The Separation of Church and State: Walter Manzke Is Leaving the Bistro

Walter Manzke is leaving Church & State, the downtown bistro that the talented chef has turned into a destination for fellow chefs and devotees of pigs ears. Manzke, who has been at Church & State for just over a year, is opening his own restaurant, details of which will come when they're finalized.

Church & State owner Yassmin Sarmadi has hired chef Joshua Smith to take over for Manzke. Smith ("I'm stepping into amazing shoes") was most recently at Anisette Brasserie, where he was Alain Giraud's chef de cusine until he quietly left in December. Both Sarmadi and Manzke say that the decision was an amicable one, and that Manzke has agreed to stay on and help with the transition. "The menu will stay the same. We're a bistro; we're going to stay a bistro," says Sarmadi.

Manzke was previously at Bastide, and before that at L'Auberge Carmel, and Patina. Manzke's wife Marge, who had also been working at the restaurant, left some weeks ago. "Everything's been good. It's been a great experience," says Manzke. "I'm leaving because I'm opening my own place." Manzke says that the new restaurant will be in Los Angeles, but that's all he's prepared to say until things are formalized.

The Manzkes have wanted to open their own restaurant for some years now, and have long wanted that restaurant to be in Los Angeles. The couple met in the kitchen of Patina, and have recently bought a house here. "Bastide was a way to get back here," says Manzke. "It ended faster than I'd hoped. Church & State has been a great transition."

Church & State: 1855 Industrial St., L.A., (213) 405-1434.

Church & State
Church & State
A. Scattergood

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