Charles Manuel 350x350 - Charles, Manuel

Biography

Exposed to a whirlwind of flavors from a young age growing up in Puerto Rico, Society Cafe’s Executive Chef Manuel González Charles inherited his passion for cooking from his family. At the age of 18, Chef Manuel left Puerto Rico to pursue his dreams, gaining acceptance to The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Upon graduation, he continued to hone his skills at a diverse array of top dining establishments, working his way up the culinary ladder from a Tournant role at Michelin Starred Restaurant Mark Forgione to Executive Sous Chef at Laotian... READ MORE

Exposed to a whirlwind of flavors from a young age growing up in Puerto Rico, Society Cafe’s Executive Chef Manuel González Charles inherited his passion for cooking from his family. At the age of 18, Chef Manuel left Puerto Rico to pursue his dreams, gaining acceptance to The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Upon graduation, he continued to hone his skills at a diverse array of top dining establishments, working his way up the culinary ladder from a Tournant role at Michelin Starred Restaurant Mark Forgione to Executive Sous Chef at Laotian favorite Khe-Yo, before accepting the role of Chef de Cuisine at Society Cafe in 2016, where he worked to develop integral relationships with local farmers; the backbone of the restaurant’s successful market to table concept. In November of 2018, Chef Manuel González Charles was named Executive Chef of Society Cafe.

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? My favorite NYC restaurant is Casa Mono. My go-to dish is any variation of their pork belly. I'm hungry just thinking about it.
What is your ultimate meal? Scallops. They're my favorite seafood. They're versatile, as they can be seared or grilled. I like them with risotto, and they pair well with yuzu.
What three things are always in your pantry? Salt, finishing olive oil, and smoked paprika.
If you weren't a chef, what would you be? Anything dog related: a dog walker or maybe even a dog whisperer? Before I went to culinary school, I was actually studying to be a veterinarian. I've loved animals for as long as I can remember.
If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? Marco Pierre White. He's one of the top chefs, everyone's read "The Devil in the Kitchen," and he's shown a lot of passion and dedication to this industry.
What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? The energy of NYCWFF is something I look forward to every year. Simply being around so many people who share my passion for cooking gets me excited. On a professional note, we served a venison dish we'd been working hard on to the judges at a past NYCWFF and they loved it - That was a proud moment for me and my team.