Asia’s Best Female Chef has been announced and the award goes to MargaritaForés. The award that has been voted forby over 300 industry experts from across the region,will be given to Margarita duringthe fourth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony on 29th February 2016, hosted at the W Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Since 2013, theprestigious award at thehas recognised exceptional female chefs whose culinary skills, entrepreneurial spirit and artistry have earned them the respect and admiration of critics, connoisseurs and fellow chefs.

For 2016 this goes to Forés, who gained an appreciation for authentic Italian cuisine during a tour of Italy in 1986. Immersing herself in the local culture, her culinary style evolved while cooking in home kitchens and exploring the markets of Florence, Milan and Rome. A certified public accountant by training, Forés returned to the Philippines inspired by her experiences and determined to pursue her interest in the culinary arts.

In 1987, Forés founded Cibo Di M, a catering business that soon earned a reputation for memorable banquets, customised service and high-profile clients. A decade later Forés opened Cibo, her first Italian restaurant. The homegrown café concept introduced local diners to traditional Italian cuisine while championing local producers and organic ingredients. Since its debut 18 years ago, Cibo has expanded to 10 outlets throughout Manila.

Building on Cibo’s success, Forés branched out with other restaurant concepts, including Lusso, a luxe champagne and gastro bar, and Grace Park, an ingredient- driven Italian restaurant specialising in farm-to-table cuisine. At each restaurant, Forés presents quality Italian dishes, the freshest local ingredients and a convivial atmosphere.

Both an epicurist and an educator, Forés is eager to share her knowledge of Italian cooking with the next generation of chefs.In 2013, shepartnered with Casa Artusi, an historic culinary institution in Forlimpopoli, Northern Italy, to open Casa Artusi Philippines. Focused on teaching students the traditional techniques of home-style Italian cooking, Casa Artusi in Manila is the prestigious Italian school’s first and only offshore campus.

While best known for her mastery of authentic Italian cooking, Forés is also a proud advocate of Filipino cuisine. As part of her ongoing commitment to promote her culinary heritage to an international audience, Forés co-authored Kulinarya, a compendium of popular regional dishes.

William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Margarita Forés is a worthy recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award. A true leader in her country’s restaurant sector, her dedication, culinary skills and pioneering efforts have elevated the dining scene in the Philippines and set a new benchmark for other chefs and restaurateurs to follow.”