Latest Stories

Ladies Who Lunch

When ‘The Firm’ hosts a gastronomic dinner


FINANCE Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, former Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila and Enrique K. Razon Jr.

Apparently this has been going on for some months now, but so quietly. CVCLAW, the law firm otherwise known among bad-news consumers as “The Firm,” has been hosting gastronomic dinners for its top clients the past months.

The fourth in a series of the Casa Artusi dinners was held some time last month, and this time, after missing the previous ones, we made it. It was one unforgettable evening for both dining and people-watching.

Margarita Fores, expectedly, prepared an almost-to-die-for 14-course menu—in small, just-right servings so you don’t feel stuffed—using recipes from the legendary Casa Artusi culinary school in Emilia Romagna, Italy.

REP. SONNY Angara and Augusto San Pedro Jr.

But before we could sit down to dinner, we had a pre-dinner stimulant: watching the Firm’s power clients/guests come in and be welcomed by the Firm’s top man Pancho Villaraza and the evening’s hosts, Augusto A. San Pedro Jr. and Franchette Acosta, senior and junior partners, respectively.

There were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and wife Corazon in a huddle with Tessie Sy-Coson and Ricky Razon, among others; also Rosemarie Arenas who came with daughter, Rep. Ma. Rachel Arenas; Peter Favila, Ramon Arnaiz, Rep. Sonny Angara, Rep. Sigrifido Tinga.

The Rainmaker’s Lounge, the Firm’s exclusive dining restaurant on a top floor at the CVCLAW building, had tables decked with fresh fruits and flowers as centerpieces, with Venetian masks thrown in to complete the Renaissance theme.

SYLVETTE Y. Tankiang, Sally L. Villaraza, Alice A. Favila, former Secretary Favila and Francis de Borja

In introducing the courses, Margarita said the series of Artusi dinners at the Firm was just a glimpse of what Casa Artusi culinary school, newly opened in the country, could offer.

Margarita owes her dynamic culinary career to Casa Artusi, where she trained, and whose culinary philosophy and authentic Italian cooking she follows to this day—fresh ingredients and a cooking method that brings out, not smothers, the freshness and flavors of each ingredient.

MICHAL Smejc, Lukas Bis, Franchette M. Acosta, Augusto A. San Pedro Jr. and DavidMinol

The dishes she prepared that night, like in previous Artusi dinners, were from the iconic Artusi culinary book, which contains more than 700 recipes—an Italian homemaker’s bible. So while this was already the fourth in a series of dinners, Margarita said she still has a long way to go, if she was to do even an eighth of the book’s content.

That night, after an antipasto buffet (salted cod fish mont blanc style, Romagna-style pizza, fresh ricotta and goat cheese, among others), Margarita served, as highlights, handmade handkerchief mantis shrimp, sea urchin, red wine tomatoes, Riso acquerello of baby quail with parmigiano-reggiano, roast domestic duck, Bistecca Florentina-style wagyu with Borgia style truffle sauce, caper and anchovy.

SYLVETTE Y. Tankiang, ManuelN. Tordesillas and Maria Corazon Purisima

Then there was a dessert plate of Turin cake, marron glace, and almond milk gelato prepared by Amanda Tengco, daughter of Al and Carla.

No matter that the menu was two pages, the dinner wasn’t really satiating. The servings, like I said, were so small and the flavors so evident enough for you to relish but never overpowering. The meats were fresh and juicy.

REP. Fred Tinga and Rhona San Pedro

It’s no wonder that these Artusi dinners by The Firm have become much anticipated, then talked about, albeit discreetly.

This dinner had the Renaissance theme. We heard that the next Artusi dinner to be hosted by The Firm will carry “The Godfather” theme.

Now, that will really be some mafiosi-watching.

Follow the author on Twitter and Instagram @thelmasiosonsanjuan.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Casa Artusi , CVCLAW , dinners , grastronomic dinner , law firm , Margarita Forés , Pancho Villaraza , The firm

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • [VIDEO] No assurances on Janet Lim-Napoles’ bid to become state witness
  • South Sudan president fires long-time army leader
  • Grenade explodes outside MPD Station 1
  • 25 cops ordered relieved over links to drugs
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted