At the formal announcment of Madrid Fusion Manila 2018 in Palacio de Congresos Madrid last Jan. 23 are Pam Samaniego of DOT; chef presenters at MFM 2018 Gorka Txpartegi and Susi Diaz of Spain; chef Jordy Navarra; Philippine Ambassador to Spain Philippe Lhuillier; chef presenter at MFM 2018 Iñigo Lavado of Spain; Lourdes Plana of Foro de Debate and chef JP Anglo, presenter MFM 2018

Innovation meets tradition at Madrid Fusion Manila 2018
MISS TECH - Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2018 - 12:00am

Four years ago when the first edition of Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) was held, the world barely knew about the cuisine and ingredients of the Philippines.

Today, food forecasts claim Philippine cuisine will be the next big food trend and much has been said and written about how the food scene in the Philippines is heating up. 

The hosting of MFM has been good for the country, as it has expanded the conversation on the future of food to the Philippines.

“Today marks another milestone for the Philippines as we give you the fourth serving of Madrid Fusion Manila,” said Pam Samaniego, director of MFM 2018, at center stage of Madrid Fusion 2018 at Palacio Municipal de Congresos.”We are happy to host one of the biggest gastronomic events on our side of the world. Now in its fourth year, the old will be making a comeback as traditional cooking techniques and native ingredients will be in the spotlight, with the theme ‘Innovating Tradition.’” 



Held yearly in Madrid for the past 16 years,  Madrid Fusion is part conference and part trade show, where some of the world’s top chefs showcase new techniques, ingredients and recipes.

It is with the same goal that MFM is held in Manila: to highlight the Philippines as an emerging culinary destination with an abundance of natural resources and cultural influences.

The growing enthusiasm of the world towards Philippine gastronomy has been a work in progress but has gained much ground over the last four years.

In the first year that Manila hosted MFM in 2015, two  Filipino chefs, Margarita Fores and Myrna Segismundo, were invited to speak at Madrid Fusión 2015 as a preview of what the Philippines had to offer. At that engagement, the two shared the origins of the famous Filipino dish kinilaw.

The following year, 2016, Margarita Fores was named Asia’s Best Female Chef.

In 2016, another Philippine-based chef, Chele Gonzalez, presented on the Madrid Fusión stage. Chef Chele shared his own experience working with indigenous Philippine ingredients  sourced from local farmers. That same year his Philippine-based restaurant, Vask, which uses locally sourced ingredients and adapts Philippine cooking techniques, was named one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

In 2017, the Filipino chef-presenter on the Madrid Fusión stage was Myke “Tatung” Sarthou. He spoke about “Rediscovering Pre-Hispanic Filipino Cuisine” and his advocacy of bringing back locally produced salt.

This year, chef Jordy Navarra took center stage at Madrid Fusion 2018. His topic was  “The Wild and Untamed Flavors of the Philippine Islands.” His 30-minute presentation centered on buro and bagoong —fermented specialties from the Philippines.

The Philippines’ taking center stage at Madrid Fusión for the last four years is a clear sign that our cuisine is so good that the world has noticed it. 

Samaniego reiterated what Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said at the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Foro de Debate for MFM 2018: “We in the Philippines are rallying behind one common goal of establishing the Philippines as the center of gastronomy in our part of the world.”

Samaniego added that MFM being held in the Philippines has inspired the current generation of chefs and food enthusiasts to constantly innovate.

“From celebrating a 300-year gastronomic journey between Spain and the Philippines in 2015 to examining close encounters between the east and west in 2016, we’re looking into the future so that we can help build a sustainable gastronomic planet in 2017.

“This year the chefs will be looking into their pantries as traditional cooking techniques and ingredients will be in the spotlight for the fourth serving of MFM 2018,” Samaniego added. 

Among the chefs bannering MFM 2018 are Michelin star-studded Curtis Duffy, Hajime Yoneda, Aitor Jerónimo Orive, LG Han, Mingoo Kang, Diego Gallegos, Pepe Solla, and Roberto Ruiz.

Joining them are Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant 2017 awardee Matt Abergel, Top Chef Season 9 winner Paul Qui, Iñigo Lavado, and Javier Estevez. 

The Filipino chefs who will present at MFM 2018 are JP Anglo, Patrick Go and Nicco Santos. 

“We ask you to join us as we continue to build on our efforts to establish the Philippines as the center of gastronomy in Asia,” she added. “Friends, let our gastronomic journey continue.”

A night of Philippine hospitality

“The Asian edition of Madrid Fusion is held in Manila for two reasons: The Philippines is the natural partner of Spain because the two countries shared history and because there are very few other countries that can match the Filipinos love for food and dining,” said Philippe Lhuillier, Philippine Ambassador to Spain, in his welcome remarks at the Philippine cocktail reception held at Tatel Restaurant, Madrid, that evening.  “So much so that the Filipinos’ common greeting is ‘Kumain ka na ba? (Have you eaten?)’ How fitting it is that the theme for this year’s MFM 2018 is ‘Innovating Tradition’?  We hope to keep the momentum going because the Philippines has so much to share with the culinary world.”

To whet the appetites of the guests for Philippine cuisine, chef JP Anglo of Sarsa Restaurant, who will be one of the presenters at MFM 2018, prepared one of his dishes at the Philippine cocktail reception.

“I wanted to make a Filipino soup dish,” he said. “While I was cooking, I created a mestizo dish — one that is both Filipino and Spanish. It is beef with mung beans, salted fish with a pimientong ginamus bruschetta.”

The dish was a hit among the guests, who were composed of international media, tour operators, exhibitors, and other celebrity chefs. 

“I had to pinch myself when I saw that all the chefs in the kitchen were taking commands from me at Tatel restaurant as I prepared my dish for tonight,” added chef JP. “They were confident with what I was preparing because they tasted it in the kitchen and they really liked what they tasted.”

Anglo added that although he wanted to create a truly Filipino dish to bring out Filipino flavors, he was inspired to create a dish that brought together a blend of Spanish and Filipino flavors.

“I just created the dish as I was inspired by the moment,” he shared. “One chef told me, ‘I like the dish so much because it’s Spanish, but not.’ It was when I showed him the bagoong I had, I told him that it is this Filipino ingredient that makes it uniquely Filipino. We also added the salted fish to the dish to truly lend a Filipino-ness to the dish.”

Let’s party

Before the party started, Lourdes Plana of Foro de Debate Spain, the group responsible for bringing Madrid Fusión to Manila, offered a toast to the success of MFM 2018. 

With that, the partying began with entertainment provided by Filipino group Marcus Phoenix and flare bartender Dennis Barela Adiuba, which was much appreciated by the Spanish guests in attendance.

“This year we hope to keep the momentum going with MFM 2018,” said Ambassador Lhuillier. “Every year it has been growing with thousands of attendees, exhibitors and food enthusiasts. Last year, we reached close to 10,000 attendees, which is more than double the attendees we had during the first year. I wish to invite all of you to come to the Philippines for MFM 2018. I see no better time for all of you to visit the Philippines than during MFM 2018.”

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Madrid Fusion Manila will be held from April 19 to 21. For more information, visit

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