We are gaucho
Meet the Team
El Gaucho • AQUA By El Gaucho • The Inn At El Gaucho
El Gaucho Hospitality is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment. Individuals who are self-starters, committed to high standards, and delivering unparalleled service thrive on our team. Our company was built on seven key pillars that drive our company forward, which include: Individual Responsibility, Professionalism, Stewardship, Action-Oriented, Free Enterprise, Building a Strong Community, and Heritage of Hospitality. Our purpose is simple: We revel in celebrating lives and creating a night to remember for our guests. If you have a can-do attitude and heart for hospitality, we’d love to hear from you!
General Manager, AQUA by El Gaucho
206.956.9171 | Email
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle’s poignant observation is Siv’s favorite quote. Known for her drive, as well as being a fair and honest person, anyone who knows Siv would not be surprised that this is how she approaches work and life every day.
Siv was a part of the AQUA opening team in 2000, and worked as a Private Dining Director for five 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. In 2014, she was named a Tourism Ambassador by Visit Seattle, the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. Siv is also generous with her time and is involved in many local non-profits, most notably Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and USO.
General Manager, El Gaucho Bellevue
425.455.2715 | Email
Growing up in a family with a deeply rooted culture of gathering around the table to celebrate, Tivoli knew that she was interested in a hospitality career. In 2009, she graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor Degree in Hospitality Business Management and began her search for a local company who shared her ideals and values. Tivoli started as a host at El Gaucho Bellevue, she quickly advanced to a server position and was soon running the entire lunch program.
Becoming General Manager has Tivoli feeling excited to continue to grow and learn with the company. She credits the support, growth, and structure of a corporate company, balanced with still being a local and family endeavor which allows the business to thrive and for each individual team member to influence that. Tivoli and her husband Alex enjoy spending time with their large extended families. In addition to food adventures including foraging, digging for razor clams and dining out, Tivoli’s other interests include gardening and traveling, including recent trips to Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand and the Washington Coast.
General Manager, El Gaucho Portland
503.227.8794 | Email
After graduating from Evergreen State College, Gillian’s love of travel drove her to buy an around-the-world ticket to explore the globe before settling into a career in journalism. That was promptly stalled after her first stop in Hawaii, where the week turned in a 3-month stay and included her first job in a restaurant. She fell in love with the fast-paced, multi-faceted work that the restaurant business had to offer, and she’s been working in the industry in various capacities ever since.
Gillian joined the El Gaucho Portland team in 2012, and served as the Wine Captain until her promotion to General Manager. Growing up in Portland, Gillian loves to explore the local wine region and keep up on the local restaurant scene with her husband, Joe. Among other hobbies, she loves to cook, organize, make tiny little appetizers, host dinner parties, and hang with her Chocolate lab-Chesapeake bay retriever, Baila.
General Manager, El Gaucho Seattle
206.728.1337 | Email
Stephanie Mulein has been part of the El Gaucho family for more than 10 years. She was born and raised in Tacoma and pursued a variety of her dreams including gymnastics, molecular biology and the violin, but the hospitality industry turned out to be her calling. Starting as a hostess at the Ram Corporation in Tacoma, Stephanie worked her way up the ranks to corporate trainer in ten years. She made the jump to El Gaucho in Tacoma, and in her ten years with the company, she has worked at three of the five El Gaucho locations as a bartender, server, bookkeeper, trainer, captain, events director and general manager of El Gaucho Tacoma. Stephanie took some time off to care for her family and has returned as general manager at our flagship restaurant, El Gaucho Seattle.
In addition to being the site of her accomplished career, El Gaucho is also where Stephanie met her husband, Dasha Mulein, the former Captain of Operations at El Gaucho Seattle. That was six years ago, and they are now happily married with sons Madox and Taven.
General Manager, El GauchoTacoma
253.272.1510 | Email
Noel Galvez Romero was born in Leominister, Massachusetts, but grew up all over the state of Washington. He attended Federal Way High School and Green River Community College, and started his restaurant career at 19 years old at Red Robin and then joined Salty’s in Redondo and worked his way through every front-of-the-house position he could over a ten-year span.
In 2014, Noel joined the El Gaucho Tacoma team as a cocktail server before he was quickly promoted to captain at El Gaucho Seattle, managing both the bar and wine programs over a two-year period. When the opportunity for General Manager in Tacoma appeared, he jumped at the opportunity.
General Manager, Inn at El Gaucho
206.728.1133 | Email
Known as Bayley to friends, David was born in Phoenixville, PA and moved to Seattle when he was 8 years old. After graduating from Bellevue HS in ’05, he worked at Hotel 1000 in 2006, and decided that hospitality was his calling. He planned to study at Tulane, but Hurricane Katrina changed that, so he landed at UNLV because of their top-notch hospitality program. After stints at the Mondrian, Hard Rock Café Casino & Resort, and the Cosmopolitan Hotel, he left Las Vegas and traveled around the U.S., Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Brazil. He loved the skiing lifestyle, and landed in Tahoe to work for the Marriot Timber Lodge at the base of Heavenly. There he met his girlfriend Michelle, and the two recently moved back to Seattle to set down roots.
He is most excited about working at the Inn because “the company is a part of Seattle’s history. Gaucho puts a smile on people’s face.” He says, “This is a fully rounded hospitality company that I am excited to be a part of.”
Executive Chef, AQUA by El Gaucho
206.956.9171 | Email
Kevin Benner grew up in Bellingham, WA and began his culinary career at 18 while working in a local bakery. He graduated with an Arts and Sciences degree from Whatcom Community College and continued his culinary career working as a line cook and later creating a baking and pastry program for a country club in Bellingham where he ultimately became the executive chef. After eight years, Kevin moved to Manhattan where he worked at Danny Meyer’s restaurant in The Gramercy Park Hotel where he learned how a small kitchen can execute on a consistently high level using local produce and meat for a large amount of people. Kevin loved the experience but says he missed the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and returned home to begin a three year tenure working with Chef Mark Bodinet at Copperleaf Restaurant in Cedarbrook Lodge.
Beginning in March 2018, Kevin spent time working at several Fire & Vine properties including The Lakehouse, El Gaucho Portland and Eritage before finding his home at AQUA by El Gaucho. Kevin and his wife Lauren have a daughter named Avory and says his favorite meal was cooking gnocchi together at home.
Executive Chef, El Gaucho Bellevue
425.454.2715 | Email
Michael Jordan is kind of a big deal – but we don’t mean the basketball player. Ours was Emeril Lagasse’s right hand man for years before he opened his renowned and beloved Las Vegas restaurant, Rosemary’s. Michael began at Emeril’s and opened NOLA, and as Executive Chef opened Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House in the MGM Grand in 1995.
Four years after arriving in Las Vegas, Michael and his wife Wendy fulfilled a shared dream when they opened their own restaurant, Rosemary’s, which was featured in Bon Appetit, FOOD & WINE, Santé, Gourmet, Conde Nast, LUXURY Las Vegas, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious and others. Rosemary’s closed in 2011 after more than 12 years of its guests with award-winning cuisine and warm hospitality.
Chef Michael served on the Program Advisory Board of Directors at the Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Art and has successfully completed the first level exam of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He comes to El Gaucho Bellevue after five years teaching at The Seattle Culinary Academy to lead the largest of the four El Gaucho restaurants.
Executive Chef, El Gaucho Portland
503.227.8794 | Email
El Gaucho Event’s Executive Chef Steve Cain fell in love with his craft at an early age while watching relatives prepare lavish holiday feasts at their family beach house in Olympia, WA. Growing up with a mother who was a chef further inspired him to make cooking not only his passion, but his trade. With no formal training but 30 years of experience, Chef Cain moved to Seattle to work at Henry’s Off Broadway under Chef Bruce Bonholzer, who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. This experience would be a turning point in his career and taught him that with great food comes lasting memories.
Cain continued to work in a select group of Pacific Northwest restaurants, honing and burnishing his culinary skills. For 8 years he worked as Executive Chef at Waterfront Seafood Grill (now AQUA by El Gaucho) and when the Mackays opened their first eastside venture in November 2008, El Gaucho Bellevue, Steve was given the position of Chef de Cuisine. After nearly 4 years of helping create the menu on the eastside, Cain returned to his roots within the company as Executive Chef of AQUA by El Gaucho. As the offsite program, El Gaucho Events, began to grow, Cain stepped in to the roll of El Gaucho Events Executive Chef in 2013. In April of 2014, Cain became Executive Chef at El Gaucho Portland.
Executive Chef, El Gaucho Seattle
206.728.1337 | Email
Jonathan Garcia joined the company seven years ago through the Renton Technical College Apprenticeship program, and worked his way up to El Gaucho Events Executive Chef. He now brings his talent, charm and smile as El Gaucho Seattle’s Executive Chef, and enjoys the privilege of cooking for people as they celebrate their lives. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico Jonathan grew up in Bellevue and found his love for cooking while his father worked in a restaurant. Studying culinary arts at Renton Technical College, El Gaucho selected Jonathan through the Washington State Culinary Apprenticeship Program, because of his drive and desire to further his skills. The program demands a huge commitment from both the chef and the apprentice. It typically takes three years to complete, requiring 6,000 hands-on hours and mastery of ten stations around the kitchen.
Jonathan and his wife have two dogs, two hedgehogs, one bunny, and a canary. He likes to spend time cooking for his wife and family, playing soccer and football, and living life to the fullest.
Executive Chef, El Gaucho Tacoma
253.272.1510 | Email
Jesus joined El Gaucho family in 2001, and was recently promoted to Executive Chef at El Gaucho Tacoma. Having a huge passion for food, and proven that he is a quick learner, Jesus has worked his way up the ranks from dishwasher to Sous Chef through notable area restaurants, including Black Angus, Pacific Grill, and Daniel’s Broiler. When the offer to become El Gaucho Tacoma’s Executive Chef came, Jesus was reluctant, but Corporate Executive Chef Ken Sharp confidently assured Jesus he could do it; and he’s very grateful for the opportunity.
Jesus was born in Mexico, but has lived most of his life in California and Washington. He loves spending time with his beautiful family and Chihuahua, and in his spare time enjoys green enchiladas, reading cooking books, and grilling at home.