Chef Rick Bayless, an expert on Mexican cuisine, author, and host of the PBS series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” on Sunday, January 13, made a stop at the Farmers Market and got a sampling of its freshest produce, meat and seafood in a market tour with world-renowned Filipino chef Margarita Fores.
In 1988, Bayless was awarded as the Best New Chef by the Food and Wine Magazine, and was named by the James Beard Foundation as National Chef of the Year in 1995. He was inducted in the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012.
Bayless was simply in awe of the market’s fruit and vegetable section and even got a taste of the Filipino delicacy “balut” (fertilized duck egg embryo). He was also impressed by the freshest catch and meat available in the market.
He was joined by Jose Maria Miñana, Group President and Head of Country Business Group of Jollibee Foods Corporation.
Jollibee and Bayless are reportedly entering into a food business partnership in the US.
Farmers Market, known for the best and freshest products, has gotten the admiration even of foreign chefs including the late Anthony Bourdain, who visited it in 2009 for his hugely successful show “No Reservations.”
During his visit, Bourdain got to shop for the ingredients of his lunch, which were cooked in the market’s “Dampa.”
In the past, some Michelin star chefs from different parts of the world participating in Madrid Fusion Manila have also been awed by the goods available at the Farmers Market.
From the Ivy League to the wet market
On Tuesday, January 15, it was the turn of 30 Business students from Columbia University to experience what Farmers Market has to offer.
Fores, awarded Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2016, was in her element as she introduced to the Ivy Leaguers some of the country’s freshest fruits including the ripe and green mangoes, the guyabano (soursop), the langka (jackfruit), the durian, dragonfruits, chico (sapodilla), lanzones, and many more.
“I’ve never tasted any of the fruits that you have here or even heard of them. It was so good, so interesting,” student Jane Beilenson from the United States said.
Fores also showed to them how coconut milk and coconut juice are extracted, how yellowfin tuna is filleted, and how milkfish are deboned. She also explained the difference between male, female and “gay” crabs, and even made a shrimp and crab ceviche (kinilaw), which the guests thoroughly enjoyed.
More than sampling the products at the market, the foreign students also learned more about the Filipino way of life.
“The tour was amazing. It helped us know more about Filipino culture. It was a great experience,” student Luis Acosta from Mexico said.