Mum Forés, dad Bottura

The best chef in Asia at Identità. «My cuisine? Motherly instinct. And so much respect for Massimo...»

04-03-2016
Margarita Forés, awarded only a few days ago as A

Margarita Forés, awarded only a few days ago as Asia's Best Female Chef 2016 within the 50 Best Asia, will be at Identità Milano on Monday

“What generates life?”. This is the main theme to which Filipino chef Margarita Forés dedicates her speech on Monday at Identità Milano. This is also the focus of her work, which led her to win, a few days ago, the award for Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016 in Bangkok, we wrote about it here. On the day before the award ceremony in the capital of Thailand, she told us in a heart-to-heart interview, partly in English and partly in Italian (she speaks the language well): «Motherly instinct has always guided me in my life as well as in the kitchen. I learnt to be a mother from my son Armando and I’m a mother to my team. Just like when I was young and I found professional mothers in Italy, who helped me understand my road and develop my passion for the cuisine of your country».

An old picture, from www.marchidigola.it, with Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Davide Oldani and Massimo Bottura. The latter two were indicated by Margarita Forés as her point of reference in the kitchen

An old picture, from www.marchidigola.it, with Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Davide Oldani and Massimo Bottura. The latter two were indicated by Margarita Forés as her point of reference in the kitchen

Bottura, the Italian chef inspiring her - «Reproduction as a creative force and the ingredients that help interpret this are the focus of my 3 recipes for Identità», she told us when presenting the dishes she’ll bring: Five eggs and a chicken (with eggs and chicken adobo); Risotto with tuna bottarga and milt; Crab millefoglie with water spinach gnocchi and calamansi [a type of lime] gel. «Being on the stage of Identità is great, it’s an exciting experience and I can’t wait. I’m also very happy to meet many Italian chefs such as Massimo Bottura and Davide Oldani. I look at them with interest. I especially esteem the first, and I’m agitated at the idea of speaking shortly after him! His work has been inspiring me ever since I visited him, only two years after he opened Osteria Francescana. Most of all, I like the message he’s giving in this phase, thanks to the work he’s conducting with producers: he can be a model for my work in the Philippine».

Forés awarded the other day at the 50 Best Asia

Forés awarded the other day at the 50 Best Asia

Italian flavours, fresh Filipino ingredients – The award in the San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna 50 Best went to Forés also thanks to her commitment as ambassador of Filipino flavours around the world. And if some day there will also be a fine dining Filipino restaurant in Milan, perhaps it will be hers: «I do hope so, it would be fantastic», she told us. Meanwhile, in her Italian restaurants in Manila, she managed to make our culinary tradition meet with fresh local ingredients: «There’s a new generation of producers who are working very well; oil, honey, tomato, cheese and even scamorza are ingredients we can now find over here too and of excellent quality. For Casa Artusi in Manila I started the production of squacquerone and I’m happy to use it in my cooking». It’s also a way to have her menu evolve: «I can make more experiments and be sure to serve an authentic dish respecting Italian flavours. Local fresh fish is served with a drop of extra virgin olive oil made in the Philippines, and the same goes for our crayfish, or we can offer excellent risottos thanks to the local production of Acquerello rice».

Margarita "Gaita" Forés at the opening of Casa Artusi Philippines

Margarita "Gaita" Forés at the opening of Casa Artusi Philippines

Filipino cuisine around the world - «There’s a growing interest for our cuisine and our country globaly. There are new restaurants opening in New York, Los Angeles and London and they’re not just targeting the Filipino community. They look at a wider range of clients – said Forés – Dishes that in some way represent this trend are adobo, which we serve with balsamic vinegar so its flavour is rounder, and kinilaw, which is our version of the more famous ceviche, but with vinegar. This success is also connected with the current popularity of raw fish». But there’s also another opposite trend: many European entrepreneurs are beginning to look with interest at the restaurant scene in the Philippines. Even Davide Oldani will open in Manila in the autumn, with a more casual version of his D’O and in partnership with a young local entrepreneur. It will be called Foo'd and it will be inside the Shangri-La hotel in Manila. «And there’s not just the capital – ends Margarita – I also invite you to discover the region where I was born, Negros Occidental, a real foodie destination, even thanks to committed organic and sustainable agriculture».


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