As well as hosting us at a local Farmer’s Market in Manila, where Margarita showed us around and introduced us to local vendors and produce, she also served up a cracking plate of corn piadina, sautéed river prawn, with crab head cream sauce and candied calamansi lime at the conference.
Forés is the founder of the Cibo Group of Italian restaurants, which are scattered around the more upmarket neighbourhoods of Manila.
She was awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2016 by San Pellegrino, and is one of the most famous names in the capital’s food scene.
The conference is an important date in the gastronomic calendar of the country and has helped to drive innovation and quality improvement in the food of the Philippines.
Manila is an exciting place to be these days if you are a chef or foodie, with so much happening on the culinary scene and new restaurant openings, there is also a renewed focus on the unique local produce and on creative ways of using it.
Taking the conference theme of sustainability to heart, he did not bring a single ingredient with him from home but went to the local farmers’ market on arrival in Manila for inspiration.
There he purchased all the produce for the dishes he was still to create and demonstrate at the conference.
Claude Tayag presented a delectable Filipino dessert ‘Maja Lila’.
Normally a ‘blanca’ or white pudding made with coconut and corn, his version was lilac because of the native purple ube, served with a lip-smacking salted quail egg yolk – certainly one of the highlights of the conference.
With over 7000 tropical islands, there is just so much to discover about the Philippines.
The archipelago and its people are brimming with variety and character, and the food scene has been making huge strides in recent times.
Navarra is also a real advocate for the country’s local produce, sharing the stage with a fisherman he brought all the way from his village in the north to demonstrate how he fillets dorado.