|Oh sure, he’s affable and easy to work with. Never met a stranger. Keeps up the spirit of “mi casa, tu casa” with massive studio mojito parties and home holiday gatherings. He seems so, well, open. But make no mistake, my friend — Manny Rodriguez is a man of many secrets. |
The je ne sais quois he brings to interior shots? The tasty little something extra you feel with his food images? You can stand there all day watching him work and still not know exactly how he does it. Nor (and this may be even more tormenting to the studio regulars)— nor will Manny reveal the secret of his famous Cuban coffee (“the black nectar of the Cuban gods,” as his father called it). It’s something people stay up nights wondering about. Especially if they drank the coffee anytime after noon.
Manny came by his secretive streak the honest way: He inherited it. His mom, Amelia, whose cooking was legendary in Miami’s Cuban community, would gladly tell you what was in her recipes; she would just leave out the one tiny detail that seemed to make all the difference. But that was okay. It kept friends and family coming back to her table, much like Manny’s little secrets keep clients (American Express, Neiman Marcus, Target, Macy’s, American Way magazine, Roche Bobois, Williams-Sonoma, Sam's Club, and many others) coming back to his studio.
Come by anytime. Manny will welcome you with open arms and toast you with a nice cup of Cuban rocket fuel. But he won’t spill any secrets. Sorry.