December 29, 2015

Exclusive Interview: The Chefs of Madrid Fusión Manila

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  • Learn more about two culinary masters who graced the event: Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz and Chef Paco Roncero.

    Yes, it has been ten days week since the biggest gastronomical event of the year, but we are definitely not over it! Philippine Primer enjoyed attending the first day of the International Gastronomical Congress and tasting different cheeses and more at the food tunnel, but we still have a lot more to share!

    Behind a great dish is a masterful chef. Madrid Fusión Manila was teeming with them: great dishes perfect for this culinary feast and even greater, multi-awarded chefs. Philippine Primer was able to speak with two of them about the event and their craft. It didn’t matter that they hardly spoke any English; their achievements speak dozens about their extraordinary creativity and playful approach to food.

    Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz

    Mugaritz (2 Michelin stars, 3 Repsol Suns )

    Andoni (2)

    Chef Andoni

    Multi-awarded Spanish chef Andoni Luis Aduriz was one of the most sought-after personalities at the recently-concluded Madrid Fusión Manila. His talk at the Gastronomy Congress of Madrid Fusión was about open creativity. He demonstrated the creation of several dishes that were not only pleasantly surprising, but inventive. He is also a strong advocate of Basque gastronomy and has also worked for almost all the great Spanish chefs, such as Ferran Adrià in El Bulli and Pedro Subijana.

    His restaurant, Mugaritz, ranks fourth in the world’s best restaurants. During his interview with Philippine Primer, he mentioned that stepping into Mugaritz is a creative exercise, not for the ones preparing the dish but for the ones dining.

    “We are not to show you how creative we are, what we want is for people to sit on our tables and bring out their creativity. The client is not only someone going there to eat; he’s part of an experience. That’s very important […] because we will read you like a book,” said Chef Andoni. “For example, if you come happy, you’re gonna go out happier. […] If you come tired, you’re gonna go out tired. If you come creative, you’re gonna go out much more creative. That’s why you become a book. We can feel how you feel, because we made you to be part of it.”

    He also sees Filipino food as an emerging global cuisine that would stand out depending on the understanding of passion found in different cultures that comes to people naturally in due time. “Every morning I take an infusion of toxic seeds. It’s called coffee,” he laughs. “It’s a cultural flavor. It comes from another country that has nothing to do with me. But it’s part of my culture already. So tell me what you like and I will like it, learn to love it. You just have to prepare me to taste it and like it.”

    Speaking of new tastes, Chef Andoni claims to have discovered something different while in the Philippines.

    “Yesterday, I went to Vask by Chele [Gonzales]. I tried some dishes, products, vegetables that are very different,” he shared. It’s very important to understand globalization, [but] it’s also important to have something that makes you different from the other ones. I saw many things I didn’t know about. The way you mix your flavors, you have a lot of personality that I haven’t seen in other Asian cuisines.”

    Chef Paco Torreblanca

    Pasteleria Totel; Torreblanca Bombonerias y Pastelerias



    Chef Paco

    Known as the best pastry chef not only in Spain but all over Europe, Chef Paco Torreblanca introduced innovation of extraordinary heights in the art of pastry making. With a huge number of awards and recognitions under his belt, he is very popular for his use of extra virgin olive oil in place of cocoa butter when making chocolates, creating way smooth-tasting small pieces of heaven.

    For many years, Chef Paco worked in a patisserie in Paris, learned the ropes, mastered them and went home to Alicante to open his own. A champion of perfection, he sees himself thinking like an alchemist with no room for mistakes. He truly believes in the importance of precise and detailed execution in cooking and baking.

    “This is one of the motives that led me to believe in [real] passion for food,” he said.

    And passionate he is. Throughout his career, Chef Paco has found multiple ways to share his craft and his cause to the world. He is also known for holding workshops and special classes, accepting consultations, doing presentations and collaborations with other chefs – activities that enrich his craft and make others find out more about it.

    Chef Paco also recognizes and admires the similarities and differences in cuisines. For instance, he was able to taste the piyaya, flaky flatbreads filled with dark muscovado sugar from Bacolod, and found it quite similar to a pastry from South America. He claims, however, that Filipino sweets are totally different from the ones in Spain due to the differences in culture and history.

    During the International Gastronomy Congress, Chef Paco spoke about creativity in pastry making, its importance and how it affects pastry preparation in general. Sharing his knowledge on his craft is not new to him, though. Aside from the classes and meetings he holds, he has also authored six books, two of which awarded Best Pastry Book of the World by the Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards in 2003 and 2006.

    Truly, he is an inspiration to the aspiring pâtissiers worldwide. His message to them?

    “Three things: work, work and more work,” he says with a smile.” And a lot of discipline.”


    Photos by Madrid Fusión Manila (Chef Andoni) and by Francine Castillo (Chef Paco)

    Article by Madeline Castillo, Jess Jacutan (Chef Andoni) and Patricia Cordova (Chef Paco)

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