A groundbreaking and successful first, the Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) in 2015 gathered about 1,381 delegates and 6,000 visitors feasting on countless dishes from participating countries around the globe.
Beginning today until Saturday, the second MFM returns as the only Asian edition of the most important international gastronomy congress in the world.
The congress organizers—including the Department of Tourism, Arum Estrategias Internationalizacion, Foro de Debate and other MFM partners— expressed nothing but excitement as they shared the highlights and key factors of MFM 2016 at a press conference on Wednesday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
First off, the theme. Whereas the first edition carried the theme “The Philippines and Spain: A 300-year Gastronomic Journey,” this year’s festival is themed “The Manila: Galleon: East Meet West,” to coincide with the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Galleon Trade that linked Asia with the western world in 1565.
“The focus of this year’s event would be bringing in more of the rest of Asia and the rest of the world to Manila, branding the city as a gastronomic center in Asia,” Tourism Assistant Secretary Art Boncato told the media.
In effect, the chef presenters this year are more diverse. From just four countries in 2015 (Spain, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines,), visitors of the second edition will get to meet distinguished chefs based in Spain, Japan, China, Peru, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Mexico, Philippines and United States of America.
The reputable lineup of chefs include Joan Roca (3 Michelin Stars, No. 1 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015”); Dani Garcia (2 Michelin Stars); Jordi Butron (top pastry chef); Angel Leon (2 Michelin Stars); Ricard Camarena (1 Michelin Star); Yoshihiro Narisawa (2 Michelin Stars); Nurdin Topham (1 Michelin Star); Virgilio Martinez (1 Michelin Star); Kevin Cherkas; David Thompson (No. 22 in “World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015”); Jungsik Yim (No.22 in “50 Best Asia 2015’); Enrique Olvera (No. 16 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015”); Jorge Vallejo (No. 35 “World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015”); Myke “Tatung” Sarthou; Michael Aspiras (Manila Chef of the Year); Romy Dorotan and Amy Basa (“2014 America’s Best New Chefs and Restaurant”); Leah Cohen, Paul Qui (“2014 America’s Best New Chefs and Restaurant”); Jose Andres and Michael Voltaggio (Top Chef season 6 winner).
Aside from the diversity of the chefs, this year’s MFM is also growing in numbers.
“We are very pleased that as of today we have a total of 1,100 delegates registered in the international gastronomic conference and we expect that to grow to 1,500 on the day. We’ve added a total of 1,000 sq. meters now totaling to 6,000 sq. meters. The expo will also be having 270 booths this year, coming from about 171 booths last year,” Bancato proudly said.
As for MFM goers, they are up for one memorable gastronomy experience filled with travelling cuisine, innovative ingredients, new food technologies and out-of-box philosophies—all to be presented in a food tunnel resembling a galleon.
To start off the congress, Antonio Sanchez de Mora will hold the historical session “Flavours that Sailed Across the Seas,” meant to underscore the different ingredients that travel through the galleon trade.
Another exciting highlight is the returning “Regional Lunches” focusing on the basic tastes of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory. Today features “Luzon & Panlasa;” to be followed by breakfast food at “Visayas & Almusal” on day 2. On the closing day, traditional and modern Philippine street food takes centerstage at “Mindanao & Streetfood.” The program is in partnership with Department of Agriculture.
There will also be booths for buyers and traders to highlight their gourmet and unique products.
Finally, in an effort to put the Philippines in the culinary map of the world, MFM 2016 also goes outside SMX. There’s the ongoing “Flavors of the Philippines,” which activates the food events in different regions, cities, municipalities and provinces around the country for the whole month of April, as well as the upcoming “World Street Food Congress” slated for April 20 to 24 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
“We hope that all of these events will awaken our consciousness [toward]our own local ingredients, cuisine and flavors,” Boncato concluded.