Sweet Victory: Filipino Culinary Artist Wins James Beard Award - Food & Travel

Pastry chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke was recently recognized at the Oscars of the culinary world.

The James Beard Foundation Awards aim to recognize chefs, restaurateurs, and culinary writers in the United States.

Los Angeles-based restaurant République’s Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke was named as this year’s Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker.

READ ALSO: Winning Cuisine: Filipina Chef Johanne Siy Is Crowned Asia’s Best Female Chef 2023

Chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke at République
Image via Instagram @republiquecafebakery

In the Philippines, Lorenzana-Manzke is best known as one of the co-owners of Wildflour in Manila, established in 2012. According to Wildflour’s website, she studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York where she earned her degree in Culinary Arts in 1998.

Later on, she moved to Los Angeles, California and worked at some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, including Spago and Patina. This is where she met her husband, business partner, and fellow chef Walter Manzke.

Chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke's honey cake, elderflower, and Manila mango dish
Honey cake, elderflower, and Manila mango | Image via Instagram @mlmanzke

Along with Manzke, she now owns other restaurants including the Michelin-awarded Manzke Restaurant, Sari Sari Store, and Petty Cash Taqueria, all located in LA. Lorenzana-Manzke has been a finalist in the James Beard Awards for four consecutive years from 2017-2020 before finally winning this year.

In 2020, the pastry chef launched her own cookbook, Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes, recording her one-of-a-kind creations.

Chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke at République
Image via Instagram @republiquecafebakery

More Filipinos honored at the James Beard Awards

Filipino-French content creator Erwan Heussaff received an award in the Social Media Account category for his dedication to spotlighting local cuisine. 

Filipino chef Tim Flores and his wife, Korean pastry chef Genie Kwon took home the award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes region. The couple owns the Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant Kasama, based in Chicago.

Coconut Raspberry Tarts with Candied Manderquats
Coconut Raspberry Tarts with Candied Manderquats | Image via Instagram @republiquecafebakery

The awards also nominated other chefs with Filipino roots including Vince Bugtong, also in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category. Meanwhile, Aaron Verzosa was nominated for Best Chef in the Northwest and the Pacific category. 

The James Beard Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the US, holds the awards annually. Their mission is to “celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.” 

Banner image via Wildflour’s official website.

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