07 Aug2007

Margarita Fores…

by Marketman

Just a quick post on one of my favorite chefs, cooks, food people in Manila. And she doesn’t really know who I am. A few weeks ago, at a dinner for the Board of a school that I have helped out, Margarita and her team were asked to cater a private dinner for say just 20 guests and the menu that was sent my way was a stunning, but I mean stunning, list of dishes I would have loved to try; not to mention consume in large quantities. The advance menu was sent to me since I had already begged off from that particular dinner meeting having other family business to attend to down in Cebu, but friends were trying to get me to change my travel plans, cancel several meetings with my lawyers and move my other meetings in order to make that spectacular dinner. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. But Mrs. MM did and she thought the food was fantastic.

This was the text I received from my friend, the host of the dinner, and it read:

Squash flowers with mozzarella and fresh porcini mushrooms
Foie gras lollipops with pistachio and honey
Papardelle with culatello
Funghi trifolati
Cambazola with Truffles
Linguine with Ulang, scallops, crabs and bottarga
Seabass with saffron rouille
Roast carcas of baby lamb al rosmarino
Garlic Rice pilaf with pignoli
Mascarpone Clouds
Valrhona Chocolate Torta with Cerveza Negra Gelato

Yowks! Talk about a DINNER! :)

I have eaten Ms. Fores’ (Margarita, Marghi, Gaita to some) food many times before; and it has always been very good. Her early forays in catering always resulted in beautiful buffets or sit down dinners. Mrs. MM and I were frequent repeat diners at Cibo, Pepato and Cafe Bola and all I can say is, if I had had a parallel life to my other career as a banker/consultant, it would have been something similar to Ms. Fores’ path… Kudos to her for a great set of restaurants, consistently good food, beautiful flowers, etc. And heehee, I have the benefit of knowing exactly who she is, but until I am introduced to her, she probably can’t figure Marketman out exactly… so Marghi, here are some clues… you are of course a cousin of a very good friend of mine. Mrs. MM and I have been at several events you catered for mutual friends who are into wine. I spoke with you briefly at the Goldenberg Mansion dinner for the Societe Dante Alighieri, and I stood with that cousin of yours a few meters away from your table one evening outside Sonja’s cupcakes… I also did a feature on The Blue Kitchen, and recently, some other friends tipped me off to give Mamou a try once the opening dust has settled… At any rate, welcome to Marketmanila (and thank you for the 15+ comments you added last night), I suspect our paths will cross soon, but do stay up nights checking out some of the other 1,200 posts already in the archives and we all look forward to your comments, particularly when I stray into Italian food territory…



  1. CecileJ says:

    Gee, I don’t understand half of the menu but already I can imagine the tastes, textures and aromas!!! (The Mascarpone Clouds and Valhrona Chocolate Torta sound divine! And the Squash Flowers, Linguine with Ulang and the Lamb with Rosemary…ayayay!!!!)

    Aug 7, 2007 | 2:33 pm


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  3. Kongkong622 says:

    I attended my cousin’s baby shower a few weeks ago and was just positively elated to find out that “The” Gaita Fores was catering. It was a merienda sena and she served that papardelle dish and had a “make-your-own” panini station. Not knowing what went well with what, I just asked her on-site chefs to make a few for me. The one with beef, blue cheese, and onions on a focaccia was divine. For dessert she served pannacota. Sarrrraaaapppp!!!!

    Yes, I’m a fan too. So if Ms. Fores will be dropping by anytime soon…..a big shout out to you!!

    Aug 7, 2007 | 3:33 pm

  4. Myra P. says:

    Hi MM, this may be slightly off tangent, but since Gaita Fores is both a chef and cancer survivor, this post seems appropriate at this time:

    Please support Pink Kitchen, a benefit food festival for I Can Serve, an advocacy group for breast cancer. It’s this sat-sun, aug 11-12, at the Rockwell Tent, from 11am to 10pm.

    To read more about the event and all the participating chefs, goto http://www.icanserve.net/pinkkitchen.html.

    Aug 7, 2007 | 3:39 pm

  5. Myra P. says:

    weird, the link doesnt work from this blog… goto the home page instead: http://www.icanserve.net :)

    Aug 7, 2007 | 3:41 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Myra, yes, thanks for reminding me, I will put a post in the next day or two, I do plan to drop in at that event, a very worthy one, I might add…

    Aug 7, 2007 | 3:50 pm

  7. Carlo says:

    I’m also a huge fan of her cuisine and my family and I frequently eat at Cibo and Cafe Bola. Everything on that menu looks delicious but the Cerveza Negra gelato sounds especially intriguing!

    Aug 7, 2007 | 3:57 pm

  8. Faye says:

    Cheers! Welcome Ms. Fores!

    Aug 7, 2007 | 4:23 pm

  9. Didi says:

    I heard she’s THE best caterer around! :)

    Aug 7, 2007 | 4:55 pm

  10. sha says:

    am in cloud nine with this menu.. am thinking of going back to megayachts again to work along side with great chefs!

    Aug 7, 2007 | 5:04 pm

  11. arlene says:

    Hi MM,

    Great Menu.. wow…
    Im still going to ask where can I buy decent “home” deep fryer?


    Aug 7, 2007 | 5:58 pm

  12. bernadette says:

    I was able to attend one of the many, many catering parties that she hosted, many, many years ago. We were were a bunch of artists who didn’t know what those fondues were all about. Margarita was just so patient teaching us the basics of Italian cuisine and the various colourful dishes all set there. We just had all our mouths agaped like babes in the woods :-).

    Aug 7, 2007 | 6:03 pm

  13. Katrina says:

    WOW! Now, that IS a special dinner! I would’ve gladly movd my schedule for that. And, predictably, I have to exclaim, “foie gras lollipops!!!” ;-)

    I love Margarita Fores’s food, too — I’d never turn down a meal at Cibo or Pepato. I’ve spoken to her a couple of times because, years ago, we used to go to the same gym, and she once gave a talk (together with other chefs) at our office. I’m sure she doesn’t remember my name, but she would always smile when we happened to bump into each other. She strikes me as a warm, easygoing person with a passion for life. And no one can deny that she’s perennially chic and incredibly youthful-looking!

    Aug 7, 2007 | 6:31 pm

  14. Katrina says:

    Oh, and that Cerveza Negra gelato is just inspired! I can imagine that dark maltiness with the chocolate…MMM!

    Aug 7, 2007 | 6:34 pm

  15. Risa says:

    I love her passion for food, her restaurants, her unflinching dedication to quality and consistency. Pepato and Cibo are the only places where I can close my eyes, point anywhere in the menu and not be disappointed. Her combinations are strokes of genius that work really well. You end up saying, “Wow! That really works well together, who’d have thought?!” Cafe Bola always hits that craving for down home stuff.

    I’ve never met her, but I know her food well and that’s fine with me and my tummy. Thanks Gaita for the wonderful food experience.

    Aug 7, 2007 | 8:01 pm

  16. joey says:

    I have always enjoyed her restaurants, and have been to a few events catered by her and enjoyed those too :) I got the opportunity to work with her once, and like Katrina, I don’t know if she remembers me, but she also strikes me as a friendly and easygoing person :)

    Aug 7, 2007 | 8:12 pm

  17. Em Dy says:

    Hi Myra. Noticed why your link does not work. A period follows html. Click this instead to get to Pink Kitchen

    Aug 7, 2007 | 9:13 pm

  18. Myra P. says:

    Em Dy…. Doh! *feels stupid* Thanks for solving the mystery…

    Aug 7, 2007 | 11:07 pm

  19. Maddie says:

    My 4-year old daughter and my husband loves CIbo’s pasta telefono! We eat at Cibo (whether we are at Glorietta, Power Plant, or Shang mall) AT LEAST 3x a week! When in Greenbelt, we are at Cafe Bola. If I even begin to do the math, I’m not sure how much we’ve poured into these establishments. But then again, my family’s happiness gives me pure joy. And, the food is good, so I’m not complaining. It’s just funny how we order the same things each and every time we are there. I go for their chicken sandwich! I’m all pasta’d out everywhere else, so the paninis are my thing. And recently, their pizza ovale! Yummy! By the way, my daughter started to appreciate pasta before she turned one, with the spaghetti bolognese of Cibo. It took quite some time before she even appreciated fastfood spaghetti or the pinoy style sweet spaghetti. And she never went through the stage of calling any form of pasta as generic spaghetti or macaroni. She went straight to “I want pasta mom!” Bottomline, CIBO is comfort food for us. If we are not too sure of what we will be served for dinner, off we go to CIBO!

    Aug 8, 2007 | 12:17 am

  20. Maria Clara says:

    I heard she’s the one who introduced the chico prosciuto combination there. She’s incredible, fearless and explorer.

    Aug 8, 2007 | 12:49 am

  21. Jade186 says:

    I’ve never tried this resto since I can whip up Italian dishes myself, and am currently based in Europe. But of course there’s always a first time. Do they have a homepage?

    Aug 8, 2007 | 2:07 am

  22. Queen B says:

    Your post made me homesick for Cibo… Hubby and friends of ours are frequent diners, whether in Glorietta or Alabang Town Center. This will be one of the restaurants we will be eating in once we go home for a vacation…

    Aug 8, 2007 | 9:23 am

  23. Alicia says:

    My daughter celebrated her 7th birthday last month. We wanted a relaxed party with excellent food. Ms. Fores catering arm provided exactly what we had in mind. Needless to say the food was a big hit (as it usually is)! But its not just their food, but their attention to detail, their service and set up.. one of the best manila has to offer!

    Aug 8, 2007 | 10:25 am

  24. allen says:

    What a dinner! I would have gatecrashed if I knew where it was held hehe.. I love her restaurants! Luckily, I live near Gateway at the Araneta Center where she has a branch of Cibo & Cafe Bola that I can visit anytime ;-)

    Aug 8, 2007 | 12:34 pm

  25. suzette says:

    oh i so love miss gaita’s food! adobo flakes and kamias shake at cafe bola, the seafood insalata and paninis at cibo and the chilean seabass and crabmeat ravioli at pepato… squisito!!!

    Aug 8, 2007 | 1:35 pm

  26. kikay says:

    How much would a catering package cost?

    Aug 8, 2007 | 2:24 pm

  27. T. Legarda says:

    Dear MM – You’ve featured two of my cousins on your site, Gaita, and Suzette Montinola, and I want to thank you for honoring these two gifted women, of whom my family is so proud!

    Aug 8, 2007 | 11:25 pm

  28. Marghi says:

    Hey Tweetie! It’s you! All the best…and to all of you who have kindly made comments, THANK YOU for all the support…I am blushing and cringing at the moment from all the kind words…apart from that, am actually teary-eyed because those of you who visit MM’s blog are KINDRED SPIRITS and YOU truly are my inspiration, and have been all these 20 years that this love affair with food and love affair with preparing it has been around….I realize my being emotional at this moment may partly be the work of an absent thyroid and a hormone situation gone all looney after thyroid cancer surgery, but with much humility, a truly warm thank you to all…and to the ever elusive MM, sorry for the memory lapses but I know we’ve crossed paths….but this just makes the opportunity to actually sit and share a meal with you, the Mrs, and the Kid, more of a treat to look forward to!! (I must tell my cousin to host another dinner fast!!!) The best part about this passion for food is the thought that the learning never ends….so thank goodness for this blog where you’ve actually allowed all of us the opportunity to always keep our sense of wonder alive….this is indeed the surest way to keep young…please feel free to share any feedback, particularly the constructive criticism as this is the best source of learning and the only way my workmates and I may continue to grow and find ways to improve ourselves…. much appreciation to all, always….Whew!!! still blushing and cringing…

    Aug 9, 2007 | 12:02 am

  29. Marghi says:

    aridelros, that does sound like a great idea that will yield lots of useful information. I must admit I haven’t done it yet….Getting the system in place was a huge challenge because I had no real background in the resto business ….just lots of love for what we were doing….and there was no previous system in place either before cibo…the home-style approach to cooking I learned in Italy was a challenge to translate to an operation preparing food for so many…the same challenge was present in my catering business…but after many years of constant practice, learning from every job in catering or every challenging day at the restaurant, and now at the numerous branches, we have finally got our own custom-made system down pat after so many lessons learned….its been quite reassuring as well to have validated our own system with what the rest in the trade are doing after so many years,,,,now completing our manuals is our current challenge….thank you for all your feedback!!!

    hi maddie…what heartwarming words!!! I hope I can meet your daughter one day….we are actually dedicating our tenth anniversary at CIBO to all the super kids who have grown up enjoying our food and and have kept us on our toes so that we make sure that they are always happy when they visit us….hope I can meet you and your family one day soon….would be nice to have you join us when we celebrate our August 22 tenth anniversary sometime the end of September. PLease do give us more feedback ….really appreciate it ….

    Aug 10, 2007 | 11:21 pm

  30. argon says:

    did you just say a cerveza negra ice cream!

    that i’ve got to try!

    Sep 12, 2007 | 7:30 pm

  31. joseph says:

    hi. I hope Margarita Fores reads this :) Sana sana she will open a Cibo or Cafe Bola branch here in the Manila area. Robinsons Malate has already expanded, using the area of the old Midtown hotel. Thanks!

    Oct 31, 2007 | 10:49 am

  32. greta says:

    Hi. I just discover this market manila bout a week ago and since then I always make time to visit the site found the articles very interesting (since i love to cook and eat ). I also love Ms. Fores’ menu in Cibo.

    Oct 10, 2008 | 11:35 pm


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