Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

By Kathy Moran
Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

“The whole concept behind Madrid Fusión Manila is to get the best in the culinary arts to come to Manila, share their knowledge, and learn from our local culinary chefs at the same time,” said Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. “Not only are we excited to learn from the modern techniques, this event serves to challenge our food artisans to bring out the best in their craft and to start a crusade to make Manila the center of culinary excellence in this region.”

After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world.

Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as the passion for innovation of the two countries’ respective chefs.

On Friday, the event started with the riveting performance of Davao-based Kalumon, giving praise to the Lord, then singing the Philippine National Anthem, which was followed by the Spanish National Anthem.

To formally open Madrid Fusion Manila, Jimenez, Spanish ambassador Luis Calvo, Jose Carlos Capel and Lourdes Plana of Foro de Debate (organizers of Madrid Fusion in Spain) symbolically blew bamboo tubes to light a fire uderneath the giant palayok. The act represented the fusion of the cuisine of the two countries, melded over 300 years of common history and culture.

“Madrid Fusión Manila will confirm the Filipinos’ belief that ‘the best food and the most enjoyable experience is when food is shared with family and friends,’” added Jimenez.

For his part, Madrid Fusión president Capel added that the Spanish delegation, most of whom are awarded several Michelin stars and Repsol suns, had a lot to learn from the Philippines. He said that the Philippines is part of Spain’s rich culinary treasure. Capel added that the event was an opportunity for the two countries to learn from each other.

Opening on the same day was the trade exhibition with 165 booths, 30 of which are from Spain. The Spanish pavilion featured seminars on wine, brandy, Jamon Iberico and cold cuts. Meanwhile, seminars on Philippine heirloom rice and chocolates were the highlights of the Philippine pavilion. The tunnels, a new experience in trade exhibitions, were busy with guests lining up to experience Philippine cheeses, jams, honey, nuts and grapes, Philippine liquors and cocktails paired with chorizo, among others.

Looking back to what Jimenez said before the start of Madrid Fusion Manila, “There is Tokyo, there is Singapore, and if I had my way tomorrow there is Manila. We are not about just the place, although our place is really beautiful; we are not just about food, although we have much to offer the world in food; but we are about the talent of our people.”

As Madrid Fusion Manila ends its three day congress today — we are hopeful that finally, Philippine cuisine has made a mark in world gastronomy.

Madrid Fusion at SM

SM plays host to the historic event, welcoming Madrid Fusion as it comes to Asia for the first time and puts Manila in the heart of culinary interest worldwide.

“SM is proud to be the venue of the historic Madrid Fusion Manila 2015,” said SM Supermalls SVP Steven Tan. “We want to bring the excitement, particularly Spain’s strong influence on our food and culture, to our mall goers by taking these culinary festivities to our mall.”

SM hosted a Welcome Night at the scenic SM by the Bay for the official delegates, highlighting the best of Philippine food, art, and culture.

To help create further awareness for this cultural milestone, the official Madrid Fusion Manila 2015 TV commercial is being shown at all SM Cinemas nationwide.

SM has also prepared exciting foodie activities in its premier malls for shoppers:

• A Gourmet Weekend Market at the SM Mall of Asia, where a premium selection of Spanish and Filipino cheese, tapas, wine, ingredients, local finds and special bundles. This is will be held until today in partnership with the SM Markets – SM Supermarket and SM Hypermarket;

• New food concepts that reflect culinary innovation and technique at select SM Mall of Asia restaurants. Special dishes with Spanish influence or cooked with the finest local produce, ingredients and produce will be offered in specialty restaurants this April;

• A Spanish-themed fiesta with music, dancing food, and drinks at the SM Aura Premier Sky Park Lawn today; and

• Irresistible dining deals at SM Megamall’s flagship and first in the country dining destinations and the newly opened Mega Food Hall.

Sharing the honors during the ceremonial toast were director of Arum Estrategias Internacionalization’s Iñigo Cañedo with International Chefs chocolatier Paco Torreblanca, Best chef in Spain National Gastronomy Award 2013 Mario Sandoval, and Author of the book Echaurren (The Taste of Memories) chef Francis Paniego. They were joined by Filipino and self taught culinary savant Claude Tayag and Madrid Fusion’s Miel Esteban. SM officials led by SM Prime Holdings Inc president Hans Sy with SM Supermalls president Annie Garcia, SM SVP for Operations for Premier Malls Steven Tan warmly welcomed them.

For the complete schedule of events at SM malls, visit SM Supermalls on Facebook or @smsupermalls on Instagram. For more information on how to register for Madrid Fusion Manila 2015, visit