The Block Island Times

Manny Largo, the man with a plan

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Sep 30, 2012

While locking things up at the ferry dock tonight, I met a personable young man named Manny Largo. He was waiting for the bus back to Providence. Manny is a student at Johnson and Wales, and worked at the Atlantic Inn this past summer. This is a guy who in my humble opinion, is moving toward a successful career in the food and beverage industry. Why you may ask, because he has a passion for food, and is adventurous.

Manny moved to New York City at age 19, to work for celebrity chef Bobby Flay. He worked at a place called the Mesa Grill near Union Square. This was heady stuff for a young guy right out of highschool In Pennsylvania. After a stint with the Mesa Grill, he enrolled in the culinary program at Johnson and Wales, which subsequently led him to Block Island. The learning curve has been steep for Manny, and will continue to be. It was clear to me that Manny is undaunted. What I liked about talking with Manny was his forthrightness and humility- a great combination of personality traits. Furthermore, Manny had good soft skills: a comfortable speaking tone, eye-contact and a winning smile.

Manny was introduced to cooking by his mom as a middle-school kid. "My mom not only cooked great Spanish dishes, but Italian and Greek as well." The manner in which Manny spoke that sentence, spoke volumes to me about this guy; it had a passionate tone. In all my years of teaching kids, I got pretty good at judging who had a true passion for literature/writing, music, acting and art. Manny has passion and I told him so. I also told him that if a person is lucky enough to have passion for something, then that person has a responsibility to nurture the creativity and work hard. The person must grow and expand; no flinching. I'll bet my nickles that Manny Largo, the man with a plan, will never flinch. I told him if he becomes a hot shot in the food biz, to make me an off the hook burger someday. Manny smiled and said he would as he boarded the bus home.



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