Cover Chef Margarita Fores by Paco Guerrero

Who are the females in the food industry that you should keep an eye-out for?

In local dining scene is bursting to life with a vengeance. With new concepts emerging, innovative new menus, fresh plans and unique perspectives from Filipino gourmands and experts in the F&B industry, the future is sure looking more delicious as the days go by. Many of these brilliant minds are confident, and savvy women who are pouring their hearts into their craft. There is no better time than now to spotlight these females working in the food industry than during International Women's Month! Follow these women's colourful and tasty adventures all year-round:

1. Happy Ongpauco Tiu

This chef and restaurateur is the founder of The Happy Concept Group which houses all her brands. Under the group, she has around 10 restaurants, a catering company that takes care of events decoration needs, and a homeware brand with beautiful flatware, cutlery and accent pieces. 

2. Miko Calo

Previously a chef under the renowned Joel Robuchon, Calo is currently a partner and executive chef of Metronome, and Lazy Oeuf and was named Tatler Dining Guide's Chef of The Year for 2022. 

3. Margarita Fores

Chef Forés was Asia's Best Female Chef 2016 and is one of the country's most esteemed culinary talents and restaurateurs. As the founder of Margarita Forés Concepts, her projects include: Cibo, Lusso, Grace Park, and her very own in-demand catering service Cibo Di Marghi. She is also one of Tatler Asia's Most Influential Tastemakers. 

Read more: Meet Tatler Asia's Most Influential Tastemakers 


4. Abba Napa

This stunning talent lives and breathes great food and dining experiences. Abba Napa is the creative director of The Moment Group, which holds a plethora of F&B brands under its umbrella. She is also one of Tatler Asia's Most Influential Tastemakers. 

Read more: 10 Business Women Shaping the Philippines

5. Ana De Ocampo

She is a trained pastry chef, and is the co-founder and restaurateur behind the Wildflour Group which comprises: Wildflour, Little Flour, Farmacy, Pinks, Wildflour Italian. She is also one of Tatler Asia's Most Influential personalities and was named Restaurateur of the Year by Tatler Dining Guide 2022. 

Read more: Asia's Best Female Chef 2021 Is DeAille Tam Of Obscura, Shanghai

6. Kim Yao

This Gen T honouree is the founder of Boozy, an on-demand liquor delivery website and app, and Cloudeats, a cloud kitchen hub that services its 50 plus in-house delivery brands.

7. Chit Juan

She is president of the Philippine Coffee Board and has authored four books on coffee. Chit represents Slow Food South East Asia and is co-founder of ECHOstore. Chit is also one of Tatler Asia's Most Influential Tastemakers. 

8. May Navarra

May is the co-owner and general manager of the acclaimed Toyo restaurant and bakery, Panaderia Toyo which she leads with her husband, chef Jordy. This duo have helped elevate Filipino cuisine and continue to bring respect to our country's culinary scene, making us foodies proud. 

See also: This Is Why Chef Jordy and May Navarra of Toyo Eatery Are Successful

9. Juana Manahan Yupangco

Juana is a plant-based advocate and is the author of a cookbook. She founded Mesa Ni Misis, a platform that espouses healthy eating and a holistic lifestyle. The organisation works with different communities and creates programs designed to make healthy eating more affordable and accessible to Filipinos.

See also: How To Eat More Veggies Today with Juana Manahan Yupangco

10. Bettina Arguelles

This Filipina is the brand new executive chef of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila hotel! Most head chefs of notable international hotels are foreigners and are more often than not, male, so this is definitely exciting news! 

Read more: Bettina Arguelles is the First Filipina Executive Chef of a 5-Star Hotel in the PH

11. Pilar Valdes

This Filipina is Drew Barrymore’s private chef, owner of a catering company in NYC and a regular on the cooking segment of The Drew Barrymore Show

Related: Pilar Valdes Tells Us All About Her Culinary Journey 

12. Cherrie Atilano

She is part of our Asia's Most Influential list for many reasons. She is the founder of AGREA (which strives to create a more sustainable agricultural future for our country), a global shaper for WEF (World Economic Forum), director on the board of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, a United Nations nutrition ambassador and part of Asia's 50 Best, 50 Next list. 

Related: Cherrie Atilano Represented The Philippines At The UN Food Systems Summit

13. Monica Llamas Garcia

This lady is a name to know in the local cocktail and liquor scene. She is co-founder of Bleeding Heart Rum Co., which produces world-famous Don Papa rum. She is also co-founder of Santa Ana Gin and one of Tatler Asia's Most Influential Tastemakers. 

14. Quenee Villar

Chef Quenee has been a professional chef for years and has refined her skillset in cooking SEA (Southeast Asian) cuisines. She is co-founder of the cloud concept Sambar which makes gorgeous takeaway meals and sauces. 

15. Louise Mabulo

This Gen.T honouree is. the founder of the Cacao Project and Culinary Lounge restaurant. She is also a Nat Geo explorer, Resolution Project fellow, and is Young Champion of the United Nations environment programme.

Read more: The Best Food and Cooking Shows On Netflix: What To Watch This 2021


16. Olivia Limpe-Aw

She is the head of Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc., the oldest distillery in the country which has been in her family for five generations. The group creates a plethora of local spirits that Filipinos are mighty proud of. She is also one of Tatler Asia's Most Influential Tastemakers

17. Karla Mendoza

Karla Mendoza is a chef with quite an impressive pedigree. She worked and trained under superstars like Mario Batali, Anita Lo and Nancy Silverton and has cooked all over the world. In the Philippines, she made a name with her flavourful private dinners and her extremely sought after focaccia bread. She was set on opening her own restaurant prior to the pandemic, but has since moved to London to help run chef Silverton's Pizzeria Mozza location.

18. Cristeta Pasia Comerford

Cristeta Pasia Comerford is a Filipino-American chef who has spent her life cooking for American presidents. She has been the White House Executive Chef since 2005 and has worked in the kitchen for much longer. Comerford is also the first woman and the first Asian to take on this role.

19. Tina Legarda

Chef Tina Legarda has brought Bamba Bistro into our lives around 9 years now and boy are we thankful for that. Her comforting Spanish-Filipino cuisine has warmed our stomachs and made us happy campers. With her exciting innovations like drive-in dining with accompanying Spotify playlists, secret menu drops, and more, we can't want to find out what she reveals next. 

20. Kelly Go

This young talent (who is part of our Tastemaker's list) is the co-founder of Auro Chocolate which has branches both around the country and the globe, promoting Philippine chocolate. This brand has truly elevated how our chocolates have been produced and are exquisitely packaged too. With international collaborations, presence in various markets, and a cafe opening in Bahrain, the future us looking sweet for team Auro. 

21. Cheryl Tiu

She is part of Tatler Asia's Most Influential, known as a food and lifestyle journalist at international media outlets she is also the founder of Cross Cultures, an events and F&B platform, and co-founder of Proclamation Gin.

22. Kimberly Camara

Chef Kimberly Camara of Kora for around three years now. This Filipina co-founded Kora in the summer of 2020 with Kevin Borja. From her apartment kitchen in Woodside, Queens (also known as Little Manila), Camara and Borja infused Philippine traditions from their own backgrounds, with innovative flair gleaned from their F&B experiences. This passion project exploded; Kora soon had a wait-list for their sweet treats that was 800 people long–today, it has around 10,000 names.


5 Savoury Cereal Recipes for Lunch or Dinner

7 Must-Know Female Bartenders in the Philippines

The Culinary Capitals of the Philippines: Chef JP Anglo’s Guide to Negros Occidental 

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.