John M. Mannino, chef/owner of Mannino’s Italian Bistro, gets grilled

Background: I’ve been cooking since I was about 15 and working in a kitchen for 19 years, starting out as a dishwasher and work[ing] my way up to chef. I graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in 2006.

Favorite thing to cook on a day off: Sunday barbecue; I love the outdoors and always invite friends with a meat-heavy menu of chicken, steaks, brats, dogs, burgers and beans. Best tool for the home cook: A good set of pots and pans. You can go cheap on utensils like spoons and spatulas, but in order to cook food evenly and efficiently, you need quality vessels. Food trends coming up: I hope to see more chefs bring back a lot of cooking with made-from-scratch stocks, sauces, soups, hand-fabricated meats and fresh vegetables. Food trends you wish would go away: That’s easy: foam. Just let it go, please. A cookbook/food book folks should be reading: The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.

There are three Mannino’s locations across Coastal Virginia: two in Virginia Beach and one in Portsmouth. Visit for more information.

Categories: Dish, Top Story – Restaurants & Food