Creativity and innovation was in full display during the second day of Madrid Fusión Manila. With the international roster of chefs presenting various culinary masterpieces that opened the eyes of the delegates to new ways of cooking and relating to specific ingredients by looking to both tradition and personal experiences.
The first speaker of the day was Claude Tayag who discussed the most quintessential Filipino dish: adobo. He praised the dish’s versatility and its ability to bridge even the divide between economic classes. Tayag also touched on the strong influence of Spain on Philippine cultural heritage and identity.
Paco Roncero wowed the crowd with a breakthrough presentation in Manila that opened participants’ minds to using olive oils aside from using it for frying or salad dressings. He prepared a degustation featuring snacks and dishes that optimize different olive oils’ properties most notable of which was an amazing deconstruction of queso manchego.
Roncero advised young Filipino chefs, saying: “To be a great chef? Work, work and work. The touch base for innovation is hard-work. The more you learn, the more you adapt or create new techniques. Technique should be at the service of the chef, and not the other way around.”
His advice of hard-work is also a belief shared by the local restaurant scene’s fastest rising star, Bruce Ricketts, who at 25 years old, runs the highly-esteemed Mecha Uma restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. Speaking on seasonal local ingredients, Ricketts said that when he repeats a dish so many times, “the intimacy with the dish disappears. We need to follow ingredients.”
The overriding theme of personal experiences influencing a chef’s relationship with ingredients was not lost during Margarita Forés’ talk. Admitting that maternal love for her son Amado drives her passion, Forés presented dishes that used ingredients associated with reproduction namely egg, crab roe, fish sperm and roe and pork and cow udder. Forés reminded the participants that the “farm-to-table” movement is very real, and that “there is a real wave, a big interest in organic local ingredients,” according to Forés.
“Madrid Fusión Manila can be a very good venue to connect chefs and restaurateurs to local farmers. This way, we eat more sustainably and healthier, and at the same time, we can support livelihoods and industries.”
In a lively session, renowned Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz encouraged participants to challenge conventional ways of thinking as he touched on the topic of creativity. Through demonstrations, Aduriz stressed the importance of context in the way cooks treat ingredients.
He compelled the congress participants, especially the Filipinos, to believe that they’re creative, and to act as if they’re creative.
“Ask difficult questions. Critical thinking is an important element of creativity.”
Creativity came alive when Pepe López of La Rambla and Las Flores executed a fascinating menu of churros. López made versions that adapted or adopted ingredients to enhance the churro. His innovative menu included churros served like Japanese maki, Mexican empanada and the classic Spanish tapa patatas bravas.
Finally, André Chiang delivered a highly-informative talk on the novelty of fermented juices, which was something new to many in the congress. Saying that creativity has almost never been applied to juices, Chiang enlightened participants on the many benefits of serving fermented juices which can actually “act as a shadow that can enhance our dish. It never interferes with your dish,” he said.
“It is the purest way to appreciate the complexity of nature. In our search for innovation, we look back to our traditions, which includes fermentation,” He concluded.
For information on the chefs and the activities, please visit http://madridfusionmanila.com.
About Madrid Fusión Manila
In April 2015, as part of the “Visit the Philippines Year 2015” festivities, the eyes of the entire world will focus on Manila with the staging of Madrid Fusión Manila. This global event is envisioned to showcase an encounter between Spanish and Filipino chefs to celebrate 300 years of shared history.
Highlighting the Philippines as a culinary center of excellence in Asia, Madrid Fusión Manila presents a unique opportunity for chefs, food aficionados, and food-and beverage company professionals to come together, learn new things and share their talent, expertise, as well as products to the market.