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Chefs Margarita Forés, Hiroyuki Tamura collaborate for Iloilo Batchoy, Japanese ramen fusion

MANILA, Philippines — “Everything but cook but I also taste.”

Such was how Amado Forés, son of celebrity chef Margarita “Gaita” Forés, described his work as founder of AF Hospitality, his own restaurant group that manages Ramen Ron, claimed to be “Manila’s first ramen house” originally by Chef Hiroyuki Tamura.

When asked if he cooks even just at home, Amado quipped: “Not yet. Just instant noodles!”

It might come as a surprise that the son of Chef Gaita does not cook, but he stressed: “I think it’s not a strength of mine, because I’m more into data. I don’t get too personal when someone gives me comments to improve it, etc.”

“Whereas, my mom, for example, she puts her heart and soul into it. If you give her a comment, she would still improve it, but she gets more affected than me, unlike me, I’m more into data, to get as many people to enjoy our food,” he espoused.

If not in the kitchen, he and his mom bond over eating food, particularly his favorite dish, ramen. 

When Ramen Ron was still in Pasay Road in Makati City, Amado and Gaita would frequent this joint. 

For Amado, Ramen Ron is the best ramen house in Manila because not only is Chef Tamura the so-called “pioneer of ramen” in the country.

“He’s so strict and rigid with his ramen that he takes it so seriously,” Amado said of the Japanese chef.

But in 2019, Amado learned that Chef Tamura had plans to pack up and return to Japan. 

“I love his food. I didn’t want him to go back to Japan,” shared Amado, prompting him to found AF Hospitality and start a partnership with Chef Tamura to save Ramen Ron. Besides Ramen Ron, award-winning a mano and the recently launched Steak & Frice are also under the AF Hospitality group of restaurants.

After convincing Tamura-san to reopen Ramen Ron in Rockwell also in Makati, the rebranded restaurant turned out to be successful, prompting the opening of another branch in Central Square mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

“Kahit na it’s so hot, puno pa rin,” Amado beamed at how jam-packed the Central Square branch is, with customers sipping piping-hot ramen despite the intense summer heat outside. 

Apart from giving the brand “a modern flair” via a new logo and tagline, “Your