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Margarita Fores Margarita "Gaita" Araneta Fores is the President of food-related ventures like Cibo Inc.

, Cafe Bola, Pepato, Sostanza Health Line, and Fiori Di M. Gaita is the granddaughter of the Araneta Coliseum's creator, Amado Araneta, and was featured as one of the 12 most beautiful Filipinas in July of 2007. She is a Certified Public Accountant graduate of Assumption College, who had no formal education regarding food preparation or culinary arts. Her love for food and passion for creating the right ambience that goes with the food service have what made her successful with her ventures.

Article: Cancer survivor, Bulacan's "Dangal ng Lipi" awardee. Article from: Philippines News Agency Article date: September 15, 2009 Copyright MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 15 (PNA) -- They simply call her as "Gaita." Her remarkable feat has made her a world class signature caterer. "Gaita" is Margarita A. Fores, a world class restaurateur, food enthusiast and a cancer survivor. She is also a true blooded Bulakenya. In her own "little way" and sheer culinary skills, Fores has brought the Philippine cuisine and native culinary industry to the global scene. Her management style has elevated restaurant operations to a world class level. Fores now manages and operates the classy restaurants like Cibo, Cafe Bola and the Cibo Di M Signature Caterer. For the past 20 years, she has set

[excerpt from the article A Life of taste by Raoul J. Chee Kee; April 25, 2007] She continues to put in long hours at work but she is easing up a bit. Last year, she got the scare of her life when doctors discovered a lump in her throat. When it was diagnosed as

cancerous, she wasted no time to have it excised and now has the scar to prove it. In an earlier interview with this writer, she narrated how her sisters scolded her for having her picture taken for a lifestyle magazine with a lobster s claws aimed at her throat. "That was all in hindsight but I m getting better everyday. People tell me, however, that it takes a year for someone who went through what I went through to fully recover," Gaita said. In the meantime, she s trying to eat healthier and coming up with new items on the Cibo menu. "We ve recently begun offering pizzas which we didn't do before." In the next few weeks, six of the seven outlets will offer pizzas with different toppings. Only the branch at the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City will not have them because, as Gaita pointed out, the kitchen was too small.

Top chefs stir the pot: Is Filipino cuisine invisible ? Print | Email to friend

Published: May 21, 2010 | Author: Amanda Vergel De Dios Total Views: 717 | Rating: SAN FRANCISCO Without a doubt, the Filipino community makes a resounding presence in the Bay Area in numbers as they claim the title of the second largest Asian population with a population of more than 320,000. But with such a vibrant, bustling community in the United States, little is known to other demographics about the essence of what is Filipino, what Filipinos pride themselves on and what nostalgically thrives in home kitchens but simply remains only there Filipino cuisine. This was the theme at the Asian Culinary Forum s Filipino Flavors segment on the future of Filipino food May 16 as discussed by a panel of notable Filipino chefs. The panel consisted of Amy Besa, co-owner of Purple Yam in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Kelly Degala, acclaimed chef of Bay Area restaurants Ono Maze and Va de Vi in Walnut Creek and Pres a Vi in San Francisco; Margarita

Araneta Fores, owner of Cibo and Pepato in the Philippines; Jon Guanzon, co-owner of Bistro Luneta in San Mateo; Tim Luym, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef and owner of Attic in San Mateo; and Jay-Ar Isagani Pugao, chefowner of No Worries Catering, a company specializing in Filipino vegan/vegetarian cuisine. Of great debate was the reason for Filipino food s resistance to assimilate to mainstream culture. In a search for Filipino restaurants in the Bay Area on, 37 results surfaced. The Thai community is not as large as the Filipino community, yet a search for Thai restaurants yielded 315 results. Jay-Ar Isagani Pugao, who is the chef-owner of No Worries Catering specializing in vegan cuisine, stressed that Filipino food needs to be marketed toward non-Filipinos. Culturally as a people we are very prideful in our food, said Jay-Ar Isagani Pugao. We often feel like we can do it better, we often feel like our moms can do it better, which is probably true, but my main goal has been to extend it out of the Filipino culture. Amy Besa, owner of Purple Yam, believes attitudes need to change in order to get Filipino food out there. Anyone who says that this food needs to be tweaked or elevated has got to wake up and smell the coffee, Besa said. What s keeping us behind is that same attitude that it s not there. Every Filipino can be proud that this cuisine is worldclass, can stand on its own. The only thing that needs to be tweaked or elevated is us. Slowly but surely, however, is the belief that Filipino food is reaching the masses, which seemed to be the consensus of the panel. Margarita Araneta Fores, who was flown by the Philippine Consulate to speak at the forum, discussed the rise of Filipino cuisine. She said being able to write books on the subject can attest to Filipino food gaining momentum. Fores presented an idea that was suggested to her of how the Thai government brought their food forward. Foreign chefs were asked their opinion on how to bring the best out of Thai








Because of that very deliberate move to do that, pad Thai in Bangkok looks like pad Thai in San Francisco looks like pad Thai in Rome, Fores said. Maybe because of the challenges that our government has faced in the last decade, a movement to bring our food forward may not be a priority. Another reason Filipino food remains invisible, according to Fores, is the incredible diversity of the Filipino people. We re just so easy to get along with and we re so resilient and we re so adaptable, she said. We re really the only Latin-Asia. The only blend of the East and the West which may be a reason why we weren t so bull-headed in bringing our food forward. Filipino chefs also tend to keep the authenticity of their dishes, making it difficult for the mass production of it, since authentic Filipino products are expensive to ship, according to Besa. From a restaurant perspective, if you eat your Thai or Japanese and all these other cuisines, the more popular ones aren t necessarily the more authentic, said Tim Luym. They ve actually changed their flavors to accommodate the American taste in order to stay in business as a restaurant, sometimes you have to give the customer what they want compared to what the integrity of the dish is. Besa urged government to invest in small food producers.

You have to look at what the Italians are doing. Mozzarella, parmesan, prosciutto, everything you can think of, she said. They are quality ingredients that are all made by little farmers and producers, and their government supports it. The government has to support small producers.

Margarita Fores, president ..., 10 Jan 2010 [cached]

Margarita Fores, president of food-related ventures such as Cibo Inc., Cafe Bola, Pepato and Sostanza Health Line won the Entrepreneur category this year. As she was a certified public accountant, her lack of formal education in the food preparation or culinary arts did not stop her from succeeding in this industry. Her love for food and passion for creating the right ambience that goes with the food service are what made her successful with her ventures. She is part of Philippine Business for Education's Chefs for Education, an event that proudly gathers the country's top chefs and young aspiring student chefs in one big event. She has a 19-year-old son.

CIBO restaurant president Margarita Fores won for the Entrepreneur category. Though a certified public accountant by training, she followed her passion for food and became the head of popular restaurants like Caf Bola, Pepato and the Sonstanza Health Line. She has catered numerous high-profile events, including the wedding reception of her cousin, Sen. Manuel Mar Roxas


MANILA, MARCH 6, 2007 (STAR) By Anne Prado-Magadia People Asia Magazine - Having catered to foreign dignitaries and royals, this petite gourmand turned gourmet has, in many ways, redefined and reinvented the different tastes and textures of Italian and Filipino cuisine. Though very much a Filipina, Margarita Fores (or Gaita as she is fondly called) has ventured far and wide from New York to Tuscany in search of recipes, flavors and spices. The culinary maestro behind restaurant hits Cibo, Caf Bola, and Pepato, Gaita treats her time in the kitchen more as a creative endeavor than work or business. Forever excited by her life in different dishes, her eyes sparkle with every new find Early interests in cuisine

Coming from the noted Araneta clan, she claimed that much of her best memories came together around food. "As a child I always loved to eat. I remember going to Uni-Mart to look through the pasta counters. I was so amused by the many shapes and sizes," she reminisces with a smile. It certainly helped that both sides of her family loved to cook. In 1972 her family went on self-exile to the United States, yet Gaita always kept home close to her heart. "When we moved to New York, it was like Cubao was just transported there," she remarks. The Aranetas are a close-knit family. Seeing much of this trait in the Italians as well, she naturally gravitated towards the food and the people. "Their lives revolved around their moms and the dining table, very much like Filipinos." Italy in New York Interestingly enough, cooking up a storm and conducting culinary masterpieces for her restaurants was not the first road she took. "I started with fashion. I was working in New York for the fur licensee of Valentino, then eventually the office of Valentino itself." Without consciously marking a different path, Gaita found herself looking into recipes and kitchens. Working for a rich Italian, company introduced her to the inner life and passions of the country. "Also, at that time, there were a lot of Italians who immigrated to New York and set up businesses. They mostly opened up restaurants and cafs. Being around a lot of Italians so much, I couldn't help but imbibe their culture a little bit." Finding herself Living much of her days in Manhattan, she often traveled to upstate New York. "My grandfather had a house outside New York. We would often host and entertain our friends there. In fact, it was there that I realized what made me happiest." A bona fide culinary creative, she would always set more than the table. Apart from preparing the meals, she would also take extra pains to generate the ambience to go with it. "In autumn, I would pick the dried leaves, fix the table and put candles. I really enjoyed it." Ultimately touching base with herself, she decided to go deeper into her art. Going around Italy "I eventually approached my mom and asked if she could send me to Italy to learn the language and learn how to cook... And she did."

Having dedicated herself to the cause, she asked a friend who was studying in Florence to find her a school and send information. After making her choice, she signed up and took courses in Florence, Milan and Rome. "I learned to cook from Italian seoras straight out of their home kitchens." Never one to hit an endeavor half-baked, Gaita spent her mornings learning how to cook, and her afternoons in language classes. In between, she would go to the market and shop for ingredients. Given the chance, she would also ask her friends how they cooked particular dishes, which gave her an excellent opportunity to see how things are really prepared and made. Then in her twenties, she likened herself to a sponge. "I would travel around and drive. It was a time in my life when I had no fear. I simply tried to absorb the culture as much as I could." Getting down to business Now celebrating Cibo's 10th year, Gaita looks back and is so thankful for her good fortune. Upon her return to Manila in 1985, she ventured into the food business with a bit of apprehension. In the beginning, she would accept small catering jobs and was generally commissioned by friends and family. In fact, she is quick to add how she treasured those first few events. "I was very thankful that the people I first catered for were very forgiving. Otherwise, I don't think I would have had enough courage and confidence to continue." Knowing how to cook and loving it is one thing; embarking on cuisine as a financial endeavor is another. Despite her concerns, Gaita opened Cibo. "I was hesitant to open a restaurant because it is more permanent." But she knew exactly what she wanted. Gaita could almost smell it. It was already all clear in her head - from the look of the place, all the way down to the utensils. "With Cibo, I wanted to show Manila that Italian cuisine wasn't just spaghetti and meat balls." A bold decision, since at the time, Filipinos generally had an automatic notion of what italian food was like. "Actually it was the American concept of Italian cuisine that we got used to," she adds. All her restaurants have distinct themes. Caf Bola was crafted more towards Filipino comfort food. Cibo, with its seven branches, is geared towards a different kind of Italian cuisine, "I wanted to bring in and share the modern Italian caf look that you find in Milan, Rome and even New York." Living her dream

According to Gaita, apart from Cibo and Caf Bola, Pepato was really a dear vision of hers. "I always dreamt of doing a fine dining restaurant." Pepato's dishes have a delicious and yet innovative take on Filipino food and ingredients. A restaurant set with modern yet charming interiors, it is perfect for intimate celebrations. An interesting feature would be Gaita's mini peppermill museum. Surrounded by her most interesting finds, dining becomes, indeed, an all-together different experience. In fact, with just a few bites, any seasoned gourmand would agree that Pepato is indeed in a league of its own. World renowned chef Mario Batali fell in love with the dishes he sampled while on a visit to Manila. Perhaps it is Pepato's distinctly adventurous cuisine that adds a dynamic facet to our country's unique flavors. After all, where else can you find a strikingly yummy Cerveza Negra gelato? East-meets-West dining Always championing the Filipino taste and experience, Gaita is fond of "mixing-it-up," so to speak. "I try to combine Filipino ingredients with the best of what Italy or Spain has to offer." As a testament to her nationalistic efforts, she was asked to cater for state dinners at the Malacaang Palace. On such occasions, she always makes sure to feature Filipino food. "When I try something abroad, I simply imagine what kind of local ingredients I can use it with." Going beyond food Like most artists who live and breathe art, Gaita has found other avenues by which to express her creativity. She has currently ventured into flower arrangements and edible centerpieces, which she aptly called Fiori Di M, Food and Floralscapes. A noted Inno Sotto muse, she debuted her arrangements in his well-attended fashion show. "We used a lot of food stuff and live plants. They are very much like installation pieces." Unlike purely floral arrangements that wither in just a few days, her creations can actually go on living as one can easily replant a few of its elements, and use them as a part of one's garden. Perhaps someday she can even branch out to home decor and furnishings. Promoting Philippine cuisine Along with a handful of culinary personalities, Gaita is currently putting together a book called Kulinarya. Taking its cue from what the King of Thailand has done for Thai cuisine, the group will be standardizing Filipino dishes and featuring them in this book.

"That way, people abroad would have a template when cooking; and the identity and presentation of the dish, along with the condiments, would be standardized." Perhaps then, Filipino cuisine would be better appreciated beyond our shores.

Araneta Coliseum Arcade Araneta Coliseum Arcade Araneta Center, Cubao Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines Phone Number: (63 2) 913-2928

Metro Manila (2)

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Quezon City (1) Makati (1)

Operating Hours Open from 10am to 11pm, Sunday to Thursday, Open from 10am to 12mn, Friday and Saturday Cuisine Filipino, Italian, Mexican Specialties Adobo Flakes and White Cheese; Rice Toppings; Kamias Shake; Whipped Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly; Classic Tiramisu; Apple Crumble with Double Cream and Taro Chips with Mayo Dip; Tuyo (spicy tuyo fillets); Kesong Puti (kesong puti cheesecake) and Adobo Flakes with kesong puti on top of rice. Payment Cash / Credit Card Budget P199 & Below Profile Owned by premiere glam chef Margarita Fores (of Cibo) and Alvin Lim (another prominent restaurant figure).



Eat And Cheer, The UAAP Is Here! by Beatriz Acosta It's UAAP time again! Cheer for your team and find good places to eat around The Dome.

Cafe Bola
Owned by premiere glam chef Margarita Fores (of Cibo) and Alvin Lim (another prominent restaurant figure). Cafe Bola is a cozy restaurant which offers Italian and Mexican dishes with a pinoy twist. Its menu revolves around entrees which make use of local ingredients like tuyo (spicy tuyo fillets), kesong puti (kesong puti cheesecake) and adobo flakes with kesong puti on top of rice. Also there is the must-try kamias shake (yes, the fruit that's almost ignored by everyone). Its sweet and sour taste leaves a delightful aftertaste. Cafe Bola also offers pasta dishes, and specially grilled sandwiches. For the sweet tooth try their bola flan (leche flan), chocolate or the classic tiramisu.

November 27th, 2009

Nix and I were still on a Thanksgiving high from Cirkulo that we were still craving for some more Turkey! LOL! Good thing Kitty made plans for all of us to congregate in Pepato in Greenbelt. Pepato is the restaurant owned by celebrated chef and over all glamorous entrepreneur Margarita Fores. It has been quite a while since I ate in Pepato and I was really looking forward to dinner. The restaurant must have opened a good 4 years ago but it still maintains this really edgy feel to the interiors. I believe the restaurant was designed by Mr. George Yulo but I am not certain now, copper and texture are the main components of this design, as well as graphic shapes. I love the restaurant and I feel really at home there. The staff of Margarita are really warm and since I see them often in many events and parties its like having dinner at a friends home. The meal was beautiful as we started out with some wine, which unfortunately was not cold enough for my liking so I had them cool this further. We ordered all our favorite dishes . We all had a really good time and left the place really happy and thankful! We all expressed how blessed and thankful we are because if you really think about it there is so much to be thankful for!

When we entered the restaurant I spotted the beautifully cooked turkey in the corner. We all knew that this was a good sign!

I love the colors of Pepato, there is something rich and warm about it. Like a creme-caramel dessert.

Nix amidst the glass and copper sculpture.

We were given an amuse-bouche ( not sure on the spelling. LOL!) which means to amuse the mouth! It was great!

We all loved the starter platter, as this was filled with all the yummy treats that we love about Pepato. The cream filled barquillos with salmon caviar is a true winner. The fried eggplant strips disappeared quickly as well.

The ravioli with crab meat came next and this was pure decadence! WIsh that it was hotter though.

Our waiter recommended the angulas pasta (baby eels) which I really enjoyed. I loved its simple flavors and it had the right amount of chili for that extra punch.

The turkey plate! This actually tasted better than it looks! LOL! It's a classic take on the dish, very straightforward and honest. Imagine having your Favorite Tita or Lola cook turkey for you and this would be it. Comfortable, authentic and very much appreciated.

Margarita sent us our desserts, which was really interesting, Cerveza negra beer ice cream and a finely layered crepe cake! We all enjoyed this tremedously!

Ouf friend Tonypet Albano joined us for some turkey. Tonypet is the BFF of MANNY PAQUIAO!!!! He was the most entertaining dinner companion as he had the most juicy as in JUICY stories! Ma papa OMG kayo! It was also his birthday and he ended up paying for dinnner! DIBA! Thanksgiving talaga! LOL! Rajo laurel s blog

Cibo is a chain of Italian restaurants in Metro Manila. It bills itself as "caffe paninoteca", "bruscheteria" and "pasticceria". Cibo features Italian comfort food, such as antipasti, pasta, pizza, and panini, all offered with mid-range prices. The antipasti includes dips of chicken liver pate or spinach and gorgonzola; bruschetta with chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil. Cibo also offers various kinds of sandwiches, from tramezzini to toasted panini. There is a wide selection of salads and pastas. The owner Margarita Fores offers several main courses called "Piatti di Margarita", which are favorites. In addition there are over 17 kinds of thin-crust pizza from fiori di zucca (squash flowers) to prosciutto from Parma. In June 2007 it opened its 7 branch in Trinoma Quezon City. BRANCHES Glorietta 4, Ayala Canter, (1997)

Edsa Shangrila (1999) Alabang Town Center (2000) ABS-CBN (2002) Power Plant Rockwell (2002) Gateway Araneta Center (2005) Trinoma (June 2007)

Restaurateur Margarita Fores is looking to raise new capital through an initial public offering of a company holding her restaurants, catering, floral artistry businesses and a home wares shop. At the sidelines of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2007 awarding ceremonies, Fores, who was given the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and Globe Masigasig awards, said she is set to file within the year an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission to register Margarita Fores Inc.," which will serve as a holding company for her restaurants- Cibo, Caf Bola, and Pepato. Besides these restaurants, she will also include under her company Casa di M, a soon-to-be-opened home wares shop, Cibo di M, which caters for parties and business functions, Flori di M, a floral artistry business, Gastroteca di M, a delicatessen and home-meal replacement emporium, and Sostanza Healthline, which produces custom-made health and wellness diet meals for delivery. Im in the process of preparing for an initial public offering. I want to do this (within) two years. I think it is a good direction to take and because I see myself involved in doing a lot of things," Fores said. She added that putting up a holding company is the first step needed to sell shares to the public. Fores also revealed that she is talking to prospective partners in Singapore and Dubai to bring Cibo there. Another possibility is also to set up a Cibo restaurant in California. This will hopefully be accomplished in the next two years," she said. Presently Cibo has seven branches in Metro Manila. In 2007 Cibo was estimated to have earned P200 million in gross revenues and a net income of about P50 million. - GMANews.TV

Cibo is a restaurant that offers affordable and delicious Italian cuisine. This venture is the fruit of her passion for Italian food. She even went to Florence in 1980 and had two Italian married women teach her about Italian ways and really entangled her with the culture. She studied their language and toured the markets and restaurants. She, together with her siblings, Veanna, Joe, Oye and Bledes, borrowed a million Pesos from their mother, Maria Lourdes Araneta Fores, to open the first Cibo restaurant. It was just a small restaurant between Landmark and Glorietta, with a staff of seven. It was a success that after a year, they were able to pay the money lent by their mom and transferred to a bigger place in Glorietta. They branched out and have 8 branches in Metro Manila: Glorietta 4, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Alabang Town Center, Rockwell, Megastrip A of the SM Megamall, Greenhills, and at the Loop at ABS-CBN. However, the branch in Megastrip closed down. Margarita is now acknowledged as the purveyor of modern Italian cuisine in the Philippines. Other Ventures There is no stopping Gaita as she has already grasped the ropes of the business. Because of Cibo's success, she was inspired to ventre to other food-related-undertakings such as: Cafe Bola, a bar; Pepato, a restaurant that offers more and new dishes than Cibo; Sostanza Health Line, a delivery service for those who are under South Beach and other health and wellness diets; and the latest, Fiori Di M, a supplier of floral and edible materialcenterpieces for catered events.