Why Is Madrid Fusion So Important To The Philippines?

This is the Philippine booth at Madrid Fusion in Spain! This is the first time our country's every had a booth, and it was located right by the entrance of the Palacios
Okay, this has nothing to do with Madrid Fusion but it's such a GORGEOUS memory of the city of MADRID the day I arrived in the city! So so so beautiful!
The gorgeous capital of Spain was the backdrop of Madrid Fusion 2015. A photogenic memory of the city taken the day I arrived. <3 The beauty of this world!

Hi guys! Apologies for the delay in posting but I was in Madrid all of last week with quite a hectic schedule, and came back to Manila jetlagged and fatigued. (Happens to me every single time despite how much I travel, believe it or not!) What was I doing in the Spanish capital? Well, I was part of a 40+ delegation from the Philippines, made up of government officials (from the Departments of Tourism and Agriculture), chefs, media and members of the private sector to attend Madrid Fusion 2015.

See, this is PINOY PRIDE right here! Our Philippine chefs flew to the Spanish capital to represent and cook at Madrid Fusion! Jose Luis "Chele" Gonzalez (Vask/ ArroZeria), JC de Terry (Terry's), Margarita Fores (Cibo/ Lusso/ Grace Park), Myrna Segismundo, Bruce Ricketts (Mecha Uma/ Sensei Sushi), Claude Tayag (Bale Dutung/ Downtown Cafe). Go Philippines!
Our Philippine chefs flew to the Spanish capital to represent and cook at Madrid Fusion! Jose Luis “Chele” Gonzalez (Vask/ ArroZeria), JC de Terry (Terry’s), Margarita Fores (Cibo/ Lusso/ Grace Park), Myrna Segismundo, Bruce Ricketts (Mecha Uma/ Sensei Sushi), Claude Tayag (Bale Dutung/ Downtown Cafe). This is PINOY PRIDE right here!!! (Photo by Berna Romulo-Puyat)

You’ve probably been seeing a surge of articles on Madrid Fusion lately, and are wondering, what is Madrid Fusion anyway? Well, in a nutshell, it is one of the biggest culinary events in the world. Held yearly in the Spanish capital, it’s part conference and part trade show, where some of the world’s top chefs showcase new, cutting edge and avant-garde techniques, ingredients and recipes to create a different experience in food and dining. It has been described as  “where chefs go to see the future.” It was held from February 2 to 4, 2015 at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos, and this year, 10,000 people were in attendance! A massive success!

So why is this year so important to the Philippines in particular?

1) This is the first year that the Philippines has had a physical presence in the form of an actual booth at Madrid Fusion in Spain! So it was a great way of “bringing” the Philippines to Europe and making our flavors known to this side of the world.

This is the Philippine booth at Madrid Fusion in Spain! This is the first time our country's every had a booth, and it was located right by the entrance of the Palacios
This is the Philippine booth at Madrid Fusion in Spain! This is the first time our country’s ever had a booth, and it was located right by the entrance of the Palacio!
Some of the Pinoy goodies we had at the Philippine booth: San Nicolas cookies, dried mangoes, pili nuts (these were a particular hit!), cashew nuts and chicharon with Mama Sita sauces!
Some of the Pinoy goodies we had at the Philippine booth: San Nicolas cookies, dried mangoes, pili nuts (these were a particular hit!), cashew nuts and chicharon with Mama Sita sauces!
Actually, this is Mama Sita's daughter, Clara, and it was so nice of her to represent!
Even Mama Sita was with us!!! :) Well, actually, this is her daughter  Clara Lapuz, who gamely dressed in Filipiniana for the entire duration of Madrid Fusion!
Madrid Fusion 2015 Spain- Philippine Bar
Madrid-based Pinoy bartender Dennis Barela Adiuba made cocktails from Pinoy liqueurs for visitors, all day!
I particularly liked the Lakan, named after national warrior. (Lakandula, anyone?) It's made from pure coconut nectar and known locally as lambanog (extra premium version!)
I particularly liked the Lakan, named after the national warrior. (Lakandula, anyone?) It’s made from pure coconut nectar and known locally as lambanog (extra premium version)!

2) Our Pinoy chefs Margarita Fores (Cibo, Lusso, Greace Park) and Myrna Segismundo (Restaurant 9501) introduced, presented and did a cooking demo of our kinilaw— to an international audience at Madrid Fusion. Why kinilaw? “It is one of the oldest cooking techniques based on historical findings and it is a good introduction to Philippine cuisine as it highlights the freshness of ingredients and its recipes are unique to us,” says Segismundo.

Chefs Margarita Fores and Myrna Segismundo presenting and doing a cooking demo of our kinilaw at Madrid Fusion 2015 in Spain
Chefs Margarita Fores and Myrna Segismundo presenting and doing a cooking demo of our kinilaw at Madrid Fusion 2015 in Spain!
Guests curious about our kinilaw after chefs Margarita and Myrna's presentations! (Photo courtesy of JJ Yulo/ Just Jonesing)
Guests curious about our kinilaw after chefs Margarita and Myrna’s presentations! (Photo courtesy of JJ Yulo/ Just Jonesing)

3) Chefs Myrna Segismundo and Margarita Fores were likewise invited to cook all-Filipino degustation menus at two of the fanciest five-star and historical hotels in Madrid— the Relais & Chateau Hotel Orfila (Segismundo) and Hotel Ritz by Belmond (Fores). Now how’s that for Pinoy pride?! 

"Our
Our very own chef Myrna Segismundo showcased Pinoy food in a classic way– at the beautiful Relais & Chateaux Hotel Orfila, a small palace built in 1886. If you look closely, she decorated the 40-seater dining room with hand-woven tinalak and other Philippine tribal runners. Her main course was a lovely Cornish hen and pork rib adobo served with cabbage wrapped Kalinga red rice and papaya atchara. It was so nice to see fellow Pinoy chefs Nina Daza-Puyat, Claude Tayag, Noel Dela Rama and the staff of Hotel Orfila helping out in the kitchen!
Our very own Margarita Fores cooked at the exquisitely beautiful Hotel Ritz, a centennial hotel built by King Alfonso XIII in 1910 to model a royalty hotel.
Our very own Margarita Fores cooked at the exquisitely beautiful Hotel Ritz, a centennial hotel built by King Alfonso XIII in 1910 to model a royalty hotel. It was so nice to introduce Spanish and international guests and media to our Pinoy food in such a beautiful way. In photo is sugpo sa taba ng talangka w/ adlai rice and calamansi sorbet)– and they loved it!!!
I was honored to have attended this dinner and played "tourism ambassador" at least for the evening-- along with Department of Tourism's Director Verna Buensuceso as we introduced our foreign guests, James Blick of The Sunday Times/ The Guardian/ Toronto Star/ El Pais; Timo Santala, who heads the City of Helsinki's Food Culture Strategy, and master sommeliers and certified wine consultants Cees Van Casteren and Ans Van Der Weijden, to Pinoy cuisine!
I was honored to have attended this dinner and played “tourism ambassador” at least for the evening– along with Department of Tourism’s Director Verna Buensuceso as we introduced our foreign guests, James Blick of The Sunday Times/ The Guardian/ Toronto Star/ El Pais; Timo Santala, who heads the City of Helsinki’s Food Culture Strategy, and master sommeliers and certified wine consultants Cees Van Casteren and Ans Van Der Weijden, to Pinoy cuisine!
And in case you're wondering what wines pair well with Pinoy food, these Albarino and White Bordeaux do, pairings done courtesy of our master sommelier seatmates!
And in case you’re wondering what wines go well with Pinoy food, these Albarino and White Bordeaux do, pairings done courtesy of our master sommelier seatmates! Oh, and champagne of course! ;-)

4) We were able to introduce Spanish and international chefs, media and trade partners to Philippine culture at a cocktail party held at the trendy Ramses– through our Pinoy food (pica-pica’s courtesy of Bruce Ricketts, JC de Terry and Margarita Fores), Pinoy cocktails (made from Don Papa Rum, Vuqo and Manille Liqueur de Calamansi), our Pinoy hospitality and fiesta attitude (a live Pinoy band had our guests dancing at the end of the night– yes, the chefs included!)

Guests enjoyed our local liqueur like Don Papa Rum, Vuqo and Manille
Guests enjoyed our local liqueur like Don Papa Rum, Vuqo and Manille Liquer de Calamansi alongside Spanish wines at Ramses
Cheryl Tiu, Andoni Aduriz, Elena Arzak, Joan Roca, Juan Mari Arzak, Jose Luis Chele Gonzalez- Madrid Fusion 2015
Pardon my starstruck moment but these are the world’s best culinary legends under one roof <3 Soooo happy to see Joan Roca (El Cellar de Can Roca) again a year after his epic dinner at Restaurant Andre in Singapore, and what an honor to have met Andoni Aduriz (Mugaritz), Elena Arzak and her father, Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak)! And such lovely, kind and humble people, too!
And.. an epic selfie of the Philippines and Spain! Even Elena Arzak herself said this was the best group selfie! (Photo and self-we courtesy of JJ Yulo/ Just Jonesing)
The last ones standing! An epic self-we of the Philippines and the chefs! Even Elena Arzak herself said this was the best group selfie! (Photo and self-we courtesy of JJ Yulo/ Just Jonesing)

5) …Because Madrid Fusion is coming to Asia for the very first time by way of THE PHILIPPINES from April 24 to 26, 2015!!! Some of our Southeast Asian neighbors had bid for it, but Madrid Fusion chose Manila because of the commemoration of the 370 years of common history between Spain and the Philippines. This is a very exciting time for us as it says a lot about where Asia– particularly the Philippines– is going, as sources of inspiration and exchange, and likewise, where our cuisine and our country are going worldwide. (Finally!!!)

Spain and the Philippines.. united onstage to introduce Madrid Fusion MANILA to the audience!
Spain and the Philippines.. united onstage to introduce Madrid Fusion MANILA to the audience! Coming this April 2015!
 Waaaah, I was already so starstruck when I met him, but THE Andoni Aduriz aka MUGARITZ asked ME to sign the Wallpaper* City Guide Manila for him!!!
Waaaah, I was already so starstruck when I met him, but THE Andoni Aduriz aka MUGARITZ asked ME to sign the Wallpaper* City Guide Manila for him!!!

SCHEDULE OF MADRID FUSION MANILA 2015 EVENTS:

Madrid Fusion Manila • April 24-26 • SMX  CONVENTION CENTER, PASAY CITY

FRIDAY, APRIL 24

10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.— Welcome remarks by Tourism Secretary Ramon J. Jimenez Jr.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.— Spain: Center and Origin of Modern Occidental Cuisine by Juan Carlos de Terry (Terry´s Bistro-Philippines)

 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — A Thousand Faces of Rice by Quique Dacosta (Quique Dacosta –Spain)

 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Base Ingredient: Sour Fruits by Fernando Aracama (Aracama – Philippines)

 1:30 p.m.  – 3:30 p.m.  — Lunch

 3:30 p.m.  – 4:30 p.m. — Creativity, a cuisine open to the world by Elena Arzak (Arzak-Spain)

 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Coconut, The Tree of Life by Myrna Segismundo (9501-Philippines)

 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Textures of Olive Oil, Traditional and Avant-Garde by Paco Roncero (La Terraza del Casino-Spain)

 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  — Tapas made in Spain: Cuisine in Miniature by Ramón Freixa (Ramón Freixa –Spain)

 SATURDAY, APRIL 25

 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  — Philippine Adobos by Claude Tayag (Bale Dutung-Philippines)

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Spanish Marinades and Offal of the 21st century by Francis Paniego – (Echaurren – Spain)

 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Local Seasonal Ingredients by Bruce Ricketts (Mecha Uma-Philippines)

 1:30 p.m.  – 3:30 p.m. — Lunch

 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. — What Gives Life by Margarita Forés – (Grace Park-Philippines)

 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Open Creativity by Andoni Luis Aduriz – (Mugaritz-Spain)

 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Mom, I want to be a “Churrero” when I Grow Up by Pepe López (Rambla-Philippines)

 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. — Juices, Creativity and Fermentation by André Chiang (André -Singapore)

 SUNDAY, APRIL 26

 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  — The New Filipiniana Cuisine by Rob Pengson (The Goose Station-Philippines)

11:30 a. m. – 12:30 p.m. — The Science of Roasts, Modern Culinary Rituals by Mario Sandoval (Coque -Spain)

 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rediscovery and Reverence by José Luis Gonzalez  (Gallery Vask-Philippines)

 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. — Lunch

 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. — It’s Fun to Cook “Xtreme Filipino” by Alvin Leung Jr.  (Bo Innovation-Hong Kong)

 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Sweet World, Happy Ending by Paco Torreblanca (Bombonerías Torreblanca – Spain)

 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Nose-To-Tail Eating in the Filipino-Spanish Menu by J. Gamboa (Milky Way-Philippines)

 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. — Closing Ceremonies

For more information, visit the Madrid Fusion Manila website <madridfusionmanila.com>

For more on the background of the event, do check out my article on Forbes

For more on the one-night-only Mugaritz dinner at Gallery Vask, check out my article on Forbes Life.