Chef Margarita Fores Biography (Philippines)

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Discover the inspiring journey of Chef Margarita Fores, a renowned culinary master from the Philippines. Immerse yourself in her passion for food, as she expertly blends traditional Filipino flavors with innovative techniques. Explore her award-winning career and culinary achievements that have captivated palates worldwide. Uncover the secrets behind Chef Margarita Fores’ culinary artistry and experience the true essence of Filipino cuisine through her remarkable story. Embark on a gastronomic adventure with Chef Margarita Fores and let her delectable creations tantalize your senses.


Margarita “Gaita” Araneta Fores is a renowned chef, restaurateur, and culinary icon in the Philippines. With a passion for food deeply rooted in her family’s rich heritage and a commitment to promoting Philippine cuisine on a global scale, Fores has made significant contributions to the culinary industry. This biography explores her journey, accomplishments, and impact, highlighting her unwavering dedication to elevating Filipino gastronomy and showcasing its diverse flavors to the world.

Early Life and Influences:

Margarita Fores was born on December 12, 1963, in Manila, Philippines. Growing up in a prominent and influential family, she was exposed to a world of privilege and refined tastes from an early age. Fores’ love for food was instilled in her by her parents, Lorenzo “Larry” Araneta and Maryann O’Shea, who themselves were passionate about cooking and entertaining.

Fores’ upbringing played a significant role in shaping her culinary journey. Her mother’s Irish roots and her father’s Filipino heritage influenced her unique perspective on food. Fores’ multicultural background would later become an integral part of her culinary identity, as she seamlessly blended international flavors with traditional Filipino cuisine.

Education and Early Career:

After completing her high school education at the Assumption Convent, Fores pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University. However, her passion for food was too strong to ignore, prompting her to shift gears and focus on a culinary career.

In pursuit of formal culinary training, Fores enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. Under the guidance of renowned chefs, she honed her skills, expanded her culinary knowledge, and developed a strong foundation in classical cooking techniques.

Following her studies at the CIA, Fores embarked on a culinary journey that took her to different parts of the world. She gained valuable experience and exposure by working in esteemed establishments such as La Reserve de Beaulieu in France and the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. These international experiences broadened her culinary horizons and further fueled her determination to bring the flavors of the Philippines to a global stage.

Restaurants and Culinary Ventures:

In 1989, Fores returned to the Philippines and made her mark on the local culinary scene. She opened her first restaurant, Cibo, a contemporary Italian restaurant that showcased her mastery of authentic Italian flavors. Cibo became an instant success, gaining a loyal following and setting the stage for Fores’ future ventures.

With her culinary skills and entrepreneurial spirit, Fores continued to expand her restaurant empire. She founded the Lusso Group of Restaurants, which includes popular establishments such as Grace Park, Café Bola, Alta, and Lusso. Each restaurant offers a unique dining experience, showcasing Fores’ culinary prowess and her commitment to using high-quality local ingredients.

Fores’ dedication to promoting Filipino cuisine led her to establish more concept-driven restaurants that celebrate the richness of Philippine flavors. One of her notable ventures is the acclaimed Filipino restaurant, Aracama, which pays homage to traditional Filipino dishes with a modern twist. Another beloved establishment is the Farmacy, a dessert shop that offers artisanal ice cream and pastries, highlighting local ingredients and flavors.

Beyond her restaurant ventures, Fores is actively involved in various culinary projects and events. She has been a key figure in the annual Madrid Fusión Manila, a culinary festival that aims to showcase the best of Philippine cuisine and foster collaborations among chefs from different cultures. Fores’ involvement in these initiatives has been instrumental in promoting the Philippines as a culinary destination and elevating Filipino cuisine to international acclaim.


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