Ah, the Internet: invented by Al Gore, home to millions of fact-checkers. For anyone worrying that Walter Manzke has left or is leaving Church & State, the man just took 2 days off. Your pigs ears aren't going anywhere, and neither is the chef. Manzke thinks that the rumor got started on Yelp, and was probably fueled by the fact that the downtown bistro is a favorite for industry people. Like most of the high profile chefs who have been in town filming Top Chef Masters. (Oh, is that supposed to be a secret? Sorry.) So, no, Jonathan Waxman is not taking over the stoves. Neither is Marcus Samuelsson, both of whom have been at the restaurant a number of times recently. So, by the way, has Thomas Keller. Hey, he has his own bistro.
What's actually going on at Church & State is that they're now open 7 days a week, hence the actual chef needing a day off. Manzke has also started doing smaller dinners on Sundays, serving a few dishes family-style. “I was hesitant to do it because it's kind of a trend,” said Manzke this morning. “But that's how it used to be, out of necessity: it's like an Old World bistro.” Called 'Church on Sunday,' the $39 dinners will consist of a prix fixe selection of appetizers, some mains, and a dessert or two. Manzke says that this weekend he'll be making bouillabaisse, also coq au vin, maybe a root vegetable pie for vegetarians. Manzke was more amused by the rumors than anything else. “Hey, let me know when he starts,” he said of his imaginary replacement.
Church & State: 1855 Industrial St., L.A.; (213) 405-1434.