Manresa’s Chef de Cuisine John Paul Carmona developed a strong connection with food and its source at an early age. Born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador, he grew up helping his father at the family farm and learning to cook as he watched his grandmother, prepare meals on her visits from California.
Carmona decided to follow his passion and move to the United States to go to culinary school. While attending Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, Carmona was selected to join the school’s team at the IKA International Culinary Olympics in Germany.
After culinary school, Carmona worked at such seminal restaurants as Clio in Boston with Chef Ken Oringer, Alinea in Chicago with Chef Grant Achatz, and Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain with Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz. Now as Chef de Cuisine at Manresain Los Gatos, Carmona is able to utilize the restaurant’s farm and the area’s bounty of produce to create clean, sophisticated dishes that draw on all of his influences from childhood to present.
This year, Carmona appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, assisting Manresa Chef David Kinch to clinch victory over Bobby Flay. During his tenure at Manresa, the restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars for the fourth consecutive year.