theW+ Food: Margarita Fores' Grace Park / Manila
Manila's Celebrity Chef Margarita Fores (@margaritafores) has been called a lot of things in her life, but the latest moniker, "Asia's Best Female Chef" in 2016- crowned by regional voters of the World's 50 Best set, must be the best label yet- and it's a winning one. Always one to wear multiple hats, Fores- whose culinary career began in her 20's- on a 4-month solo trip to Italy post her grandfather's passing, was able to learn Italian-style cooking from three female mentors. That was in 1986, and 20 years later in 2016- she receives the Asia's Best award- showing that through sheer will, passion, determination, and focus- success is really measured in longevity and preserverance.
Okay now unto Grace Park! After opening popular casual (@Ciboph) and high-end dining (@Lusso_manila) Italian/Euro-centric establishments for Filipinos, Fores decided she wanted to go aspirational dining with a farm-to-table approach in the newly minted and chic Rockwell district. The purpose of Grace Park, launched in 2012, was to create a kitchen (in rustica style with concrete, iron, and reclaimed timber interiors) connecting local "farms, friends, and purveyors"- (of which the menus list their names-over 30 establishments total)- to an audience hungry for local seasonal ingredients and dishes.
The name Grace Park is the name of the neighborhood her grandmother once lived in, allowing Fores to make a direct link between this restaurant and the concept of a "meal made by Grandma". Unlike her straight up Italian-based restaurants, Grace Park offers a mixed assortment of Filipino Dishes (Adobo, Sinigang, Kinilaw) with Italian Pasta (Fettuccini Ragu of Organic Lechon).
As I told Chef Fores after the meal, my friends from Hong Kong who tried Grace Park for the first time, truly loved each dish individually and as a whole experience. We also appreciated her elevated take on local flavours, prepared and plated in her own signature "Italian style." Viva Filipina!
This blog post was made possible with the Camera, Photo, and SquareSpace apps, all on the iPhone X.
EAT Grace Park . Ground Level, One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati . https://www.facebook.com/graceparkdining/