Margarita Manzke has put the Filipina pastry chefs’ skills in the spotlight!
After only making it to the semifinalist and finalist lists in the past several years, Filipina pastry chef Margarita “Margie” Lorenzana Manzke finally snagged herself a James Beard Award, the Oscars of the culinary world.
Margarita prevailed this year in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category where she bested over 19 semifinalists from different restaurants and bakeries across the United States.
“Many are comparing me to Susan Lucci, [Erica Kane on the long-running soap opera “All My Children”], who was nominated 19 times before she finally took home an Emmy,” she said in an interview with ANCX.
The pastry chef has been nominated a total of seven times before her momentous win.
The award holds a lot of meaning, she says, because it recognizes not only her work but also her French-inspired café and bakery Republique, and the work of the team behind it.
Margarita’s Michelin-starred resto
Margarita’s Republique is a Los Angeles café that is famed for its wide variety of pastries from croissants, pain au chocolat, and Danishes to macarons, seasonal fruit pies, and cakes.
While Republique is a French-inspired café, the Pinay chef also tries to incorporate Filipino flavors into her menu whenever she gets the chance.
“Growing up in the Philippines, siyempre nami-miss ko rin yung flavors sa atin. I get excited when I see Manila mangoes or pandan or ube kasi hindi naman yun masyadong common dito,” she says. “Pero it has to make sense din. Yung hindi forced.”
At her new fine-dining concept, Margarita, she has more freedom to do this since it offers a tasting menu. “Like right now I have pandan honey cake with coconut. We also have mangoes on the menu because it’s in season and the mangoes here are very similar to Manila mangoes.”
Almost 50, Margarita has achieved a lot in the culinary world—she has opened several restaurants in the United States and in the Philippines, won the James Beard Award, and even published a cookbook called “Baking at Republique.”
What’s her next goal?
“Now, we’re really focusing on trying to get a second Michelin star which would be really, really big for us if we do,” she said. “Kung makuha namin yun, yun na siguro ang pinaka-peak [ng career ko]. Yun ang minimithi namin ngayon.”
Margarita together with her husband Chef Walter Manzke formed a dream team that opened several restaurants across Los Angeles—the Parisian bistro Bicyclette, the Mexican joint Petty Cash Taqueria & Bar, the Filipino restaurant Sari-Sari Store, the café and bakery Republique Café and Bakery, and the Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant Manzke.
Aside from Margarita, Erwan Heussaff also bagged an award from the prestigious award-giving body.
Banner Art Dani Sison