Margarita Forés Is Knighted by The Italian Government
Creator of well-loved restaurants Cibo di M, Lusso, and the former Café Bola and Pepato, Margarita Forés has been a trailblazer in the Philippine dining scene ever since she first introduced a new way of appreciating Italian food in the local F&B market.
Before Forés, Italian cuisine in the Philippines was much more predictable and straightforward but with Cibo, she made it more modern while paying tribute to the classic techniques she learned in Italy. Introducing a fresh and contemporary take on the cuisine (in the midst of mostly American franchises), Forés's Cibo no doubt transformed the the way consumers appreciated Italian flavours. With chic presentation and visuals, diners get to enjoy a gustatory journey through the magic of Italian cuisine served with a sophisticated touch.
When she entered the culinary scene more than three decades years ago, the industry was dominated by male executive chefs. “There weren’t really any women in the local food scene,” she recalls. Forés did not attend formal cooking school; still, she embarked on a culinary journey all on her own by preparing meals in people’s homes. In her own words, this informal start made her experience all the more unique. Some of the first dishes that I learnt to prepare were Italian pastas,” she says.“Looking back, it was good that I started with Italian cuisine because it taught me how to respect the ingredients and the food preparation process. Today, I still believe in cooking everything fresh à la minute on site.”
Since then, she has catered to large high profile events as well as small, private intimate dinners. Her restaurant line presents modern Italian cuisine at various price points while her catering alllows her creativity to be expressed according to the clients' taste and budgets.
Besides being a well-accomplished chef, Forés has also been a staunch advocate for organic produce and the growing slow food movement. Featuring her love for cooking and passion for discovery, Forés launched a four-part TV series with CNN Philippines entitled Harvest with Margarita Forés.
Of the venture, she notes, "it was a priceless opportunity to travel around my own country and discover not just new ingredients and ways of cooking, but to be able to really interact with the people and the farmers. They are the stakeholders who are connected to the products that we are there to learn about. I love to learn about new ways to handle produce. I learned about myself as I had to think about how to put my own take on these rich traditional dishes."
For her firsts in the business of food and exhibiting exquisite taste and style in both, she was given the Most Creative Force Award during the 2014 Philippine Tatler Ball. Shortly after that, Forés was recognised with the Honorary Marietta Award, named after the Marietta Sabatini, Pellegrino Artusi’s beloved assistant whom the “father of modern Italian cuisine” entrusted his recipes.
This then cemented her status as the first and only Filipino and non-Italian recipient of the award. Shortly after, she was hailed Asia's Best Female Chef in 2016 for mastering her craft across the years while continuing to innovate and add Filipino flavours to her cooking.
Proving she has no plans of slowing down, the chef was recently declared Cavaliere (Honorary Knight) of the Ordine della Stella d'Italia (Order of the Star of Italy). The honour was bestowed upon her by Italian Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino during a small gathering-cum-ceremony last November 13, 2018 at the Ambassador's residence.
Truly, Forés continues to inspire by example. With passion and continued dedication to her craft, we're sure there is much more to expect from the chef. We at Philippine Tatler congratulate Chef Margarita Forés and look forward to more of her ventures and dining discoveries.
To know more about Margarita Forés and her dining concepts, you may visit: margaritafores.com. Additional words by Irene Martel Francisco.