Photos by Henrik Queckfeldt and Rowena Garcia
Malmö, Sweden – Two powerhouse chefs, Philippines’ Margarita Forés and Sweden’s Titti Qvarnström, ended the four-city Philippine Flavors: A Culinary Tour with Margarita Forés, Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016, with a big bang. Chef Margarita, named Asia’s Best Female Chef by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, and Chef Titti, the first woman in the Nordic edition of the Michelin to win a star in 2015, jointly prepared a collaboration dinner on 7 September 2018 at Chef Titti’s Folk, Mat Möten: Mat Restaurang at the Malmö Conference Center.
The two chefs, together with Sommelier André Qvarnström, completely charmed their guests, notably other chefs and restaurateurs from top restaurants in Malmö, journalists, food bloggers, and farm-to-table producers of organic fruits and vegetables. Guests were greeted with cocktails of Philippine mango puree and spumante, prepared by Sommelier André. They then watched enthusiastically Chef Margarita’s cooking demonstration on kinilaw, tuna fish cooked in Datu Puti vinegar. To add texture, the kinilaw was topped with the popular Philippine snack, Boy Bawang corn nuts.
Mobile phones and cameras continued clicking and flashing as Chef Margarita and Chef Titti presented their five-course menu that wonderfully mixed Philippine and Swedish flavors. As soon as a dish is served, the two Chefs described the ingredients and preparation. Each dish was paired with a wine chosen by Sommelier André. The first dish kinilaw was paired with a Pinot Grigio. A Chardonnay accompanied Chef Titti’s Langoustine, Cauliflower and Brown Butter. The pinakbet, the traditional Philippine vegetable stew, roasted pumpkin, and cashew went very well with a Torrontés white wine. The classic and well-loved short-ribs adobo braised in sukang Iloko, together with garlic adlai rice and pickled papaya or Atchara, was savored with a glass of Dolcetto red wine. The fifth dish, a desert of Risebavaroise, apple, and saffron, was a delight with Tokaji Blue puttonyos. Coffee was prepared with Philippines’ Sagada coffee beans, paired with bite-sized sweets and Malagos chocolates.
In her spiel before a dish is served, Chef Margarita mentioned the history and tradition in preparing the kinilaw, the adobo and the pinakbet. She mentioned that “sourness’, through the use of different organic souring agents in the three dishes as well as in other traditional Filipino dishes makes Philippine food not only different but certainly delicious. She also explained that adobo is not just a dish but a way of cooking, and the same is true for kinilaw.
Guests stayed until the late hours, enjoying the dinner, the company of other guests, and the chance to converse with Chef Margarita and Chef Titti, who also cheerfully served the dishes from one table to another. The enchanting dinner event slowly ended the Philippine way—a photo session with our two celebrated Chefs, and a pabaon to the guests. The pabaon or goody bag contained an adobo starter kit, Kulinarya Recipe cards, Destileria Limtuaco Quinto packs, and Theo and Philo chocolates.
The 2018 Philippine Flavors: A Culinary Tour with Margarita Forés, Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016 was jointly organized by the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Stockholm, and the Cultural Diplomacy Unit under the Office for International Economic Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The culinary tour aims to contribute to the myriad of efforts to introduce Filipino food traditions in the international market and to mainstream Philippine flavors in world cities of diverse gastronomic landscapes. Chef Margarita Forés and her talented team -- Angelo Comsti, Jorge Jimenez, Juvy Lorca, and Maicey Sacramento – showed the best of Philippine cuisine in the cities of Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Malmö.
The culinary tour was also a means to promote goodwill and deeper people-to-people ties, with expanded trade in agriculture, food and beverages, as intended consequences. The Philippine Embassy in Oslo greatly appreciates its close cooperation with Mathallen Oslo, the Copenhagen Cooking Class, Pontus Frithiof Atelier 23 in Stockholm, and Folk, Mat Möten: Mat Restaurang in Malmö, in providing the venues for the culinary tour. Of great significance were the collaboration and partnership of Chef Margarita and her team with Group Chef Mikael Einarsson of Pontus Frithiof Atelier 23 for the Stockholm leg of the tour, and with Michelin-starred Chef Titti Qvarnström of Folk, Mat Möten: Mat Restaurang for the Malmö leg. Guests to all the events in the four cities, notably well-known chefs and owners of top restaurants, food writers, food bloggers, and food suppliers and importers, were all praises on the creations of Chef Margarita and on the endeavor itself of introducing Philippine cuisine. Some of the Michelin-starred chefs expressed interest in continuing their exchanges with Chef Margarita, and invited her to visit their restaurants and organic farms.
Philippine products were used and promoted throughout the culinary tour, as well as the book Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine. The Philippine Embassy would like to particularly acknowledge the support of Destileria Limtuaco for its quinto pack of mango rhum and other spirits, the Asia Society Philippine Foundation for its Kulinarya recipe cards; Theo and Philo chocolates; Malagos chocolates; and Sostanza Inc. for the Sagada coffee beans, adlai rice, muscovado, sukang Iloko, fish sauce, barquillos, Boy Bawang corn nuts, Arc gin, and adobo starter kits.
The Philippine Embassy would also like to thank Senator Loren Legarda for providing funding for the culinary tour, Ambassador Emmanuel Teehankee for his guidance as DFA Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, and Executive Director Jean Paez and Ms Maria Louella Duarte of the DFA Cultural Diplomacy Unit for their assistance in organizing the culinary tour. END