In the past few years, the Philippines has experienced an explosion in the restaurant scene. The country boasts of a wide eclectic selection of gastronomic delights sure to challenge and amuse the most discerning gourmet. Although many offer delicious dishes, it is inevitable that we crown the cream of the crop and distinguish them as simply, the best.

On November 24, in the new Enderun Colleges Culinary Center, authors Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb, in association with Citibank (launching their new Citi Dining Privileges) and San Miguel Lifestyle Brews (San Miguel Premium All-Malt, San Miguel Super Dry, and Cerveza Negra), bring you the Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards 2010.
The MBKRS Awards 2010 is patterned after USA’s much loved Oscars – a panel of 80 judges, all renowned in the restaurant industry and related fields, vote and collectively decide who will win in 30 award categories including:

• Best Restaurant by Cuisine (e.g., Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, French)
• Specialized Restaurant Awards (e.g., Best Steakhouse, Best Bistro, Best Wine List, Best Newcomer)
• Hotel Restaurant Awards
• Awards for Outstanding Individuals (Best Chef, Best Emerging Talent, Lifetime Achievement Award).

Of course, there is also a People’s Choice Award that is voted on by the public.

The judges include:

Restaurant owners: Paolo Nesi (L’Opera), Tina Pamintuan (L’Incontro), Joshua Tiu (Zong), Koby Parcell (Chocolate Fire proprietor), and Michelle Pantoja (Fourth Street Kitchen)

Top-chefs: Bruce Lim of Asian Food Channel’s Tablescapes, Kerwin Go (People’s Palace), Sau del Rosario (Le Bistro Vert), and Marivic Diaz-Lim (Apartment 1B)

Educators: Chef Norbert Gandler (ISCAHM Manila), Adolf Aran (Food & Hospitality Events Specialist Inc.), and Chef Cheongyan See (Enderun College)

Hotel senior management: Bobby Horrigan (Discovery Suites GM)

Food writers: Izzy Warren-Gonzalez, JJ Yulo, CJ Juntereal, and Marco Rodriguez

Restaurant and lifestyle bloggers: Lori Baltazar (, Anton Diaz (, Chinkee Clemente-Koppe (One Big Bite), and Cecile Zamora Van Straten (

Food and lifestyle magazine editors & columnists: Lorraine Timbol (Appetite Magazine), Nancy Reyes-Lumen (Cook Magazine), Janine Dario (24/7 Nocturnal Navigator), Anna Sobrepena (Lifestyle Asia), Nana Ozaeta (F&B World), Mary Anne Meilley (Dine Asia), Cheryl Arcibal (Entrepreneur Magazine), Lara Parpan (Women’s Health), Stephanie Zubiri (Olive Magazine), and Audrey Carpio (Manila Magazine), and Pepper Teehankee (Philippine Star)

Celebrity foodies: Ruffa Gutierrez (actress), Claudine Trillo, Boyet Sison, Lexi Schulze, and Ferdi Salvador (TV hosts), Krip Yuson (novelist), Louie Ysmael (nightlife mogul), JM Rodriguez (Channel V), Carlos Celdran (Manila’s Premiere Tour Guide), Luli Arroyo (former First Daughter)

Industry Experts: Mike Toledo (Weber Shandwick Worldwide President), Gigi Montinola (BPI President), Nandy Villar (McCann Erickson Philippines’ Managing Director), Menlou Bibonia (San Miguel Brewery Marketing Head), Alfie Sy (Enjoy Philippines)

*Pictures at the Press Conference last October 6

These judges nominate restaurants throughout the month of September, and have the whole month of October to deliberate who wins in each category. Note that international brands and MBKRS 2008 Awardees are not eligible to compete – 2008’s winners will hand over the award to the new winners.

This year’s nominees will be posted on The website will be up soon so that you can visit and vote for your favorite restaurant to win in the People’s Choice Awards!

Can’t wait to find out who wins! I have a few bets – who are yours?

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