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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 29th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 47 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 47

Chef Rick leaves the Far Western


Chef Rick Manson served up his last meal at the Far Western Tavern in Orcutt on Friday evening, Jan. 25.

The biggest name in Santa Maria’s restaurant scene, Chef Rick Manson, recently parted ways with the Far Western Tavern in Orcutt.

“I am very proud of my tenure at the Far Western Tavern. Ownership and I had different ideas about which direction the restaurant should go,” Manson told the Sun’s food and wine columnist, Wendy Thies Sell, in an exclusive interview. “It was a mutual agreement. … It just wasn’t working out.”

Manson had been executive chef at the Far Western since 2011. He went to work for the Minetti Family at their historic Guadalupe steakhouse after closing his up-tempo Orcutt eatery, Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods, after more than two decades in business.

“Yes, Chef Rick and the Far Western Tavern have agreed to part ways,” steakhouse co-owner Renee Righetti-Fowler confirmed in a written statement. “Our family wishes Chef Rick the best in his future endeavors.”

Manson helped design the state-of-the-art kitchen at the Far Western’s new multi-million-dollar location in Old Orcutt, which opened three months ago to eager crowds.

 “We are pleased to have a talented kitchen team that is ready to step up,” wrote Righetti-Fowler, granddaughter of Far Western founders Clarence and Rosalie Minetti. “As you know, our new location is working out great, and we are excited about the future of the Far Western Tavern.”

Manson is also optimistic that new doors will open for him.

  “I’m looking forward to the wonderful future of Chef Rick’s and for finding a use for the funky, purple napkins I have stored in my garage,” he said.

Despite this difficult time, his sense of humor remains intact: “I am currently available for catering, consulting, and dance lessons. And I can be reached at 680-7351 or at”

 Manson is weighing his options, but is definitely staying put in the Santa Maria Valley.

“I love it here. I’m not going anywhere; this is my home,” Manson said, adding that he plans to keep cooking. “There will be a Chef Rick presence, yes!”

Manson is catering the black-tie Valentine’s dinner at Eberle Winery in Paso Robles on Feb. 9, and a Chef Rick-catered Mardi Gras party is in the works at a Santa Maria wine tasting room.

He also now has time to unveil a line of Chef Rick’s products he’s wanted to market for a while. And he’s working on his long-awaited cookbook.

But ultimately, the inventive Manson has more creative cuisine ideas up his chef’s coat sleeve for Santa Barbara County foodies: “I would love to swing my heavy bat again!” he said.

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