The Philippines on the Asia’s 50 Best radar: Asia’s best female chef Margarita Fores with son Amado and mom Baby Araneta-Fores at the awarding ceremony at W in Bangkok on Feb. 29.
BANGKOK, THAILAND — For the second year in a row, Gaggan claims the top spot in the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. “When I came to the awards in 2013, nobody knew me. Bangkok and Thailand loved me but most of the people thought I was a sponsor of the awards. On the first year of Asia’s 50 Best, I was number 14, and then number three and then number 1,” said chef-patron Gaggan Anand, whose restaurant in Bangkok is known for its progressive Indian cuisine. “Winning for a consecutive year gives you more confidence. We changed a lot from 2015 to what it is today. It was like when I was in school waiting for a year for my examination report on how well I did. I feel more confident today.”
Anand and his team were in Manila in October 2015 for a collaboration dinner organized by Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu, in collaboration with Gallery Vask. This year, the restaurant helmed by chef Chele Gonzalez debuted on the 2016 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, taking the number 39 spot, and earning the title of The S.Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the Philippines. Gallery Vask is the only restaurant from the Philippines on the list this year. Gonzalez and partner architect Carlo Calma received the award onstage at the W Bangkok.
Filipino chef Margarita Forés also attended the ceremony, accompanied by her son Amado and her mother, Baby Araneta-Forés, where she was named “Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016.” “This is for the Philippines!” she and Gonzalez exclaimed holding up their trophies at the after-party held at the House on Sathorn. “To keep going up, keep doing things, keep dreaming and keep pushing the Philippines on the map,” said Gonzalez.
This is the first year that the awards ceremony was held in the Thai capital. “The 2016 list includes 10 new restaurants and showcases the best dining experiences in 13 countries, more than ever before,” said William Drew, group editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. “The awards reflect the growth and diversity of Asia’s dining scene.” Apart from Gallery Vask, the other new entrants this year were: Mingles (Seoul, Korea) at #15; Corner House (Singapore) at #17; La Maison de La Nature Goh (Fukuoka, Japan) at #31; Den (Tokyo, Japan) at #37; Wild Rocket (Singapore) at #38; Kikunoi (Kyoto, Japan) at #42; Raw (Taipei, Taiwan) at #46; Ta Vie (Hong Kong) at #48 and Locavore (Bali, Indonesia) at #49.
“Asia’s 50 Best makes 50 chefs famous every year,” said Anand. “And all of the chefs have become my friends. We were teasing each other, taking selfies, pulling each other’s pants. It’s a gathering of a family. That’s the best thing about the awards.”
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Asia’s 50 Best is sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna and run by William Reed Business Media, in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. For the full list of the winners, visit www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en/asias-50-best-restaurants.html. More on Asia’s 50 Best in the upcoming issue of Lifestyle Asia.