Apr 2, 2018

Around this time last year, the local culinary scene was abuzz with excitement thanks to the Madrid Fusion Manila—the first Asian edition of the world’s “most important gastronomy congress.” The Manila edition has been running since 2015, and although it was expected to continue until the end of its contract in 2019, it looks like the project will be cut short, as Inquirer reported yesterday.

We wish it was just an April Fool’s joke, but unfortunately, it isn’t.

Looks like the current administration isn’t too fond of the project, seeing it as a big expense for promoting cultures other than our own. We can only agree in partiality—having witnessed the Madrid Fusion Manila last year, we can say that while the event did highlight a number of foreign brands and culinary personalities, it also did the same for the local scene.

In memory of Madrid Fusion Manila, let’s look back at just how much we learned about the local culinary scene in last year’s congress alone:

Heirloom rice can be used for a variety of innovative dishes

Varieties of heirloom rice used during the first regional lunch

On the first day of the congress, a regional lunch with the theme Luzon/Rice showed attendees creative ways to use heirloom rice from provinces such as Benguet, Ifugao, and Mountain Province. Heirloom rice was turned into flat rice bread, incorporated into chocolate bars, and more.

Planting even inedible crops helps in battling climate change

Knowing more about the crops that can grow on our soil can also help us adapt to the changes in our climate. In a seed swap event with Slow Food Manila, they explain that keeping varieties of plants, even those that are inedible, is important as they can give information on plant pests and diseases.

There’s a lot of local products we still don’t know about

Aside from listening to insightful talks by Filipino and foreign chefs, we also had the chance to go around the trade areas, where we were able to find a lot of local products that could very well compete with the already popular imported items we regularly see in our pantries. Organic, preservative-free steak rubs, local herbal tea, healthy and sustainable “Pinoy” granola, and regional seasonings are some examples.

While there may no longer be an event as big as Madrid Fusion Manila to highlight our local products and culinary and sustainability concepts, it’s not yet the end for our culinary and agricultural industries.

A new project called Buhay Carinderia will take the place of Madrid Fusion Manila. The project, which is done in collaboration with Linda Legaspi of Marylindbert International, aims to “[redefine] the karinderya (eatery) as something ‘innovative, dynamic, and relatable,’” Inquirer reports. Buhay Carinderia is set to launch on Apr. 11 and is said to be even bigger than Madrid Fusion Manila.

It’s sad to say goodbye to Madrid Fusion, but as long as we continue to have efforts to put our cuisine and our products on the map—locally and internationally—it may not be so bad.


Read more:

Chef Josh Boutwood’s survival guide to Manila’s culinary scene

Nicco Santos found family through his culinary journey

Toyo Eatery is “the one to watch”, according to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Read more by Pauline Miranda:

Ten local products you didn’t know you needed

25-course Bangkok restaurant Gaggan is Asia’s Best Restaurant for fourth year

This is how the world will eat this 2018

TAGS: buhay carinderya filipino filipino cuisine Filipino Food Filipino products local cuisine local products madrid fusion Madrid Fusion Manila News nolisoli philippine cuisine