In the third edition of Madrid Fusion Manila, chef Jordy Navarra’s presentation stood out for being arguably the most memorable and impressive, delivering a story that perfectly showed sustainability, the year’s theme, in its finest form.
He even flew in Jhun Fabre, a fisherman from Batanes, to show guests how Batanes folk prepare dorado, a fish the communities in the northernmost and smallest province in the country harvest for two to three months, the catch lasting them the whole year through.
Not only was his topic well conceived, but also his delivery was sincere—much like how he serves his food at Toyo Eatery.
He fared as well on the Madrid Fusion stage in Spain last Tuesday, and just like before, he drew a warm applause and inspired the crowd.
It was initially hard for Navarra to zero in on a topic, especially since he was free to choose. But after having lunch in Pampanga and enjoying buro again after a long while, he knew he had found something he could tell the world about.
“I realized how interesting it is. I saw it in a different way,” he told Lifestyle. “There are many aspects in our food culture na hindi mo napapansin unless pag-isipan mo, kasi every day na natin sila kinakain.”
Last Tuesday’s 30-minute talk was about the wild and untamed flavors of the Philippines, particularly buro and bagoong, another of our all-time fermented specialties.
“The world is slowly rediscovering and once more appreciating its fermentation processes and fermented food. So, I wanted to share with the audience our own practices. Our climate makes our method different from the others. Their fermentation is more like sous vide, while ours is high-heat cooking,” he explained.
Navarra, with sous chef JP Cruz, took the crowd through the fermentation process, explaining how he has adopted traditional practices and adjusted them to the preparations in Toyo Eatery.
“Both condiments start with salted shrimp,” Navarra said. “Curiously, they end up in the pan.”
Unlike in other countries where fermented products can be eaten right after the process, we typically saute our buro and bagoong before consuming them.
To cap his presentation, Navarra cooked appetizers—salad folded in with bagoong, and pork paired with buro.
The chef hoped that people would take more interest in our food culture after watching his presentation.
“Our food, on the surface, looks simple, but if people dig deeper, they’ll see that there are many interesting layers and facets to it,” he said.
Madrid Fusion Manila will be held in Manila on April 19- 21. —CONTRIBUTED