Ever since Executive Chef Manuel ‘Manny’ Diaz landed his first Los Angeles restaurant job back in 1980, he has spared no emotion in expressing his passion for preparing delicious meals. In fact, Diaz – whose culinary expertise and notoriety has landed him on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times and the Downtown News – is so passionate about cooking that even after a day that begins at 4:30 a.m., ending at 4:30 p.m., he will come home and enthusiastically prepare a scrumptious meal for his wife and children. Now, that’s a passion!
The media are not the only people impressed with Chef Diaz’ burgeoning culinary career. With more than 38 years of experience and expertise, more than half as an Executive Chef, Diaz was also honored with a Hero Award by the California State Assembly in 2000 and has served as a role model to countless school children who have written to him upon learning about his unique story in the media: one October 2008 L.A. Times feature article recaptured Diaz’ triumphant journey, explaining how Diaz emigrated to the United States and began working as an immigrant dishwasher before eventually rising through the ranks to become an Executive Chef. Since his arrival, Diaz has spoiled patrons at some of the area’s renowned restaurants, including Downtown’s Pacific Grille & Express, Nicola, Nucleus Nuance, Rudolpho’s, and the renowned San Antonio Winery.
Diaz always accredits much of his career success to supervisors and restaurant owners who recognized his talent early in his career; he was selected by one employer for training as a pastry chef while another employer spared no expense in sending him to the Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore for specialized training in Asian-Fusion cuisine. Since then, Diaz has formulated a handful of signature dishes, including his famous Carne Asada, Grilled Shrimp BLT, Asian-style broiled miso marinated Alaskan cod, and even Turkey Burgers for the more health-conscious.
Diaz knows that giving back to the community is important, so he supports a variety of community causes, including the March of Dimes, Aid for Aids, and the Midnight Mission, among others. Despite all the recognition for his accomplishments, however, Diaz is most proud of his family, including his wife Veronica Tovalin-Diaz and his two children, Denisse and Christian. He views his family as his biggest success.
“Yes, my parents, brothers and sisters back in Durango, Mexico are very proud of me,” Diaz says. “And I am very lucky to have a family and friends who believe in me. But I would be nobody and I would be nowhere if it weren’t for my wife and children.”
Diaz, who has also appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Rafu Shimpo, NBC TV, JATV, with multiple guest appearances on Univision, is equally comfortable cooking in a restaurant setting as he is cooking for catered events. He can be reached at 626-327-8541.
In December 2009, after 6 years of indulging hundreds with exquisite meals, Pacific Grille closed its doors. Though initially saddened by the event, Diaz, ever the optimist, seized the opportunity to make his dream of owning his own restaurant into a reality.
In 2010, with the unconditional support of his family, Chef Diaz founded Veronique Gourmet’s Corporation and immediately began to venture out into the world of self-employed catering.
Finally, in May of 2012, after years of climbing the slippery culinary ladder, Chef Manny reached the title of Restaurant Owner when the doors to Bistro Provincia, in Covina, California, opened. Under the creative direction of Chef Diaz, Bistro Provincia enhanced the culture of Covina, California as it hosted several incredibly successful 6-course dinners with wine pairing.
Currently, Chef Diaz is looking to relocate to the beautiful Orange County. His artistic ability in the kitchen and the superb quality of his food makes him the perfect candidate to be a success story in Orange County.