Prestigious Italian cooking school opens in Manila | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

AMADO and mom Margarita Fores (right), chef Marietta Carla Brigliadori (center)

I was an eager 20-year-old young woman learning the ropes as a lifestyle segment producer, but even sooner getting jaded and bored. So my then-boss at GMA Network Inc, Joel Jimenez, wrote me a note I will never forget: “Never lose your sense of awe.”

Since then I have have tried to keep a sense of appreciation for things both grand and mundane; from the mystery of how soup is placed in each piece of xiao long bao to the treble in the voice of the taho vendor as he sings “tahoooo!” every morning.

Another lady I admire who has maintained her sense of awe—as both appreciator and the appreciated—is Margarita Fores. At 53, 15 years and nine Cibos since she opened her first Cibo in Glorietta, she is still at the top of her game as the Italian culinary ambassador this side of the world.

I guess with all the successes she has achieved, she is at that point where she desires to pass on her knowledge and love for fine cooking. And by fine I don’t mean haute: I mean traditionally perfected.

Next year, Fores and Casa Artusi, a renowned culinary institution in Forlimpopoli, Italy, will open the first ever offshore campus of Casa Artusi right here in Manila. It will be at White Space on Pasong Tamo Extension. This will be Fores’ first venture into the academe as both co-founder of the institution and hands on culinary professor.

When I was advised of the launch of Casa Artusi Philippines, I thought Margarita was just opening another Italian restaurant. Wrong. It’s not like Casa Marcos or Casa Roces or other Casa-restos. It is an educational institution specifically focused on teaching the art of Italian cooking.

Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911) made his mark in Italy through his book “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiare Bene (The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well).” It is a compilation of 790 (!) heirloom recipes of matriarchs and home cooks from every corner of Italy in the late 1800s.

The book has been translated into five languages and remains the quintessential handbook for Italian cooking to this day.

But Mayor Paolo Zoffoli of Artusi’s hometown Forlimpopoli, who flew in to attend the Philippine launch, explained that the book is more than a cookbook; it was the first document to successfully define Italian cooking as Italians know it. If you want to know what Italian cooking is all about, it’s all in this book. That is why although Mr. Artusi passed away in 1911, his spirit and wisdom live on to this day.

Not only is his legacy alive in his book. It’s also alive in Casa Artusi, a 2,800-sq-m institution in Italy that houses a library, restaurant, cookery school, wine cellar, museum and events venue, which has been described as “a living museum to home cookery.”

The school offers a curriculum that is anchored on Italian culinary traditions and techniques; and students on campus spend hours perfecting fresh pasta or other Italian heirloom recipes.

When Casa Artusi Philippines opens, it will carry on the standards and pass on the techniques of the Italian school. It will even bring in “Mariettas”—members of the Associazone Delle Mariette (named after Artusi’s own cook, Marietta) who are persons certified by Casa Artusi as authorities in Italian cuisine, especially in the production of fresh pasta.

For the launch, we were honored by the presence of chef Carla Brigliadori, a real Marietta!

It is truly a blessing for us Filipinos that Casa Artusi’s first school outside of Italy will be located so conveniently in the Philippines. This is truly a milestone in the development of the Philippine culinary industry.

With Margarita Fores still at the top of her game, we can be sure that in terms of the culinary world, we won’t be losing any sense of awe!


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