Fores. There’s a certain amount of obligation attached to the namesake. It’s the kind of name that requires a head held high. A kind that begets a factor of living up to a legacy built on passion, hardwork, and pure talent. This is Raul Fores’ predicament or so one would think. Borne of Malou Montana Fores, the woman behind Mamou, and nephew to one of Asia’s best chefs, Margarita Fores, the pressure must be very real. But he shrugs it off with a bashful grin, opting instead to be low key. Truth be told, he’s put a food in this industry to blaze his own trail. And early on, it shows.
Much of his childhood years have prepared him down this path. He recounts of the time his grandma fed him caviar at a very young age, “I legitimately almost died,” he recalled. I imagine the story must have made its rounds over family reunions, met with gregarious laughter and collective sighs of relief. At 6 years old, his father would take him out to dates at Peter Luger Steak House, a holy grail for steaks in New York, City. Back home, his youth was punctuated by the smell of bagels wafting from the kitchen, and he always made it a point to lend his mother a helping hand. Raul then is no stranger to gastronomy. It was in the air he breathed.
Fate would then work its mysterious ways, and lead him to meet a like-minded bunch in their twenties. Enter Jack and Gabbi Flores, Toby Panlilio, and Wren Go. And so the dynamic young group set out to redefine the concept of an authentic dining experience. They were keen to break out of the mold. The food had to have that sense of sustainability with flavor as the focal point. The result of their labor came to fruition soon enough, and Made Nice Supper Club was born on the bustling Legaspi eat street on November 2016.
Since its inception, there have been a series of growing pains but Raul would rather focus on the little triumphs. For one, he savors the feeling of being part of a free environment where creativity flourishes. After all, this is a space where brainstorming is not limited to a time of day. “Sometimes, one of us will get inspired by something and that leads to a dish,” he shared. He visibly glows when he tells me about the turnout of table reservations the other day, “We started out with 30, but by the end of the night, there were around 80 people”. More than anything, these little triumphs just prove that the grind is worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Raul finds himself in the midst of these, enjoying every minute. It’s no question that this is a man made for the scene.
It has also become a calling of his to go beyond the technicalities of his craft and make responsible dining matter in his own little way. “If not us, who else would do it?” he would quip. Likewise, he’s all about getting behind the origins of the practices of his profession. There’s no mistaking his dedication to gastronomy as he fervently defends the foie gras for all the shade it’s been thrown under. Treating each ingredient fair and square without bias, making sure what gets to the plate is kinder to the planet–these are his underlying philosophies.
When it comes to thriving and surviving in the business, the principles he swears by require a keen sense of service. For one, rudeness is a demeanor that will never have a place in his book, nor is getting worked up over the little things. Keeping your pride in check and having an entire supply of patience ready are of importance here. And so is genuinely investing in your people, mentoring them every step of the way. Despite the novelty of his current restaurateur status, these further prove the man’s good grasp on the industry he chose to partake in.
Through it all, I can’t help but catch a glimpse of promise. Dare I say it, Raul Fores is a tastemaker on the rise. And it is time you take notice.