My name is Manuel Lopez; I am originally from Spain, where I spent my younger years. As a young man I lived in Barcelona and in the resort towns of La Costa Brava, where I held a variety of seasonal cooking jobs in small hotels and mom and pop restaurants; there I learned how to cook the fresh and wonderful foods of the Mediterranean coastal regions of Spain. One of the most delicious and appreciated dishes I learned to prepare was Paella.
Tourists from all over Europe came every summer to the sunny and beautiful beaches of La Costa Brava, and they ate lots of Paella, the most popular dish of the Spanish Coastal Cuisine. I cooked tons of Paellas every season and since every chef that I worked with had his own secret recipe for the most delicious Paella and other healthy and delicious regional dishes, I leaned many secret recipes from all the establishments I worked at, becoming an expert Mediterranean Cuisine Chef and a Paella Master.
Summers were very busy at the resorts, it was very hard work keeping all those tourists fed. But working hard didn’t bother me; to the contrary it made me realize how much pleasure and enjoyment food brings to people and how happy and accomplished cooking made me feel. So I decided to make cooking healthy and tasty food my career.
With my love of food and passion for people, I turned those summer jobs into a profession. So while I worked at the resort towns in the summers; in the winters I attended The San Martin School of Hospitality and Tourism in Barcelona, from which I graduated as a Culinary Arts Specialist.
One summer while working in a small bed and breakfast hotel, I met a tourist and his family. His name was Emilio Nuñez, Executive Chef at La Scala Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. Chef Emilio, his family, and I spent some evenings eating good food, drinking regional wines and talking about the similarities between Spanish and Italian food, He shared with me the love that he felt for The USA. And he mesmerized me with the wonders of beautiful America. He told me about California and its hip people, about Hollywood and the movie stars that ate at La Scala Restaurant . We had really good times together and enjoyed each others company very much. By the end of their vacation the Nuñez family and I had become really good friends.
A couple years later Chef Emilio and his family vacationed again at the resort town where I was working. In my free time I showed the Nuñez family around and took them to the mom and pop restaurant that I used to work at when I was younger. As we toured the beautiful little towns of La Costa Brava sharing our love for food and enjoying delicious meals at the little eateries, our old friendship got stronger. At the end of their vacation and as they were about to go back home, Chef Emilio offered me an internship at La Scala Restaurant, which I gladly accepted. And after straightening up all the legal requirements, I found myself In Beverly Hills, CA.
The internship turned into a full time job, Chef Emilio and I worked together for about ten years; during the time we worked together I acquired a vast amount of culinary knowledge from his teachings. When La Scala Restaurant moved from its original location to Canon Drive, Chef Emilio left La Scala to open his own restaurant in Encino and I started my own career as a Personal Chef and Caterer.
Some time after that at a paella party that I organized for one of my clients, I met Mrs. Garrigues, wife of, at the time, Consul General of Spain. She was so impressed with my performance, that she offered me the position of chef and event coordinator at the Consul general’s private residence to help her plan and organize private and official Consulate events. I accepted the position and worked with her until the end of Mr. Garrigues’ consular term. When the new Consul General Mr. Eduardo Ibañez’s term started, he asked me to stay in my position, which I gladly accepted and held until the end of his consular term.
While working at the Consul General’s residence I met many people that were interested in my services, and since working for the Consul General was not a full time affair, I was able to provide my catering services to some of the Consul’s household guests and friends, helping them with their entertaining needs. Some of them are still my clients.
With all the connections I created through the consulate, I successfully established myself as a personal chef and caterer, working for my own clientele and collaborating with some boutique catering companies in the area. I also organized and supervised events and ran the tapas bar at La Casa de España, a Spanish club in Pasadena, CA.
In 2005 Paradigm Talent Agency, a powerhouse in the entertainment world, offered me a very generous package for the position of Sous Chef/Food and Beverage Coordinator a their headquarters in Beverly Hills. I felt that having a stable job in the corporate side of show business would be exciting and a good change of pace for me, so I accepted the offer.
I worked at Paradigm for eight years, cooking and coordinating many of the agency’s events, while managing the day to day food and beverage needs for about 150 people.
Some of my responsibilities included, cooking lunches for executives and clients meetings, providing healthy meals for agents and assistant’s working lunches and supplying healthy snacks and beverages for four break rooms. I also catered for some of Paradigm executives private celebrations at their residences.
Working for Paradigm was very fulfilling and exciting and also very challenging, It required too much of my time, taking a toll in my family life. I had no time to spend with my wife, and my daughter was becoming a wonderful young woman and I wasn’t there to witness it. So I decided to part ways with Paradigm and restart my career as a Personal Chef and Caterer, so I could spend more time with my family.
I renewed my ServSafe Manager certification, I got my County and health department licenses and got the required liability insurance. I also joined the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA).
So here I am hoping that you like what I have to offer and allow me to cater fun and beautiful parties that will bring lots of joy to you and your loved ones, or as a Personal Chef, preparing healthy and wonderfully delicious meals for you and your family.
Thank you very much for your interest.
Looking forward hearing from you.
As a Personal Chef I have worked with many celebrities and renowned personalities in the entertainment business, as well as families and single professionals who enjoy healthy delicious food freshly prepared to their specific requirements.
As caterer, besides working privately for a selected clientele, I have also worked with some of the best boutique catering companies in Los Angeles, including:
Marjolaine Catering Extraordinaire, where I cooked and supervised many kinds of events, from large elaborate weddings, and corporate events to small and intimate dinner parties.
Julienne, a gourmet restaurant and catering company in San Marino, CA, where I managed and supervised a variety of elegant and sophisticated dinner, cocktail parties and social events for Julienne’s clientele.