Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Greg Denton and Gabriella Quinonez Denton met in the late 90's while working at Terra under the highly respected Hiro Sone, where Greg rose to the title of Chef De Cuisine and Gabi to Sous Chef. After 5 years in Hawaii, in 2007 the couple made the moved to Portland Oregon. In 2011 they left Metrovino to open their own Ox Restaurant. It was at Ox where Greg and Gabi began to build their notoriety, earning F&W's Best New Chefs and James Beard's Best Chefs Northwest. Today Greg and Gabi own Ox, Whey Bar, Bistro Agnes, and Kask.


Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

"Don't suck."

In this episode with Greg Denton, we discuss: 

  • How Denton's desire to make his dad proud is what got him started in the restaurant industry. 
  • What it was like being interviewed by and working for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry.
  • How Denton's issue with authority ultimately lead to his demise as a Thomas Keller employee and what Denton learn from that experience. 
  • How a calm leader can be just as, if not more, effective than a command, control, and disciplinary style of leadership. 
  • Finding a balance between sternness and easy going. 
  • That a true chef doesn't value awards; they value their business and their craft. 
  • The complexities of dating those you work with. 
  • The importance of understanding your demographic. 
  • How it is not enough to be in the community; you need to be interwoven throughout the community. 
  • How your best publicist is yourself. 
  • Creating a brand that is authentic; when it is not authentic, people can smell your inauthentic shit from a mile away. 
  • Finding partners that allow you to focus on what you do best. 
  • How trying to do too much and not having a clear identity is a recipe for disaster. 


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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    • Consistently asking people to give it their best. 
  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    • Still gets jealous of other peoples success. 
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    • He looks for people with empathy and who are willing to defend the guest. 
  4. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.

    • Start the day aggressively so the rest of the day goes smoothly. 
  5. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?

    • He ensures that the people who work for him enjoy working for him; if his people are happy his guest with be happy. 
  6. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

  7. Share an online resource or tool.

  8. What's one piece of technology you've adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

  9. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?

    1. Don't be afraid of hard work.
    2. Be as fair as possible. 
    3. Be patient
    4. Love life and work.  

Contact Info



Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Chef Greg Denton for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 531_Greg_Denton_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT