Meet Merica Ocsan, El Gaucho Tacoma Events Director

“You have to love what you do to want to do it every day,” is a favorite quote of Merica “Mec” Ocsan. As the newly promoted Events Director at El Gaucho Tacoma, Mec loves helping create memorable and special experiences for guests.

Born in Manila, Philippines, Mec and her family moved to the U.S. when she was 12 years old. At the time, her father was a chef in Saudi Arabia. Hospitality runs in her family’s blood – her two sisters and brother have also all worked for area hospitality companies, and her mom is currently the General Manager at Ivar’s Salmon House Fish Bar in Seattle.

Mec graduated from Kentwood High School and received a degree in Business Information Technology at South Seattle College. After graduating she worked full time for Ivar’s Acres of Clams on Pier 54 as a lead host for almost 4 years before being recruited to El Gaucho Seattle by previous coworkers, Cooper Mills and Tony Capra. In 2007, she worked as a lead host and helped out in private dining at El Gaucho Seattle, eventually becoming a full time coordinator. In May 2016, she was promoted to Events Director at El Gaucho Tacoma, which she says is her greatest professional accomplishment to date.

“Being promoted to this position, with the team trusting in me, knowing that the relationships that I’ve built and these people care about me and want me to succeed, is very humbling,” she explains.

Being part of a team, or the El Gaucho family, is her favorite part of working here. “We all work as a team here, and treat each other as family,” she says.

Family and home life are important to Mec. She met her husband, Jose, at Ivar’s. They now have two daughters, Kamila and Leilani. “I never thought I’d have kids but then Jose came along and changed my mind,” she laughs. “They are my everything.”

Mec and her family love to travel. Jose is from El Salvador, and they’ve visited there many times. “Their culture is very similar to mine, the only difference is the language,” she says. “Every time I go there I don’t feel homesick – they are very family-oriented, hospitable and kind.” She and Jose also love to travel to Hawaii. But her favorite place, she admits, is the bathroom. “With two kids and a husband it’s the only room where I can get some peace and quiet!” she laughs.

Once you meet her you quickly realize a few other things: Mec loves to laugh and giggles at everything. Giggling, she says, helps everyone feel more comfortable. She also loves to eat. “I eat everything! I’m not too picky. I like to bring chocolate to work (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in particular),” she admits. She is also obsessed with purses, admitting to owning more than 50 hand bags. “I’ll spend $500 on a bag but will think twice about spending $30 on a shirt,” she says.

She describes herself as funny, kind, organized, goal-oriented and a little OCD (her words), which works well with her new position, since it’s all about taking care of the details. “I take responsibility for every guest I work with who dines at El Gaucho to have the best dining experience,” she says.

One example of that exceptional customer service was taking care of a party who were visiting from out of town. “When they came in, they were making fun of one of the guys for never have eaten a Twinkie before,” she explains. “So while they were dining I bought a Twinkie and we served it to him for dessert. They all loved it!”

Are you looking for help in planning the details for an upcoming event? Merica and the El Gaucho team would love to help bring your vision to life. Contact Merica at 253-272-4424 or

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