The Most Important Thing You Need To Know About Madrid Fusion Manila 2017

Spotlighting Philippine produce: Jordy Navarra put these pencil clams from Sorsogon on centerstage during our Cross Cultures collaboration dinner with Hertog Jan, as part of Madrid Fusion Manila's Dinner with the Stars (Photo by Tristan Dehesa)

Yes, the third Madrid Fusion Manila took place last April 6 to 8, and it was definitely one of the busiest times for the country’s food community. For three days, the part-conference, part-trade show took place at SMX, where chefs behind Michelin-star-studded and World’s/ Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants like Jordi Roca (El Celler de Can Roca), Gert de Mangeleer (Hertog Jan), Pedro Subijana (Akelare), Simon Rogan (L’Enclume), Josean Alija (Nerua), Magnus Ek (Oaxen), Julien Royer (Odette), Tony Yoo (Doo Re Yoo), and Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Plasmeijier (Locavore) took the stage alongside our very own Jordy Navarra (Toyo Eatery), Josh Boutwood (Test Kitchen), Robby Goco (Green Pastures) and Gene Gonzalez (Cafe Ysabel). It was inspiring for the audience, who after watching demonstrations on sustainability, social consciousness, and promoting local, had the opportunity to interact with the chefs during a Q&A session moderated by David Celdran.

Jordi Roca and Alejandra Rivas- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017
Husband and wife Jordi Roca and Alejandra Rivas of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain demonstrate the anarchy found in desserts. (Photo courtesy of Madrid Fusion Manila)

Lunch was a very popular highlight. Organized by the Department of Agriculture, spearheaded by Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, each of the three days had a featured local ingredient as theme, wherein Philippine-based chefs worked with the featured ingredient and made it their own. Day 1 was Heirloom Rice (curated by food editor Angelo Comsti); Day 2 was Nose-to-Tail (curated by food editors Nina Daza-Puyat, Sasha Lim Uy and Idge Mendiola); and Day 3 was Corn (curated by executive editor Alicia Sy).


Dedet dela Fuente- Pepita's Kitchen- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017 - Lechon de leche with sisig rice- Heirloom Rice
HEIRLOOM RICE: Dedet dela Fuente’s Pepita’s Kitchen served up her popular signature sisig rice-stuffed lechon
Happy Ongpauco-Tiu- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017- Heirloom Rice- Heirloom Tacos
HEIRLOOM RICE: Happy Ongpauco-Tiu (yes, she’s my aunt!) of Pamana, Tsokolateria and Happy Concepts Private Dining turned the Ifugao black rice into a tortilla! (Adding beer was her secret!😉) The toppings were inspired by the Philippines’ 3 major island groups, where these ingredients are abundant: Bulalo Carne Asada (Luzon), Pit-Roasted Cebu Lechon (Visayas), and Tuna Tataki (Mindanao)


JP Anglo- Nose to Tail- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017- Chicken Adobo
NOSE-TO-TAIL: JP Anglo of Sarsa prepared this really clever “Next Generation Chicken Adobo” with instructions on how to eat it (JP loves to surf, too, hence the writings on a surf board!))
Patrick Go- Black Sheep Manila- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017- Nose To Tail
NOSE-TO-TAIL: Patrick Go of Black Sheep created a Pig’s Head Skewer of pickled tongue, braised ear, smoked cheek, served with adlai congee
Nose to tail Cacao by Risa's Chocolates (Photo by Spanky Enriquez)
NOSE-TO-TAIL: It was really interesting to see this nose to tail CACAO (using the different parts of the cacao, sourced from South Cotabato) called ‘Toast to Chocolate’ by Pamela Lim Cinco of Risa’s Chocolates. The first bite is the white chocolate disc topped with cacao nibs to open the palate, a shot of the cacao dessert wine (from farmers from Quezon province) made from the pulp of the cacao; and finally ending with a white chocolate truffle with dark chocolate ganache and carabao’s milk butter from Calaboo. (Photo by Spanky Enriquez)


Margarita Fores- Madrid Fusion Manila- Corn
CORN: Margarita Fores (Grace Park/ Lusso/ Cibo) used purple corn from Homegrown Organics in Batangas and turned it into a crunchy ‘ukoy’ (a Filipino snack of shrimp fritters but which Margarita reinvented with corn) topped with seared bagaybay (tuna sperm sac- with a texture reminiscent of seared foie gras) from General Santos City, chorizo, and chorizo cream.
Bamba Bistro- Pork Rib- Tina Legarda- Bamba Bistro- Madrid Fusion 2017- Photo by Alicia Sy
CORN: Tina Legarda of Bamba Bistro’s pili-rubbed pork rib on steamed corn and coconut rice with pomelo sambal, wansuy, gremolata and dried coconut (Photo courtesy of Alicia Sy)
Julius James 100 Percent Corn Whisky- Destileria Limtuaco- Madrid Fusion Manila
CORN: It was super cool to discover a new Filipino liquor– Julius James 100% CORN WHISKY by Destileria Limtuaco. It’s made from yellow corn from Isabela province, and aged in square oak barrels for 3.5 years. It’s named after CEO & President Olivia Limpe-Aw’s late father Julius, and grandfather James, original purveyors of whisky in the PH. And it’s the 1st wholly domestically made whisky in the country!

And then there were the special collaboration dinners. My events platform Cross Cultures was so grateful to have worked with such amazing chefs. We had #HertogJanXToyo on April 6 (Gert de Mangeleer of Hertog Jan in Belgium, and our very own Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery), and #10HandsGalleryVask on April 8 (Julien Royer of Odette in Singapore, Josean Alija of Nerua in Spain, Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Plasmeijier of Locavore in Bali, and our very own Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask). There was also a dessert degustation by Top Chef Just Desserts USA finalist Sally Camacho-Mueller with the Philippines’ Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla (Scouts Honor, Le Petit Soufflé), and Sunshine Puey (Gourmandise) at Le Petit Souffle at Mega Fashion Hall. And Tony Yoo of Dooreyoo in Korea cooked alongside Conrad Manila’s executive chef Thomas Jakobi for an East Meets West collaboration. There were also private parties, like Tapas Night organized by the Embassy of Spain at Green Sun; the official opening party at SMX; a reception hosted by Manila House; and the closing party organized by Cross Cultures and Gallery Vask. It’s almost like being like the food world’s version of “fashion week.” There was for sure something happening every night!

Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017- Flavors of the Philippines- Toyo Hertog Jan- Ten Hands at Gallery Vask
My events platform Cross Cultures hosted two dinners as part of Madrid Fusion’s Dinner with the Stars and Flavors of the Philippines
Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery and Gert de Mangeleer of Hertog Jan- Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017
On April 6, the cultures of Belgium and the Philippines were beautifully showcased in the menu courtesy of Gert De Mangeleer’s Hertog Jan (which just jumped up to the No.61 spot this year and is on the Diner’s Club 50 Best Discovery Series) and Jordy Navarra’s Toyo Eatery (one of the most highly regarded restaurants in town that staunchly advocates Filipino produce), creating a new kind of brotherhood between the two chefs. (Photo by Tristan Dehesa)
10 Hands Dinner at Gallery Vask- Cross cultures By Cheryl Tiu- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017- Odette, Nerua, Locavore, Gallery Vask
On April 8, the 10 Hands situation at Gallery Vask, starring Julien Royer of Odette (Singapore), Eelke Plasmeijier and Ray Adriansyah of Locavore (Bali), Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask (Philippines) and Josean Alija of Nerua (Spain)- on the last night of Madrid Fusion Manila 2017! (Photo by Daniel Tan)

But the most important thing that you need to know is that this is an incredible event that brought everyone together, to showcase the best of the Philippines. It was all about COMMUNITY. Regardless of profession, everyone came together as Filipinos, to showcase some of our best produce, ingredients and food, and likewise warmly welcome all our guests, whether chefs, media, organizers, delegates, foodies. The success of Madrid Fusion Manila was because every single Filipino– regardless of [being] a/ an organizer; government official; member of the agriculture, tourism, trade sectors; chef; media; foodie– embraced, supported and promoted the event in any way they could– for love of country. It was the complete embodiment of the BAYANIHAN SPIRIT OF THE FILIPINO.

As Department of Tourism Director Verna Buensuceso addressed us members of the press, “Thank you for being part of the Madrid Fusion Manila family! We owe the success of this project to all of you who have put in so much effort to see this through. I do not think there is any other event that can brag about how our media partners do other things besides cover the event… dito lang sa MFM nagiging [it’s only here at MFM that you become] curators, caterers, cooks, tour guides, nannies, food sponsors, kargadors, spokespersons, event organizers, etc. We truly appreciate all your efforts and sacrifices. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat! [Thank you so much to all of you!] Truly, when the chefs returned home,  all of them said that they had an amazing time in the Philippines, mostly because of the people and the hospitality. Congratulations, Philippines!!!

Team Toyo, Hertog Jan and Cross Cultures at Malipayon Farms, Cavite with Gerardo Jimenez (Gejo)- Madrid Fusion Manila 2017
One Monday morning at 5:30AM, we drove up to Gerardo “Gejo” Jimenez’s Malipayon Farms in Silang, Cavite with teams Hertog Jan and Toyo to source for vegetables for our upcoming Cross Cultures collaboration. The end result was a garden salad dish called “A Walk Through The Gardens Of Manila” using over 40 local ingredientsthat included fennel, alugbati, baby amaranth, baby corn, carrots, sweet potato, mango, papaya, cashews, peanuts etc etc etc… Topped with yellow cosmos!
Margarita Fores- Farmers Market Tour- Madrid Fusion Manila
Margarita Fores took visiting chefs and delegates around her family’s Farmer’s Market in Cubao, showing them local produce and making them sample balut! In photo are: Rodrigo dela Calle, Vicky Lau, Dulce Magat-Gibb, Nina Daza-Puyet. Check out her hashtag #margaritasmarkettour (Photo courtesy of Margarita Fores)

And… I’ll let the following photos & captions speak for themselves. See you all again next year! xx


  1. great read and what an amazing event(s)! Really great to see the tremendous effort everyone put together to further exchange cultures, cuisines, knowledge and ideas.

    Love the nose to tail dishes particularly and some undiscovered ingredients! Of Course the 10-hands dinner looked the bomb…hands down :)

    This really is the future to a happier & better world…if only foodies, farmers, chefs and all in the culinary world ran the world and not politicians..

    Well done Cheryl & go Philippines!

    Warm Regards,

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