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Born and raised in the Philippines, Margarita quite literally grew up in a kitchen, exploring in the White Rock Resort, a hotel and restaurant owned and operated by her parents. She left the Philippines for London, where studied in the pastry program at Le Cordon Bleu. Margarita then enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America in New York, where she received her degree in Culinary Arts.
Upon graduation, she moved to Los Angeles and worked in restaurants including the original Spago on Sunset Boulevard and Patina on Melrose. At Patina, she met her future husband and business partner, Walter Manzke. In 2001, she left Patina to work at Josiah Citrin’s two-star Michelin restaurant, Melisse, where she quickly rose to Sous Chef.
Walter and Margarita married in 2004 and moved north to Carmel, where they opened a trio of highly successful restaurants: Bouchee, Cantinetta Luca, and l’Auberge Carmel. Margarita oversaw all three as Executive Pastry Chef. She further refined her skills at the San Francisco Baking Institute, where she completed their internationally-renowned bread course. In 2007, the couple returned to Los Angeles to reopen Bastide Restaurant, where she served as Pastry Chef.
In the summer of 2012, the pair joined Margarita’s sister Ana to open Wildflour Bakery and Cafe in Manila. Since opening, the trio has received rave reviews for the casual yet professional service, top-quality ingredients and whimsical pastry offerings. In the next three years, they opened four additional locations, including The Farmacy, a soda fountain and ice cream parlor.
Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, Walter and Marge launched Republique in December 2013. Margarita oversees our Pastry Department. She has received a James Beard Nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef, glowing reviews from critics, and numerous appearances on ‘Best-of’ lists.