Mark Steuer's love of food, cooking and hospitality is rooted in his experiences of helping his mother and grandmother in the kitchen as large gatherings were an important part of his family’s traditions. As the son of German immigrants, Bavarian culture and cuisine are fundamental to his culinary narrative. Growing up, Steuer’s primary language was German, spoken exclusively in his home until he was 3. His Charleston, South Carolina, upbringing introduced him to Lowcountry cooking and the distinctive assortment of ingredients of the American South. The influences of German immigrant culture and its ties to Southern barbecue has laid the framework for his culinary narrative.
Just as important to Steuer's hospitality style was his first experience working in a professional kitchen at Brett’s, a James Island restaurant owned by esteemed Charleston restaurateur Brett McKee. There Steuer worked a variety of positions, including busboy, host, prep cook and expediter, the latter of which gave him insight on the inner workings of a successful restaurant.
From there, Steuer headed to La Chardonnay where he began as a server and then bartender. But once he began working in the kitchen he was hooked, working his way up to sous chef and then chef.
In 2006, Steuer moved to Chicago with the plan of going to culinary school. Instead, he got a job working with James Beard Award-winning chef Mindy Segal at Hot Chocolate. There he further developed his expertise in sourcing ingredients as he rose through the ranks from line cook to executive chef. Steuer was at the helm when the Bucktown restaurant earned three stars from the Chicago Tribune. Subsequent positions followed at Rootstock, where he worked as a consultant for the wine-focused small-plates restaurant; executive sous chef at The Gage; and opening chef at The Bedford, a restaurant and lounge in Wicker Park.
Steuer went on to conceptualize and create Carriage House, where he was a partner and served as executive chef. It was at this Wicker Park restaurant where Steuer first began translating his Southern upbringing to the food he created. Carriage House received many awards—both locally and nationally— most notably named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America in 2013 by Esquire magazine.
In 2016 Steuer took on a collaborative role as both partner and chef de cuisine for El Che Bar, an Argentinian steakhouse in the West Loop, where he was instrumental in its opening. At West Town’s Funkenhausen, which opened in August 2018, Steuer create dishes that revisit those he grew up with while still making them uniquely his own. His food combines Southern and Bavarian flavors to create a soulful and playful mash-up of cuisines, cultures and memories.