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Who We Are

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

The idea behind ‘Who We Are’ is to shine a light on yourself and other food service workers in our county and to blur the lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’. We are a family of dedicated workers and I encourage you to celebrate our connections rather than focus on our differences. We are all an important part of the world-renowned culinary scene in Portland and it’s time we see Who We Are.

Please contact us at if you would like to be featured. Dare to see and be seen.

JUAN and crew

Type of food service: Swanky Steak House

Originally from: Napa, CA

How you got here: My grandma owned a restaurant in Baja. It was a flautaria and all they specialized in the best flautas and taquitos. My mom was also a great cook and so I had a connection to delicious food from an early age. 

I worked in restaurants, in my middle and late teens, almost always in the front of house. I decided my love for the food business was worth going to college for. I went to the California Culinary Academy to truly understand how to run a restaurant from front to back of house. I paid for it myself and graduated with two degrees. 

After graduating, I went to Las Vegas, wanting to learn from one of the best, at a restaurant called Picasso. I scheduled an interview and went to Vegas. After waiting an hour and a half, the Chef finally appeared… he said, just show up tomorrow with your knives. I auditioned and got the job. There I learned exquisite food preparation and presentation. 

Once in Portland, I worked for a couple fine dining restaurants as an Executive Sous Chef and then at the Waverly Country Club. A friend told me about this position and I jumped at the chance to be Executive Chef here.

Biggest challenge following the food code: Not finding straws in the coffee cups on the line in the morning!

Favorite thing about the business: Making guest happy is first and foremost. It’s also really important for me to mentor the crew. I am brother, father, cousin, and teacher to them all … we are family. Everyone learns differently.  You play coach and figure out how to help them reach their potential.

Hours worked daily: 10 - 12 hours a day

Favorite food: When I go out to eat, I seek simple comfort food. One of my favorite meals is a good Reuben sandwich.


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