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!

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General Managers

  • Sivi Mennen, General Manager at AQUA by El Gaucho

    Sivi Mennen

    General Manager, AQUA by El Gaucho

    206.956.9171 | Email

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    “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.

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  • Rob Frost, General Manager at El Gaucho Bellevue

    Rob Frost

    General Manager, El Gaucho Bellevue

    425.455.2715 | Email

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    Rob Frost is the consummate hospitality professional. His reputation as a dedicated teacher, mentor and a proven ability to develop a strong team caught the interest of Fire & Vine Hospitality. In January, 2020, he chose to take the helm at El Gaucho Bellevue after hearing what he describes as the company’s “refreshing and positive vision.”

    Rob spent his early career washing dishes in Sun Valley, Idaho to support his desire to ski but he loved the restaurant industry so much, he never looked back. Since then, he has worked in some of the Pacific Northwest’s best-known restaurants including the Union Square Grill, Hiram’s, and Ray’s Boathouse. Since 2012, Rob served as director of operations for Emory’s on Silver Lake in Everett, WA.

    An avid outdoorsman, Rob enjoys spending time with his wife, Danielle and their son, Robert Jr. Rob fills his days off golfing, boating, fishing and bike riding adventures, as well as tending their extensive garden.

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  • Gillian Duff, General Manager at El Gaucho Portland

    Gillian Duff

    General Manager, El Gaucho Portland

    503.227.8794 | Email

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    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.

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  • Jacob Lawrence

    Jacob Lawrence

    General Manager, El Gaucho Seattle

    206.728.1337 | Email

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    Jacob Lawrence believes that “whatever the mind believes, it can achieve” and it is this positive attitude that makes him the right person to lead the El Gaucho Seattle team as they embark on the move to their new home in summer 2020.

    After growing up in Tacoma, Jacob graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in Global Wine Studies. He joined the El Gaucho family as a busser at the Tacoma location in 2011 and worked his way up to wine captain and Wine Syndicate director.

    In 2017, Jacob left El Gaucho to launch a new spirits company, Grandeza Premium Orange Liqueur. The successful startup required a great deal of travel and Jacob wanted to stay close to his growing family. He returned to El Gaucho in the Seattle location in January 2019 and was promoted to general manager in October 2019.

    Jacob and his wife, Michelle, live in Tacoma and are parents to a young daughter, Mikala, and son, Caleb, as well as their Shiba Inu, Lulu. He enjoys reading, hiking, camping and cooking for big family dinners.

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  • Terianne Romero, General Manager at El Gaucho Tacoma

    Terianne Broyles

    General Manager, El Gaucho Tacoma

    253.272.1510 | Email

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    Terianne grew up in Lewiston, ID and went to high school and community college in the Tri-Cities, WA, where she graduated with a degree in Management Studies. She has been in the hospitality business for over 25 years. Her first management position was with the Inn at the Park in Spokane, Washington, running restaurant operations for the hotel’s two restaurants. She realized restaurants were her life’s purpose and began working at Salty’s restaurants. During her twenty years with the company, she held different roles including Corporate Trainer & General Manager. Terianne joined El Gaucho Tacoma in October 2018 as General Manager.

    Terianne and her husband Mark have been married for 35 years and their son Dylan, recently graduated from law school. She loves spending time outdoors, especially at Mount Rainer, where you’ll typically find her hiking, and running trails.

Executive Chefs

  • Kevin Benner, Executive Chef at AQUA by El Gaucho

    Kevin Benner

    Executive Chef, AQUA by El Gaucho

    206.956.9171 | Email

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    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.

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  • Margarito Moreno, Executive Chef at El Gaucho Bellevue

    Margarito Moreno

    Executive Chef, Bellevue

    425.455.2715 | Email

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    El Gaucho Bellevue executive chef, Margarito Moreno, says that he seeks to learn something new every day. After 14 years in the kitchen at El Gaucho Bellevue, Margarito is ready to lead and teach, while continuing to grow in his own career. Margarito grew up in Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico and learned to cook from his mother at the age of seven.

    He moved to Seattle when he was 20 years old and worked for a variety of restaurants before joining the El Gaucho team in 2005. Over the last 14 years, Margarito has worked in every role and station in the kitchen. Margarito was promoted to Executive Chef because of his natural leadership, hard work ethic, passion for his team, and the El Gaucho culture and values.

    Margarito enjoys spending time with his wife, Beatriz, his two daughters and son, his first grandchild and their dog.

  • Steve Cain, Executive Chef at El Gaucho Portland

    Steve Cain

    Executive Chef, El Gaucho Portland

    503.227.8794 | Email

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    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.

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  • Jonathan Garcia, Executive Chef at El Gaucho Seattle

    Jonathan Garcia

    Executive Chef, El Gaucho Seattle

    206.728.1337 | Email

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    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.

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  • Jesus Boîtes, Executive Chef at El Gaucho Tacoma

    Jesus Boîtes

    Executive Chef, El Gaucho Tacoma

    253.272.1510 | Email

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    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.

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