JUST when you thought you couldn’t get enough of a dish, someone takes the plate away from you.
That, in effect, is what’s happening to the fourth serving of Madrid Fusión Manila (MFM), which is currently on hold. No exact dates and venue have been announced for what’s been dubbed as “Asia’s premier gastronomic event.”
Originally slated to be held from April 19 to 21 at the SMX Convention Center, government sources confirmed to the BusinessMirror that the original schedule is no longer pushing through. “At the moment, the dates are still being negotiated. But, as far as I know, it is still a go,” said one source.
Another source said, “Yes, it won’t be this April anymore. But I’m not sure when and where it will be.”
Several sources said the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism, is now handling the event, and not just its promotions as before. In previous years, it was the office of Verna Esmeralda C. Buensuceso, director of Product and Market Development under the DOT’s Market Development Group, which directly managed the event and coordinated with Foro de Debate, the original franchise holder of Madrid Fusión, regarding the invitations to the chefs. But Buensuceso was assigned to Tokyo last year as tourism
attaché to Japan, shortly after the DOT held an event to recognize supporters of MFM 2017.
“[April 19 to 21] were the original dates. But the government procurement of the venue and event management still has to be undergone by the TPB. So the dates had to be moved,” said a person familiar with the event.
Teresita D. Landan, officer in charge of TPB’s MICE Department confirmed to the BusinessMirror that no dates and venue have been finalized for this year’s MFM, but she did say the event was “pushing through.”
She added the DOT “advised [the TPB] sometime this year” about handling the event, and said her agency will soon be scheduling the bidding for the venue and event management. In the past three years, the event was held at SMX Convention Center, and was managed by the Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers Inc.
“We’re still finalizing details of the event and checking on the availability of the chefs because, of course, without the chefs there would be no event,” she stressed. But she acknowledged that, without an exact date, it was also difficult to pin down the chefs for the event, as well as to book a venue. “It’s a chicken-and-egg situation,” Landan admitted, but added the TPB is eyeing the event for sometime in “July or August.”
She underscored that her office had already prepared the terms of reference for the bidding and was ready to send these out “next week.” She said event managers like Paceos, and venues like the SMX Convention Center, “are welcome to join the bidding. The Secretary [Wanda Corazon T. Teo] just wanted to open the bidding to more participants.”
The MFM is a project first hatched under the term of former Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. and has been well-attended by chefs, culinary students and enthusiasts, food reviewers and media.
In a news statement in January, the DOT said the theme for MFM 2018 is “Innovating
Tradition,” which the agency hopes will sustain higher awareness and attendance to the culinary event, which is the only one of its kind in Asia.
During the three-day MFM, an international gastronomy congress is held featuring Spanish and international chef-speakers, as well as presenters among the local culinary world. At the same time, a trade show and product exhibit of local and international food, ingredients and wares are also on display.
This year’s supposed lineup of chefs include celebrated Filipino-American chef Tom Cunanan (Bad Saint) and James Beard Foundation awardee and Top Chef Season 9 winner Paul Qui, also a Filipino-American.
Spanish chefs eyed as presenters this year are Javier Estevez (La Tasqueria), Diego Gallegos (Sollo), Pepe Solla (Casa Solla) and Roberto Ruiz (Punto MX). Other foreign participating chefs tagged as attending the Manila event are Matt Abergel (Ronin, Hong Kong); Akrama Benallal (Akrame, Paris); Curtis Duffy (Grace, Chicago); Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe (Kakao Bombones Lab, Venezuela); LG Han (Labyrinth, Singapore); Mingoo Kang (Mingles, Seoul); Aitro Jeronimo Orive (Igg’s, Singapore); Floriano Pellegrino and Isabello Poti (Bros’, Italy); and Hajime Yoneda (Hajime, Osaka).
Locals chefs JP Anglo (Sarsa), Patrick Go (Black Sheep) and Nicco Santos (Hey Handsome) are supposed complete this year’s MFM lineup. (See, “Celebrated Fil-Am chef to speak at MFM 2018,” in the BusinessMirror, January 31, 2018.)
I like the lead paragraph. Very creative that it made me laugh. It was like saying “Oops, not so fast.” ha ha ha