F&B & Hospitality

Margarita Forés

Photo Paco Guerrero

One of Asia's best chefs is this Filipina who has a deep love for Italian cuisine and respect for local ingredients

Profile


Ever since she discovered her passion for Italian cuisine, her destiny of becoming Asia’s Best Female Chef (a title she received from World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2016) and the UN’s ambassador for gastronomy tourism serendipitously unravelled. Margarita Forés began with catering under her company, Cibo Di M, which would later branch off to other collectives such as Fiori Di M (food and flowerscapes) and Casa Di M (a home line) to complement her creative concepts and prolific nature. Casa Artusi Philippines, the first and only Asian offshore campus of the Forlimpopoli culinary centre, was established to mimic the home-style warmth and cooking philosophy that she herself imbibed when she went on a four-month immersion in Italy.

Her restaurants, however, are the breakthrough to her commercial culinary success. Forés established Cibo 24 years ago now and it can take credit for seamlessly integrating the habit of casual Italian dining into the Filipino lifestyle.

Standalone concepts Lusso, a champagne bar, and Grace Park, a farm-to-table restaurant, exhibit the range of her expression with Italian cuisine suited to the Filipino palate. Most recently, she opened The Loggia at Palacio de Memoria, an all-day alfresco dining restaurant that adapts her vision to the New Normal.

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Margarita Forés worked at Valentino when she was living in New York. Before she devoted her life to food, her mother Baby Araneta got her a job at the Italian house to prod her into a fashion career. The experience only introduced her to the luxuries of the Italian culture, which she also found in the cafes and restaurants of the Big Apple. Forés quit her job and made her way to Italy, not to enrol in a culinary school but to eat and learn in the homes of Italian cooks whose values she now expresses in her restaurants. 

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