It was the perfect opportunity for Spain to attempt a reconquista of the Philippines when The Peninsula Manila paired a tall, bearded and handsome Spanish chef with a pretty and dusky Filipina chef to celebrate over 400 years of Filipino-Hispanic friendship at a private dinner in Old Manila on May 5 for some 80 guests in honor of Madrid Fusion Manila 2015.
Instead, it was love at first bite.
When The Peninsula general manager Sonja Vodusek was approached by the Department of Tourism to participate in a one-night-only pop-up and “four hands” restaurant concept that would have a Filipino chef collaborating with a visiting Spanish chef, she readily agreed especially upon learning that the Philippines was going to be represented by one of the pillars of the local culinary industry and long-time friend of The Peninsula—legendary Chef Myrna Segismundo. It didn’t hurt either that leading the Spanish front was Chef Mario Sandoval, chef-patron of one Michelin star Coque Restaurant in Madrid.
It was a culinary match made in heaven and a fitting way for the Manila and the rest of the Philippines to say “Hola” and “Mabuhay” to the world and “Halika, kain na tayo!”
Meanwhile, a leading local fragrance manufacturer and retailer, Aficionado Germany Perfume has signed up with CN Ventures Ltd. of Thailand for the distribution of its perfume and personal care products in Bangkok malls and via online marketing to Thai university students.
The deal, signed by Aficionado international sales manager Tess Carandang and CN Ventures Ltd. president Roy Bateson at the Holiday Inn in Makati, is seen as a big move by the trail-blazing company headed by Joel Cruz as president and CEO towards the “Asean Integration 2015,” a regional initiative that will allow the import and export of products and services freely among the 10 member-countries, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Aficionado has also partnered with Brand Export, a consolidator headed by Tom Medina to penetrate key international markets with a dense presence of OFWs like the Middle East, parts of Europe, the US, and Asia-Pacific cities.