This is what the organizers of the Cebu Food and Wine Festival (CFWF) hopes to accomplish as the festival’s framework will be adopted in Manila, Davao City, Ilocos Norte and Baguio City in 2023.
CFWF chairperson Kate Anzani said on Tuesday, May 9 that the third run of the CFWF is the biggest so far as it invited 25 renowned chefs to Cebu. Other festival locations will have their own lineup of guest chefs following the CFWF’s template.
The Cebu festival, scheduled to run for over two weeks from June 3 to 17, aims to showcase the value of local produce, promote sustainable tourism and celebrate the theme “Savor the Culture.”
“The goal is to create more product developments in the culinary scene,” said Anzani, adding that by the end of the year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) will have a fresh compilation of new food and beverages to offer the global tourism market. “The festival will help us develop this.”
Anzani said CFWF’s specific aim is to help Cebu grow its tourism arrivals by using food as a marketing tool.
Invited chefs, who are based overseas, will showcase their skills, share best practices and come up with elevated dining experiences by using Cebu’s own ingredients during their stay in Cebu. Each new dish or beverage they come up with will be part of the hotel’s menu.
CFWF board member Mike Sharpe said they “want local and foreign tourists to experience Cebu through the lens of food.”
Food tourism allows individuals to immerse themselves in the cuisine and lifestyle of a culture. It also offers an “authentic and experience” kind of experience, Sharpe said.
Through the festival’s focus on regional cuisine and cultural produce, the CFWF said attendees can gain a deeper appreciation for the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines. The festival is expected to support the livelihoods of the people who work hard to produce these new cuisines.
CFWF will open with a grand reception at Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan on June 3 and close with a grand finale at JPark Island Resort and Waterpark Mactan, Cebu on June 17. Some 40 to 50 hotels will be joining the festival.
Attendees can participate in various curated events like wine tastings, beach brunches, pop-up dinners and more throughout the 15-day festival.
Last year’s CFWF recorded 6,000 attendees, and organizers anticipate a higher turnout this year as the economy has fully reopened and more consumers are dining out.
Anzani said food tourism is another strategy for the Philippines to increase its tourism arrivals, especially now that all destinations around the globe are competing to get a good slice of the tourism pie.
According to the DOT, close to 30 percent of a foreign tourist’s expenditure while in the Philippines is spent on food and beverages.
“We need to do these festivals because our neighbors are already way ahead of us in the culinary scene. We are expecting that our chefs will take our own ingredients and produce elevated cuisines,” said Anzani.
CFWF was established in 2021 as a recovery project to help tourism players cope with the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was organized by The Ministry of Food and Wine, a non-profit organization created to assist in implementing a road to recovery project for local hotels, resorts and restaurants and allied industries.