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One of the youngest top chefs in Manila is Bruce Ricketts nicknamed the industry’s “Boy Genius”

One of the youngest top chefs in Manila is Bruce Ricketts nicknamed the industry’s “Boy Genius”

Madrid Fusion Manila rolls out today

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FOR the first time in Asia, the Philippines plays host to the 13th Madrid Fusion culinary festival, which begins today at the SMX Convention Center.

Madrid Fusion is one of the biggest culinary events in the world held annually in the Spanish capital via conferences and trade shows, featuring many of the top chefs around the world. Its goal is to showcase new, cutting edge and avant-garde techniques, ingredients and recipes to create a different experience in food and dining.  And more specifically this year, Madrid Fusion hopes to put Manila at the center of culinary interest worldwide.

Brought to the Philippines through a partnership of the Department of Tourism and the SM Malls, this historic Manila edition celebrates the 370 years of common history between Spain and the Philippines—two nations that share deep and colorful cultures, which prominently include their vibrant and intertwined culinary traditions.

The Goose Station’s chef Rob Pengson will be one of the Filipino speakers during the congress

The Goose Station’s chef Rob Pengson will be one of the Filipino speakers during the congress

Top chefs
The chefs who have flown to Manila for Madrid Fusion mostly bring with them Michelin awards—the hallmark of quality fine dining restaurants around the world.  These include Spain’s National Prize for Gastronomy awardee Andoni Aduriz; Restaurant Magazine’s Top Female Chef Elena Arzak; and an authority on the use of rice in Spanish cooking, Quique Dacosta.

Other equally renowned Spanish chefs in the roster include Ramon Freixa, Francis Paniego, Paco Roncero, Mario Sandoval, and Paco Torreblanca, as well noted Asian chefs Andre Chang and Alvin Leung.

For the culinary exchange 10 Filipino celebrity chefs have likewise been chosen to Fernando Aracama, Margarita Fores, J. Gamboa, Jose Luis Gonzalez, Pepe Lopez, Rob Pengson, Bruce Ricketts, Myrna Segismundo, Claude Tayag and Juan Carlos de Terry to represent the country’s diverse and imaginative epicurean traditions.

Chef Claude Tayag whips up his dry ‘Adobo ni Juan Tamad’

Chef Claude Tayag whips up his dry ‘Adobo ni Juan Tamad’

Madrid Fusion teaser
At the announcement of the official partnership of SM and Madrid Fusion, cooking demonstrations by three of the Philippine representatives were held at Sarsa restaurant in SM Mall of Asia.

With Chef JP Anglo moderating, delicious Filipino dishes, which originated from or inspired by Spanish cooking took center stage.

Chef Bruce Ricketts, who is known as “Boy Genius” in Manila’s culinary circles, prepared seared prawns with crispy, marinated saba, avocado and burnt coconut vinegar.

Academy Culinary School founder Chef Rob Pengson, on the other hand, concocted a dessert called Mango Tapioca Surprise made of silken tofu, fresh mangoes and a queso manchego cream sauce.

Meanwhile, Chef Claude Tayag, dubbed the “Kapampangan’s Pride” talked about how adobo became the favorite Filipino dish, while preparing his Adobong Puti and Adobo ni Juan Tamad.

He said, “Filipinos love adobo because it is easy to cook. There are a hundred ways of cooking adobo in the Philippines because every region in the country has their own version of cooking it. But for me, it involves only three steps: marinating the pork overnight, simmering it for hours until tender, then putting the meat back in the sauce for aging.”

He also shared his secret: “You need to let the acidity mature. You should never serve anything cooked with vinegar immediately after cooking. It’s a common mistake.”

Master Chef Pinoy Edition judge Chef Anglo, who is also the owner of Sarsa, ended the cooking demo with his bangus spring rolls with talangka vinaigrette, enriched with Batulon Mang Tomas sauce.

Madrid Fusion Manila’s proudly Filipino chefs Rob Pegson (third from left), Claude Tayag (center), Bruce Ricketts (third from right) with Sarsa’s JP Anglo, and SM’s SVP for Marketing Communications Group Millie Dizon, Madrid Fusion project director and Department of Tourism’s Verna Buensuceso, and SM SVP for Operations for Premier Malls Steven Tan

Madrid Fusion Manila’s proudly Filipino chefs Rob Pegson (third from left), Claude Tayag (center), Bruce Ricketts (third from right) with Sarsa’s JP Anglo, and SM’s SVP for Marketing Communications Group Millie Dizon, Madrid Fusion project director and Department of Tourism’s Verna Buensuceso, and SM SVP for Operations for Premier Malls Steven Tan

Next food destination
According to Verna Covar-Buensuceso, Madrid Fusion Manila’s director and officer-in-charge of DOT’s market development group and tourism development sector, Madrid Fusion Manila aims to make the Philippines the next food destination of the world.

“This is an interesting time for the Philippines and Madrid Fusion is a campaign to make our culinary potential known globally,” she added.

Miel Esteban, Madrid Fusion representative from Spain, meanwhile explained that this global culinary event is not just an ordinary food festival. “It is a fair of concepts where new and exciting things in the world of gourmet will transpire. They will talk about their techniques, their ideas, and what inspires them in creating their dishes.”

Esteban also assured the participating local chefs that the event is the perfect opportunity for Filipino cuisine to shine.

Gastronomic activities
SM Supermalls senior vice president Steven Tan for his part expressed, “SM is proud to be the venue of the historic Madrid Fusion Manila 2015. We want to bring its excitement, particularly Spain’s strong influence on our food and culture to our mall goers by taking these culinary festivities to our mall.”

In fact, as Madrid Fusion Manila opens at the SMX Convention Center, a month-long trade exhibition and mall-wide event dubbed “Flavor of the Philippines” is also being held around SM Malls in the country.

A Welcome Night tonight at the scenic SM by the Bay for the official delegates will highlight the best of Philippine food, art and culture.

Specifically, three malls in Metro Manila and seven malls in key provincial areas are running gourmet markets featuring a premium selection of Spanish and Filipino cheese, tapas, wine, ingredients, local finds, and special bundles.

Complimentary activities further include new food concepts that reflect innovation and technique at select SM MOA restaurants this April; a Spanish-themed fiesta with music, dancing, food and drinks at the SM Aura Premier Sky Park Lawn on April 26; and irresistible dining deals from April 24 to 26 at SM Megamall’s newly opened Mega Food Hall.

The first two days of the festival are reserved for trade visitors, and Madrid Fusion Manila will be open to the public on April 26, Sunday.  Entrance fees for the different exhibits range from P200 to P350 on that day. For more information log on to www.madridfusionmanila.com. For the complete schedule of events at the SM Malls, log on to SM Supermalls on Facebook or @supermalls on Instagram.

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