Margarita Forés launches her brand Margarita

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star
Margarita Forés launches her brand Margarita
Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016 Margarita Forés with son Amado Forés and mother Baby Araneta Forés.
STAR/ File

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Margarita Forés is a name well known in the kitchens of the Philippine hospitality industry.  With almost four decades of experience in the food and beverage industry and being an advocate for Filipino gastronomy, she has become one of the Philippines’ most celebrated culinary ambassadors.

Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2016 has made an indelible impact on the culinary landscape of the Philippines through her topnotch catering service, beloved restaurants, and delicious and original products.

She says, “My life’s purpose is simple: to make life and living more beautiful and delicious for others.”

An arrangement from Margarita Floralscapes.

After 37 years of doing this, she believes now is the time to lay the groundwork for a brand identity and a signature restaurant that will transcend even her. She says, “This is my legacy.”

For the important task of creating her new brand identity, Margarita enlisted the talents of Chris Owen and Victoria Tang-Owen of Thirty30 Creative.

Established in 2015, Thirty30 Creative offers innovative, creative solutions to clients on local and international stages with clients such as Rosewood, New World, and Dorsett Hotels, hospitality groups JIA and Leading Nation, retailers Joyce and Lane Crawford, and international fashion brands such as Dior and the Tod’s Group.

Creative director of Thirty30 Creative Victoria Tang-Owen says, “The motivation to build the Margarita brand was to streamline all of Margarita’s many business interests and creative outlets into one coherent identity that truly represents Margarita.”

Margarita is the architect of her world, from exquisite dining to captivating floral arrangements, from elegant calligraphy to homeware. Her new brand identity embodies the essence of Margarita›s aesthetic. Her brand will be using her handwritten logo, a timeless black-and-white color palette, and transforming the letter “M” into a repeat pattern.

Managing director of Thirty30 Creative Christ Owen adds, “We met with Margarita several times and we had this beautiful lightbulb moment when Victoria noticed Margarita’s penmanship. Victoria determined that this handwritten logotype would perfectly showcase Margarita’s attention to detail, creativity, education, and appreciation for aesthetics.”

Thirty30 Creative built a brand that truly represents the quality that Margarita delivers to all her customers. As part of the streamlining of the brand, Margarita is also changing the names of sub-brands to the following: Margarita Home, Margarita Gourmet, Margarita Floralscapes, and Margarita Wellness. Even Cibo di Marghi, her much-loved catering service, will now be referred to as Margarita Signature Caterer.

Margarita will be the signature restaurant of this talented woman that will open late this year at The Shops at Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Brought together by a shared passion for Italy, New York, and the Philippines, Margarita has tapped architect and interior designer Sean Dix. With offices in both Hong Kong and Milan, Sean has an impressive portfolio, crafting luxurious retail boutiques, collaborating with Michelin-starred chefs and restaurateurs globally.

Margarita and Sean drew inspiration from the places they both hold dear, as well as Margarita’s familial heritage, in conceiving the design for Restaurant Margarita. The luxurious restaurant will combine diverse cultural influences and personal aesthetics and will mirror Margarita’s eclectic taste. Sean sees Restaurant Margarita as “a plush sala, a jewel box showcasing Margarita‘s culinary finesse.”

We can’t wait for everything in store for her this year. Congratulations, Margarita Forés.

Top, from left, Western executive chef Jonas Juchli, VP for Culinary Sebastian Kellerhoff, Red Lantern chef de cuisine Ralff Jiang; (middle) Italian executive chef Andrea Spagoni, Yakumi executive chef Norimasa Kosaka, Chinese executive chef Tai Siew Hong; (first row) Michelin-star chefs Goh Fukuyama, Xu Fan, and Cristina Bowerman.

Libations at Solaire's 11th birthday

Solaire Resort Entertainment City brought in five Michelin-starred chefs last year for its 10th anniversary. For its 11th anniversary month this year, Solaire brought in three renowned Michelin-star chefs for special dinners and a buffet brunch for their signature restaurants. The Philippine STAR writer Lisa Nakpil has already written about the food by chefs Cristina Bowerman, who prepared her Italian cuisine in Finestra, Goh Fukuyama, who cooked his modern Japanese fare at Yakumi, and Xu Fan, who made his dishes in Red Lantern.

Drinks for these meals were chosen by esteemed drink experts. Pairings were chosen by certified Sake Samurai and Sake Master Brewer Akihiro Igarashi and Luis de Santos, and popular mixologist Max Solano.

De Santos is the first Master Sommelier of Filipino descent. As a Master Sommelier, he is part of an elite group of professionals who hold the highest industry distinction in fine wine and beverage service — there are less than 300 in the world. Based in the US, he was a former wine director at prestigious restaurants, including the Wolfgang Puck Group, MGM Group and Charlie Palmer Group. De Santos is also a successful entrepreneur and currently owns several bars and restaurants in Las Vegas.

Luis de Santos, Akihiro Igarashi, Max Solano.

Igarashi is a certified Sake Samurai and Sake Master Brewer and is a board member and director general of the Kagamiyama Brewery in Japan.

Solano is one of the West Coast’s most respected and creative mixologists and spirits educators for his innovative and versatile creations. His talent has earned him acclaim in various media outlets, coupled with three “Las Vegas Bartender of the Year” awards.

As De Santos and Igarashi chose their wine and sake to pair respectively, Solano created his unique cocktails.  Some of these were “Prima Donna” made with Hendrick’s gin, Giancarlo Mancino Sakura vermouth, strawberry and rose syrup, and lemon juice; Sparkling Brut Rose and “Il Soprano” made with Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey, Aperol, Giancarlo Mancino Rosso Amaranto vermouth, Peychaud’s bitters, and Angostura aromatic bitters.

It’s nothing but the Best for Solaire, so they had to get some of the best sommeliers and mixologists to match the dishes of the great chefs they brought in this year.

* * *

Check out https://www.solaireresort.com/.

Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.

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