Set to the vibrant colors of springtime and the sounds of warm chatter over dinner, Whitespace Manila was transformed into an intersection of culinary excellence and education reform last March 11th. Dubbed “Chefs for Education,” the exclusive fundraiser was staged in support of Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and its 1000 Teachers Program (1000TP).
PBEd chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. welcomed guests with a toast to 1000TP, a scholarship campaign for aspiring teachers. Industry giants, academic leaders, and food enthusiasts made an appearance to show support for the scholars, four of whom were present and featured in AVPs that played intermittently through the night.
“A toast to the 1000 Teachers Program. A toast to a better life for our children, a better life for Filipinos,” said Mr. del Rosario to a room filled with raised glasses. In attendance were Aurelio Montinola III (former president and CEO of Bank of the Philippine Islands), Marixi Rufino-Prieto (chair of Philippine Daily Inquirer), and Alfred Ayala (president of Ayala Education).
Not to be forgotten, of course, is the fact that the night had been a gastronomical gala co-hosted by some of the country’s top culinary masters. At the helm: Asia’s top female chef Margarita Forés (Cibo, Lusso, Alta, Grace Park), who recalled the crucial role that teachers play in shaping the future. In the kitchens busily coordinating dishes, she spared a moment to express that “it is an honor to take part in the celebration. Tonight should be about not just good food but also fulfilling dreams.” She was joined by four equally formidable culinary forces: Vicky Pacheco (The Chateau Group), Colin Mackay (Sala & The Blackbird), Norbert Gandler (ISCAHM), and Miko Aspiras (Le Petit Soufflé, Scout’s Honor, Garde Manger).
A flagship event for PBEd and the third of its kind, this year’s Chefs for Education furnished a full-course dinner made from only the freshest local produce and premium-grade ingredients supplied from top food magnates. Guests enjoyed a revelry of plated perfection to the accompaniment of music provided by members of the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra. These exquisite details came together in the spirit of ensuring that Filipino children benefit from an empowered teaching force. Specifically, funds were raised to aid the journey of graduating scholars as they prepare for the Licensure Exam for Teachers.
As the evening wound to a close, PBEd president Chito Salazar lauded the chefs to resounding applause, “We are very grateful to the chefs for their spectacular and delicious contributions, making this evening a huge success!”
To date, 1000TP has touched the lives of a total of 307 scholars by forging partnerships with 22 teacher education institutions in the country. Of the 307, 1000TP has seen 140 scholars graduate and 53 have already been placed in public schools. This year’s festivities are particularly meaningful as PBEd celebrates its 10th year of pushing for real and lasting reforms in Philippine education.