République’s Chef Walter Manzke shares his secret sauce—and kanpachi crudo recipe.
“I never thought I would be a chef. I grew up in a time when it wasn’t really acceptable.”
I never thought I would be a chef. I grew up in a time when it wasn’t really acceptable,” says Walter Manzke of République. As a boy in San Diego, Manzke had a penchant for motorcycles and sports, and a culinary future was the last thing on his mind. It was during his high school years that the idea began to percolate. “My first job was in a restaurant,” Manzke recalls, “I was a server, I was a dishwasher. I worked in a couple of restaurants and I always did well in them. I connected with them. It felt good. Everything else that I tried, I just didn’t get the same satisfaction out of.”
Fast forward to 1996, when Manzke relocated to Los Angeles to give the kitchen life a go. “I thought it was going to be temporary,” Manzke recalls of the move. He went to work for Joachim Splichal at Michelin-star-rated French restaurant Patina “and I ended up staying a total of 9 years.” During that time, Splichal sent him to France and Monaco, where he worked with Alain Ducasse. His time at Patina proved fortuitous for more than just professional development—it’s where Manzke met his now-wife and business partner Margarita Manzke (she was a line cook at the fish station). After switching to sweets, Margarita’s become the mastermind behind République’s famed baked goods; the couple also has two young children together.