Behind the modest shop front in the Station Parade, is one of England’s finest gastronomic gems. For 18 years it was known as Alfonso’s and won second place in a national banqueting competition!
The chef responsible is Richard Manzano and when Alfonso retired in May, Richard and Deena took over, moved from Maidenhead and changed the name to Manzano’s.
Richard is a classically trained Chef Patron; and he’s one of only 30 members of the Knights of the White Iris – where his reputation has lead to an invitation from the Royal Family to make the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday cake and the full size crown for Sophie and Edward’s wedding – out of sugar – 9 months painstaking work!
Richard lead the British team to the gold platter in the World Master Chefs contest and with all that wonderful talent what’s his favourite dish? “Rice! I love it, it’s so versatile, you have to educate your palette to know where all the flavour is – even plain boiled rice has a richness”.
As you can see Richard is proud of his Touche blanc, the chef’s hat with the distinctive pleats, and for relaxation he reads antiquarian cookery books to study the social history of restaurants, hotels and chefs.
What’s Richard’s favourite thing about Cookham? “That’s easy. No traffic lights!”