But, as a child, he saw his future on the stage rather than in the kitchen, and at 13 years old he joined an amateur circus school.
By the time he turned 15, Manu had decided that the road to becoming a professional clown was a very long process, so he started as an apprentice in his father’s restaurant. After a year, he progressed to a fine dining restaurant where he finished his apprenticeship. Shortly after, Manu was bitten by the travel bug and he packed his knives and headed for London.
His first job at The Cafe Royal was hard, to say the least, as Manu didn’t speak any English. But his perseverance paid off and, after working at restaurants such as Les Associes and Café des Amis du Vin, he took up a position as Chef de Partie at the seafood restaurant Livebait and that's when he says he really began to understand and love the career he had chosen. Manu stayed with Livebait for couple of years, progressing to Sous-Chef and then Head Chef with the nomination of best seafood restaurant in the UK in 1998.
In 1999 Manu flew to Melbourne where he worked at Toofeys for about 6 months before heading north to Sydney. After 6 months with Hugo’s at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, he opened the kitchen at the new Hugo’s Lounge in Kings Cross. Manu ran the kitchen for about 18 months before he moved to Restaurant VII with its exciting fusion of French and Japanese cuisine (2 Chef’s Hats from Sydney Morning Herald).
In 2004, Tony Bilson approached Manu to open his new venture Bilsons at the Radisson Hotel. In its second year of opening, the restaurant won 2 Chef’s Hats, and in its third year, this accolade had increased to 3 Chef’s Hats.
It seems Manu’s career has turned full circle, as he returns to his roots cooking contemporary French cuisine. Moreover, his natural ability and desire to entertain has also been given another opportunity to shine – Manu was asked to join the cooking show Ready, Steady, Cook and, after 2 successful seasons, has become one of the most popular and entertaining chefs on the show.... Read more.