“Food is our common ground, a universal experience,” said famed American chef James Beard. This universality was most evident in the opulent 59th birthday party of Rikki Dee, culinary maverick and the mover behind FooDee Global Concepts, a name which has become synonymous in the country with gastronomic excellence. The party was held at Whitespace Manila, and became a testament to the celebrant’s influence when social luminaries, from business magnates to government titans, gathered to honor him.
Most memorable that evening were the heartfelt testimonials from Rikki’s four children, joined by their better halves, who spoke not only of his business success, but of his role as a compassionate father and mentor.
Beng Dee, Rikki’s better half, also offered a surprise performance at the piano, playing and singing The Carpenters’ I Won’t Last A Day Without You. There wasn’t a dry eye among the guests, proving that Rikki was indeed a man who kept his loved ones close.
Also taking the stage were the Dees’ seven grandchildren, with a special dance number filled with fun and energy.
Launched that evening was FEED, for the Foundation of Enrico and Elizabeth Dee, which began as a food donation drive during the pandemic’s darkest days in 2020, but has since evolved into a mission to address the sustenance needs of the marginalized and underprivileged through strategic collaborations with local governments.
For entertainment, “Mister Pure Energy” Gary Valenciano took the stage, serenading the crowd with ’80s hits and his own classics.
The man behind Chin’s Express, Mesa Filipino Moderne, Bench Cafe, Sunnie’s Cafe, Todd English Food Hall, and Michelin Star-rated brands like Tim Ho Wan, Hawker Chan Philippines, and Kam’s Roast, stood at the epicenter of a night that combined extravagance with benevolence. As the curtains closed on the 59th birthday bash, the warm testimonies, memorable melodies, and the vision of FEED lingered in the air, along with the promise of many more fruitful years to come.