Bring east coast flair to comforting California cuisine. Chef Manny Baez was born and raised in a small town where family, food, academics and athletics were key. Growing up in Williamsport, Pa where he and his family are from, Manny was definitely a small town guy with big town dreams. After graduating high school and preparing to go to college to become a Forensic Scientist and a collegiate Soccer player, Manny decided to change his course. Two weeks before class started he decided to follow his heart and attend college at Pennsylvania College of Technology for culinary arts. That decision was made because of a love of food that was instilled in him as a child growing up from his family, especial his father. A home cook himself and an occasional brunch chef on the weekend, Manny and his father would spend most nights and all holidays making “intricate” meals for the family to enjoy, sharing moments, and making memories around the dinner table with one another. That is where it all started and Chef Manny has grown on that fire to become a chef, exponentially.
Chef Manny graduated Pennsylvania College of technology in 2011. Throughout his college career he was honing his skills at a fine dining Pan Asian American restaurant in his home town, where he went from an unpaid intern in the summer to the Chef de Cuisine in a four year span. Manny had his eyes set on New York City after that. Once Staging with Gavin Kaysen at Café Boulud, he was looking to make a career in the city, until a chef named Kristi Ritchey walked in the door at the restaurant he work at in Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania native and a former graduate of the same college herself, Chef Kristi Ritchey took Manny under her wing to develop the special talent she saw in him. Manny soon became her protégé. Working his way up her kitchens and learning as much as he could along the way. After just 6 years in the industry, Chef Manny has elevated to the position of Executive Chef here at Big Water Grille, adorning dishes that everyone on the west coast and beyond adore and love with his east coast flair and style, and putting the inspiration of his family and his father on every plate.