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Chad Mackay
President and COO

206.352.1450 x102 | EMAIL

Ken Sharp
Corporate Executive Chef

206.352.1450 x103 | EMAIL

Tamara Smith
Marketing and
Communications Director

206.352.1450 x107 | EMAIL

Sivi Mennen
General Manager,
AQUA by El Gaucho

206.956.9171 | EMAIL

Tony Capra
General Manager,
El Gaucho Bellevue

425.455.2715 | EMAIL

Corey Hightower
General Manager,
El Gaucho Portland

503.227.8794 | EMAIL

Cooper Mills
General Manager,
El Gaucho Seattle

206.728.1337 | EMAIL

James Capangpangan
General Manager,
El Gaucho Tacoma

253.272.1510 | EMAIL

Robbie Berger
El Gaucho Events

206.596.8385 | EMAIL

David Shapland
The Inn at El Gaucho

206.728.1133 | EMAIL

Meet the Team  
Chad Mackay, President and COO
Since joining his father and El Gaucho founder, Paul Mackay in 2003, the two worked together to build a special place for people to celebrate their lives. Chad develops strategic direction to promote continual growth and expansion. His primary responsibilities include day-to-day business operations, focusing on developing the company's people and structure and continuing to foster the El Gaucho legacy of service to our guests and community. As a dedicated member of the Seattle community, Chad is active in the Washington State Restaurant Association and is currently the Finance Chair for Visit Seattle, after serving as Board Chair. [More/Less]

Previously, he served on the Washington State Tourism Advisory Committee, the Washington State Tourism Commission and the Seattle Sports Commission. Active in many philanthropic organizations, Chad and his wife Jennifer co-chaired Seattle Aquarium's 2012 Splash! Fundraising event, as well as the Celebrity Waiter's luncheon, benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association. Chad holds a BA in Business Administration from Seattle University and is a private pilot who flies a Piper Cherokee. His wife, Jennifer, is a tax attorney and mother of their two sons, Eliot and Owen.

  Chad Mackay  
Ken Sharp, Corporate Executive Chef
Imbued with a passion for cooking at an early age, Chef and Partner Ken Sharp began his career at Seattle’s Olympic Hotel while still in high school. Encouraged by the chef at the Olympic, Sharp attended the Washington State Chef’s Apprentice Program at Seattle Central Community College, earning a culinary arts degree. [More/Less]

Sharp held a number of different posts including managing the food service division at Steven’s Pass, the broiler at Mirabeau Restaurant and butchering for the Red Lion Inns. Sharp spent five years as the chef at the Seafirst Bank Executive Dining Room redesigning and constantly upgrading its cuisine.

In 1984, Sharp had the opportunity to join legendary Executive Chef Earl Owens at the newly opened Metropolitan Grill. He went to work with general manager Paul Mackay to make the “Met” a legendary steakhouse. Collecting accolades for the “Met,” Sharp collaborated with the parent company, Consolidated Restaurants, on projects such as Union Square Grill and Pescatore until 1996.

In 1996, Mackay recruited Sharp to join him for his newest venture, a revamped Gaucho in Belltown. His culinary expertise in both cooking and the preparation of specialty beef made him a natural choice to head the kitchen at El Gaucho.

As Corporate Executive Chef, Sharp brings his ability and expertise to each of the El Gaucho Restaurants. In addition to recreating his legendary “best steak in town” at each El Gaucho, Sharp oversees all of the sourcing for Mackay’s seafood restaurant, AQUA by El Gaucho.

  Ken Sharp  
Tamara Smith, Marketing and Communications Director
Raised on a third generation wheat and cattle family farm in Eastern Washington, Tamara loves combining her agricultural background with her unique career in special events production, non-profit fundraising, and recruiting in the consumer goods industry. Tamara joined El Gaucho Hospitality in 2012 and is responsible for the overall brand marketing strategy and implementation, communications, and the company's very active charitable giving program. Tamara ensures the stories behind the El Gaucho Hospitality people and products are told, through writing for the company blog "The Gaucho Gridiron," through email and newsletter marketing, and social media. [More/Less]

With a degree from Washington State University in Communications, Tamara now loves living in "the big city." In her spare time, you might find her enjoying all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, through running, hiking, yoga, attending a show or museum, or checking out a new restaurant or winery with friends and family. She also has completed her Level One Certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Her greatest joy is being mom to her 4-year-old son, Gunnar.

  Tamara Smith  
Carlye Skinner – Marketing Assistant
Carlye joined El Gaucho as a hostess in February of 2013 while pursuing her degree at the University of Washington. Her BA in Psychology gives her a unique perspective on creating effective marketing programs. In addition to her work and studies, she volunteered as an intern at the UW Autism Lab and was inspired by the kids and families she met. She joined the management team at El Gaucho in December 2014 as Marketing Assistant and is instrumental in our guest relations programs and other marketing activities. Carlye values her close relationship with her family and enjoys reading, hiking, cooking and spending time with her Collie, Hobbes, and cat Loki.
  Carlye Skinner  
Sivi Mennen, General Manager, AQUA by El Gaucho
Siv was a part of the AQUA opening team in 2000, and worked as a Private Dining Director for 5 years before becoming General Manager. Although born in New Haven, CT, she grew up in West Seattle, and now lives on Queen Anne, close to her entire family. She’s helping raise her 15-year-old nephew, who attends Ballard High School. [More/Less]

Siv’s real name is April, because her parents thought Siv was too Swedish. However, she now goes by Siv or Sivi. When she’s not shopping at Nordstrom or collecting designer handbags, you might find Siv dining on crab or lobster with a glass of champagne, watching any of the Real Housewives, or listening to Jay-Z. Siv lives by the quote from Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

  Sive Mennen  
Tony Capra, General Manager, El Gaucho Bellevue
Hailing from Minneapolis, Tony has been in the hospitality industry since 1988. Starting his career as a bellman at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, he quickly discovered a love for the business. A year later, Tony moved back to Minneapolis and started a seven-year stint with the Whitney Hotel, a premier boutique hotel in the city, while completing his degree at the University of Minnesota. [More/Less]

In the fall of 1995, Tony packed up his golf clubs and trekked to Seattle, and also made the switch from hotels to restaurants. Starting as the maître d’ at West Seattle’s iconic Salty’s on Alki, he stayed for nine years and worked his way up to General Manager. After a few years at Ivar’s Salmon House, the opportunity arose to work with friend and colleague Cooper Mills at El Gaucho Seattle. With a strong belief in the concept, atmosphere, character, and integrity that Paul Mackay has created with El Gaucho, Tony has enjoyed his time in fine dining. After all these years he still has the passion to please that he did as a new bellman at the Phoenician resort many years ago.

  Tony Capra  
Corey Hightower, General Manager, El Gaucho Portland
Known for his "long flowing hair," Corey joined the El Gaucho Portland family in 2010 as a Captain and became the General Manager in May 2015. Born in Alaska, and raised in Michigan, Corey studied at Michigan State University and received his Hospitality Management degree at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland.

Corey's greatest professional accomplishment to date is becoming the leader of the El Gaucho Portland team. He and his wife Sarah have a son, Owen, and another on the way. Corey enjoys cooking, playing guitar, golf, and spending time at the Oregon Coast and wine country.

  Joseph Romero  
Cooper Mills, General Manager, El Gaucho Seattle
A Missouri native and University of Washington graduate, Cooper has worked in Seattle’s restaurant industry for over 20 years at some of the city’s most famous restaurants. Cooper was recruited in 2007 by owner Paul Mackay to manage El Gaucho Seattle because of his natural sense of hospitality, and was personally mentored by Paul to learn El Gaucho’s history and philosophy regarding high standards of guest service. [More/Less]

Cooper loves being dad to his 5-year-old daughter, Sophia Grace, and recently became engaged. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, golfing, Husky Football, playing saxophone, driving his 1974 VW, and playing catch with his Jack Russell named Sampson. In his home town he’s known and remembered for singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” in his 5th grade play, which people still talk about today! Some of his most treasured items include his grandfather’s 1944 World Series Ring.

  Cooper Mills  
James Capangpangan, General Manager, El Gaucho Tacoma
James joined the El Gaucho family in 2010, after working for Restaurants Unlimited from 2004. As the dining room and beverage manager at Stanley & Seaforts, he was able to increase their count trend by 30%, as well as accomplish the largest margin over budget in a declining economy. He helped launch Palomino Bellevue, and was recruited for the grand re-opening team of Palomino Seattle. He has been recognized for sales and service execution numerous times. [More/Less]

James grew up in the San Francisco area, and moved to Washington in 1998. He enjoys spending time with his two daughters and wife, who is working toward her CPA, and adheres to the “work hard, play hard” mentality. He loves all sports and dining, and loves to try new foods and preparations, especially if it involves dipping into sauces and condiments. Not many know (until now!) that James owns more than 20 bottles of cologne, but he is best known for his contagious laugh and welcoming attitude.

  James Capangpangan  
Robbie Berger, Director, El Gaucho Events
Robbie has an eye for the small details that fit together to make something special. It's an approach she takes with photography and it is her philosophy for creating exceptional El Gaucho events anywhere in the world. "We are here for anything our guests need and are committed to the innovative ways that we deliver the El Gaucho experience," she says. [More/Less]

The restaurant industry first called Robbie eleven years ago when she began as a server at Maggie's Bluffs in Magnolia. She then began working in the private dining group at Palisade and eventually managed their events. In 2007, Robbie joined the AQUA by El Gaucho family as Private Dining Director, and became Director of El Gaucho Events in 2012.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Robbie is most proud of her growing family. She and her husband, Tymon, have two young daughters, Ella James, 2, and Avi Marie, 6 months. She loves spending time with her family and their Schnauzer Josey Mae, taking beautiful photographs and indulging in a glass of champagne. One thing you won't find Robbie doing is sampling an El Gaucho steak – she is our company's lone Vegan and a great taster of our meat and dairy free menu items!

  David Shapland  
David Shapland, Manager, The Inn at El Gaucho
David hails from Yorba Linda, CA, but lived in Hartlepool England until he was six years old. He joined the El Gaucho team in 2010 as the Inn Manager, and prior to that worked for AGM Marriott Dulles in Virginia. [More/Less]

David and his partner James recently bought their first house and share it with their two dogs, Jacob and Ianto. In his spare time, David loves to cook, garden, and hike.

  David Shapland  
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