WÜSTHOF Performer

RENATO MANZI

Gourmet chef & striker
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When I hold the Hexagon Power Grip of my WÜSTHOF Performer Cook’s Knife, it reminds me of my most memorable goals as a striker. With exceptional control, I hit the sweet spot on the ball: spurred on by a perfect blend of finely honed technique and dynamic energy, it lands in the net. What an exhilarating feeling!

Gourmet chef Renato Manzi on the perfect knife
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ABOUT RENATO

Cool cook with performer instincts

With remarkable sophistication and a natural instinct for what makes things special, Renato Manzi earned himself a Michelin star in 2004. This was not just a lucky break: as a centre forward in the national team of top chefs, he knows that stars are only awarded for successful recipes with the perfect balance of precise tactics and tough discipline – garnished with a touch of genius.

The gourmet chef put his vast experience into the planning of the Performer knife series – true to his motto: 'I'm painstaking and prepare everything with full dedication. And so when the time comes, I deliver!' It is precisely this aplomb that distinguishes him – in the kitchen, in front of the goal and everywhere.

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'Knives play a crucial part in a busy gourmet kitchen. When I pick a knife up, I have to be able to tell immediately just from the handle that it will follow me unconditionally and this is why, for me, the blade and handle together are so important. It's only with this absolute control, that the offset honeycomb structure of the Hexagon Power Grip gives me immediately, that every movement really feels like that magical moment when I volley the perfect shot into the goal.  

A few years ago, when I was playing with the national team of chefs, this comparison occurred to me. Using this simple simile, I was able to explain my thoughts on the perfect knife to WÜSTHOF design engineer Dominic Trautmann. As he plays football too, he just got it immediately.'

Gourmet chef Renato Manzi has been head chef at the Genussmanufaktur Tenne at the Mawell Resort in Hohenlohe, northeast of Stuttgart, Germany, since 2018. Born in the Black Forest in southwest Germany to Italian parents, he has already been awarded a Michelin star twice: in 2004 at the Bollands in Bad Sobernheim and 2014 at the Bellevue in Traben-Trarbach (both south east of Frankfurt, Germany). He has also been awarded two toques by the gourmet guide Gault Millau, four spoons by the Schlemmeratlas and 4.5 chef’s hats by the Bertelsmann Restaurant Guide, to mention only a few examples of his culinary achievements. This was not just a lucky break: he has always been fully dedicated to his career.

This career began at the tender age of 14, as an apprentice butcher. He then sought the next challenge and was hired as apprentice cook in the well-known Traube in Tonbach (a luxury hotel in the Black Forest), continuing his training station by station in first-class establishments to perfect his culinary skills. He still maintains a friendly relationship with his old teacher, Harald Wohlfahrt, an influential and inspirational chef who maintained a three star Michelin rating for over 25 years (a record in Germany!). 

‘Every year I do a two week internship with my friend and three star chef Harald Wohlfahrt. Sometimes I have to peel whole boxes of tomatoes – that can mean that I am being asked to perform and for that I need the perfect knife!’ 

Renato Manzi was one of four cooking professionals in the Performer development team led by product designer Björn Berger and design engineer Dominic Trautmann. As a professional knife expert, he was directly involved in the planning of the black Performer knives with the innovative Hexagon Power Grip. His experience as a goal scorer for the national team of top chefs motivated him to continue providing ultra-sharp perfection by serving as ‘godfather’ to the 20 cm WÜSTHOF Performer Cook's Knife.

MY KNIFE

A natural extension of the hand

There are extreme peak times in everyday kitchen life – and that's exactly when my team and I have to be at our best. As a chef, I am expected to have leadership potential, be calm, concentrated and motivated. In these phases there is not enough time to make knife choices. I actually only use three to five knives regularly and these are more than just a tool, but rather an integral part of me.

I particularly like to use the Performer Cook’s Knife. It is extremely versatile and can do almost everything. In addition to the agile feel of the handle, I am extremely enthusiastic about the cutting properties of the DLC blade. All this makes me proud to be the godfather of the WÜSTHOF Performer Cook’s Knife.

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MY WÜSTHOF MOMENT

Main course for a friend

I was delighted to prepare the main course for three star chef Harald Wohlfahrt's 60th birthday. It was my greatest pleasure to honour him in this way and show him my eternal gratitude. I completed my training as a cook with Harald and still meet up with him regularly, cooking together at the hot stove. He is the icon of German gourmet cuisine, having been awarded three Michelin stars for 25 years in a row. He is one of my most important sources of inspiration – a true performer.

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MY WORKING METHODS

The height of enjoyment with three ingredients

My cooking style is classic, French, Mediterranean. For me it is essential to create imaginative dishes and amazing taste experiences with fresh regional ingredients. For this, I need three things: inspiring recipes, the best possible ingredients and the perfect knife to combine them effortlessly. I find new recipe ideas on my worldwide discovery tours, the perfect ingredients at the dealers I trust and, after having tried and tested many knives, my choices are the premium knives from the WÜSTHOF range.

More inspiration
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Alexander Scharmberg

Show cook and a stickler for detail when it comes to music

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Anika Schmidt

Professional show cook and enthusiastic swimmer

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René Steinbach

Creative chef and imaginative vegetable gardener