Margarita "Gaita" Araneta Forés is a Filipina chef and restaurateur. She is the President of food-related ventures like Cibo Inc., Cafe Bola, Pepato, Lusso, Alta, Grace Park, Sostanza Health Line, and Fiori Di M. She is known for fusing her Italian background with Filipino cooking and ingredients. She highlights the best of the Philippines with the best of the world. In her restaurants, she uses organic ingredients not only to promote healthy eating but to help the farmers who produce them as well.
She was the one who prepared the welcome dinner for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit for APEC leaders, together with Glenda Barretto, founder of Via Mare, in Manila in November 2015.
She is Asia's Best Female Chef for 2016, according to Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards. The Asia's Best Female Chef recognizes exceptional female chefs who earned the respect and admiration of those in the industry. More than 300 industry experts from the region voted for the Asia's Best Female Chef. Forés is the first Filipino chef to win the award. She was also named as one of “Olay's 25 Over 25: Women who have Exceeded Expectations”.
Forés 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 made her successful with her ventures.
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 in 1997. 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.
There is no stopping Gaita as she has already grasped the ropes of the business. Because of Cibo's success, she was inspired to venture 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 material centerpieces for catered events.
In 2015, she was a headline speaker at Madrid Fusion Manila. It was the first and only Asian edition of the international gastronomy congress. Top chefs from Spain and Manila shared their culinary knowhow on the said event.
Forés still manages to do catering services with an average of 9 a week. Despite her busy schedule, she manages to balance her role as a mom and as a businesswoman. She also opened the first Asian campus of the renowned Italian Culinary School, Casa Artusi Philippines.
- "Court of Appeals." (October 25, 2007).
- "10 Years of Cibo.".(Accessed on 25 October 2007).
- "A Yummy Ratatouille Experience!".(Accessed on 25 October 2007).
- "A bite with Margarita Fores.".(Accessed on 25 October 2007).
- Gomez, Jerome. "The Palate of Success.", Negosyo. ABS-CBN Publishing House. 2006.
- Tantuco, Vernise L.“Philippines' Margarita Fores is Asia's Best Female Chef 2016”.Rappler.(Accessed on 18 February 2016).
- “25 over 25: women exceeding expectations”.Rappler.(Accessed on 18 February 2016).
- Adel, Rosette.“Filipina Margarita Fores hailed Asia's Best Female Chef”.The Philippine Star.(Accessed on 18 February 2016).
- Macas, Trisha.“PHL’s Margarita Fores named Asia’s Best Female Chef”.GMA News Online.(Accessed on 18 February 2016).