Filipina culinary chef and restaurateur Margarita Forés was knighted by the Italian government when she was conferred the Order of the Star of Italy for her notable efforts in promoting Italian cuisine to the Philippines.
The distinction was granted to her by Italian President Sergio Mattarella and conferred by Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Giorgio Guglielmino in a simple ceremony of “beer, pizza, pasta and piadine.”
As a recipient of the honor, Forés is granted the title of Cavaliere or an honorary knight of the Order.
The Italian ambassador honored her contributions with a speech:
“A chef of international fame, Ms. Margarita Forés has developed throughout the years, a personal style that combines the tradition of Italy—a country where she took her first steps in the culinary field—with Filipino elements and local organic products, becoming a reference point for the world of both Filipino and Italian cuisines.”
“Her passion and her love for Italian cuisine have made her a real engine for spreading a variety of high quality Italian products in the Philippines, and generally, in Asia.”
Forés shared in her Instagram account a picture of her with Guglielmino and her mother as she expressed her deep gratitude and amazement in an emotional speech.
“I kept going back to Italy. Maybe I was Italian in my past life. Both Italy and the Philippines are the same. We love food, we love our mothers, we love sharing things around the table. Italy allowed me to fall in love with my country even more.”
Forés also mentioned the key people who inspired her as a chef and restaurateur. She thanked the Italian ambassador, her mother, her team, her son Amado, her aunt Judy Roxas and Casa Artusi.
She additionally expressed her gratitude to Alexander Lichaytoo, the owner of Bacchus International, for “bringing all the wonderful Italian products from Italy.”
The chef-restaurateur also shared a snapshot of her medal through her Instagram Stories.
Two years ago, Forés was named Asia’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
The honor made her feel like she was “Miss Universe,” according to her interview before.
Forés runs various Italian restaurants in the country, namely Cibo, Lusso, Grace Park and Alta.
She also introduced Casa Artusi Philippines which is considered the first offshore campus of the prestigious Italian school with the same name.
Casa Artusi specializes in Italian gastronomic cuisine.
The Order of the Star of Italy
The Order of Star of Italy was established in 2011 with the goal to recognize expatriates and foreign nationals for their tremendous efforts in preserving and promoting Italian prestige and culture abroad.
These include activities such as promoting Italian language, participating in charitable activities in behalf of Italy, contributing to their science and technological research, pastoral missions, commercial enterprises and promoting their food, wine and service.
The order is granted by the Italian president following the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consultation with the Council of the Order.
Individuals can be honored with the titles of the Knight Grand Cross, the Grand Officer, the Commander, the Officer and the Knight.