John Manion

Executive Chef/Owner
La Sirena Clandestina and El Che Steakhouse & Bar

It all began when John Manion moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, when he was 8 years old. With his family he spent the following 5 years soaking in the culture and, most importantly, the food of a place very far from home. While Manion always felt more at home in restaurant kitchens, where he’d worked since age 15, he went on to study English and political science at Marquette University and took a job at a public relations firm in Wash., DC, after college. After a short time, he felt compelled to pursue his love of cooking full-time, so he moved to Chicago to attend the College of Culinary Arts at Kendall College. Recalling the beachside joints of Brazil, Manion, a 20-year veteran of the local restaurant scene, opened the West Loop’s La Sirena Clandestina in 2012. In 2016, he continued his culinary journey with El Che Steakhouse & Bar, a love letter to his travels in Argentina interpreted through the Buenos Aires tradition of live-flame cooking. Manion’s passion for South American flavors animates the spirited dishes and sultry ambiance of both of his restaurants. El Che Steakhouse & Bar has earned a coveted three-star rating from the Chicago Tribune. In 2017, Manion was nominated for “Chef of the Year” at the Jean Banchet Awards and was recognized as a “Master of the Flame” by Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel in the “Critic’s Choice Dining Awards.”