Juan Manuel Barrientos
Chef & Owner
Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia, known in the gastronomic world as “Juanma” and on social networks as @juanmaelcielo, was born in Medellín on June 16, 1983. He is a father, cook, businessman, entrepreneur, lecturer and peace leader with more than thirteen restaurants, bars and a hotel. He is the creator and founder of the Elcielo restaurant chain (Medellín, Bogotá, Miami and Washington, D. C.), as well as La Serenissima (pizza chain), Cuon (Asian), Kai (vegan), Elcielo Classic, Elcielo Hotel (Medellín), AO (Asian Bogotá) , Shibari (bar), El Navegante (bar), Aguafresca (Mexican restaurant in partnership with Chef Édgar Núñez) and
At the age of 34, he was invited as a lecturer by the former president of the United States, Barack Obama, to the World Entrepreneurship Summit, one of the most important entrepreneurship meetings in the world. He even provides advice to companies on creativity and innovation, supporting the redesign of the DNA of important companies.
He has been recognized as the youngest chef in Latin America’s 50 Best for three consecutive times and in 2016 he was part of the exclusive list of The World’s Best Chef.
In addition, Juanma leads the Glocal Food Fest, a gastronomic and cultural event in Medellín that has three editions. Glocal is a platform to highlight those people and products that give life to our Colombian identity from planting to serving the products on the table.
He started his Foundation eleven years ago, based on non-violence, where he
trains soldiers wounded in combat, ex-guerrillas, Indigenous people and victims, sharing his work with more than seven Nobel Peace Prize winners. Elcielo Restaurant was selected as a case study by INALDE Business School of the University of La Sabana, a success story written by Ernesto Barrera Duque,
professor of Innovation, and published by IESE of Barcelona, Spain, one of the
best business schools of the world.
In 2018 he published his first book called “The Recipe of Success, ” where he presents experiences – and the resulting knowledge – that led to his business and personal success. “The Recipe of Success” has sold more than 8,000 copies and since July 2019, it is available to all those residing in the United States.
During 2020, Juanma opened two more restaurants with the opening of Elcielo Washington, D. C., in the Union Market District of the American capital and AO, a restaurant specialized in sushi in Bogotá.
Elcielo opened its doors in Washington, D.C. in September with two menus: tasting as is the tradition in Elcielo and à la carte, betting on a more dynamic service.
In turn, the construction of the Elcielo Hotel in Medellín, in El Poblado, began in
March 2019 and began operations in March 2021. It is the first experience of Juanma and the Elcielo Organization within the hotel sector with a project that seeks to bring the sensory and memorable experience from Elcielo Restaurant to a unique boutique hotel in Colombia.