Sandoval, Paco Torreblanca and Jose Luis Gonzalez.
Aduriz is chef and owner of the restaurant Mugaritz (2 Michelin stars) in the Basque countryside near San Sebastian and as a disciple of Ferrán Adriá (from Catalan, Spain and considered one of the best chefs in the world), has famously bridged the gap between cook and chemist with his adventurous cuisine that is at the same time playful and yet deeply rooted in his respect for nature’s bounty. He is known for his local, hyper-seasonal, and progressive dishes and for being one of the ground-breakers of Modernist Cuisine. Mugaritz has consistently been among the top 10 restaurants in the world (theworlds50best.com) since 2006.
Sandoval is the talented chef the restaurant Coque (1 Michelin star), in Humanes just outside Madrid. The restaurant was opened by his grandfather and is now run by Mario and his three brothers (Rafael – sommelier, Jose Ramón – grill chef, and Juan Diego – maître d’). Mario took over the reins of Coque after studying with mentors Arzak, Subijana, and Ferrán Adría, and has succeeded in bringing prestige, innovation, and creativity to the traditional cuisine and products of Madrid.
Torreblanca is a master pastry chef from Alicante known to be the “agitator” behind patisserie in haute cuisine. One of his fascinations is designing chocolates by blending cocoa with spices and ingredients from all over the world. His use of extra virgin olive oil to replace cocoa butter has created chocolates of amazing smoothness. In Spain, he is famous for his delicate artistic creations and for having made the spectacular wedding cake for the Prince of Asturias, the present King.
Gonzalez, who hails from Santander, Spain, was once part of El Bulli, Arzak, Mugaritz, Noma, and El Celler de Can Roca – which are top Michelin-star dining spots in the world. After a stint as chef de cuisine at Sofitel and Shangri-La in the Philippines, Gonzalez put up Vask at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, designed to reflect the flavors and cooking techniques Gonzalez learned while working in some of the world’s best restaurants, as well as from his travels.
“We are so thrilled that the event will coincide with Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015. Visitors around this period will not only experience the build-up of exciting VPY activities, but also enjoy the added gastronomical fun from participating in Madrid Fusion-Manila. We thank the organizers for bringing this event for the first time in the country at an important moment in Philippine tourism, as we launch VPY 2015 and host other important international meetings, events, and conferences,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. said.