Grand Truffle Dinner Chef
Gregory Denton, Chef/Owner
Ox Restaurant, Portland OR
Raised in Rutland, Vermont, Gregory knew he wanted to be a chef from age 4. By age 9 he was already learning to cook in a family-run restaurant.
His formal culinary education began in high school, and he continued his studies and graduated with honors from The Culinary Institute of America.
After completing an externship in the Executive Dining Room of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gregory began his career in fine dining under the classically-trained French chef Richard Blondin at The Refectory Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. A year and a half later, Gregory moved back home to Vermont to work at the acclaimed Hemingway’s Restaurant in Killington. At Hemingway’s, he quickly moved up the ranks and became the restaurant’s youngest sous chef. He was also exposed to incredible wine and food pairings, which would lead him out west to Napa Valley, California.
Once there, he went to work for Chef Thomas Keller at Bouchon, in Yountville. Greg left Bouchon to work with Chef Hiro Sone at the famed restaurant Terra in St. Helena, working his way through the various kitchen stations to become the first titled Chef de Cuisine. During this time, Chef Sone was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef of California.
With an urge to travel and an interest in learning more about Asian Pacific cuisines, Gregory found himself looking even further west to Hawaii. In Maui, he was hired by Mark Ellman to be the Executive Chef of Mala Ocean Tavern. In April of 2007 Gregory cooked the personal meals for His Holiness The Dalai Lama for the two days he was in Maui.
In May 2009 Greg opened Metrovino as the Executive Chef. Under his tenure, Metrovino was honored with several awards, including one of the top three restaurants in the Oregonian’s 2010 Diner issue. It was also chosen as one of the top restaurants in Portland Monthly’s November 2010 and 2011 restaurant issues. In 2009 Greg was named "Chef to Watch" in the Oregonian and named one of Portland's Top Newcomers, and in 2012 Greg won Nicky’s USA Wild About Game Chef’s Competition and Portland’s Chef of the Year by Eater.com.
In April 2012 Greg opened Ox Restaurant in Northeast Portland. He is joined in the kitchen by his wife Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton. They have been cooking together since meeting in the kitchen at Terra in 1999.
Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Chef/Owner
Ox Restaurant, Portland OR
Gabrielle’s passion for food developed at a young age during summers spent in her grandmother’s kitchen in the Andean highlands of Ecuador.
There, she would watch as maize was ground by hand into humitas; she would mimic her grandmother’s method of delicately forming empanadas de viento; and she would stir impatiently as the sugared milk slowly caramelized into dulce de leche. Back in California, the weekends of her youth were spent exploring the various cuisines and ethnic restaurants of the greater Los Angeles area, and when she was sixteen she took her first restaurant job.
Her interests in international cultures and foods led her to pursue a major in geography at UC Berkeley, focusing on the conservation of natural resources through sustainable agriculture. Her academic studies eventually came second to her desire to cook professionally, though they did form her appreciation for “farm to table” cooking.
In 1999, Gabrielle graduated with honors from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and relocated to Napa Valley to cook under Chef Hiro Sone at Terra. There, she met Greg Denton, and they cooked their way through the restaurant’s various kitchen stations. Greg eventually became chef de cuisine and she, sous chef.
In 2002, the couple moved to Maui where she became the sous chef at Gerard’s, a classical French restaurant in Lahaina. After a year and a half at Gerard’s, she started a small catering business and then eventually took the position as executive chef of the Lahaina Yacht Club.
In 2007, Gabrielle and Greg visited Portland and fell in love with the city, its great restaurants, its farmers markets and its devotion to the culinary arts. They moved to Portland the next spring. In 2009, Gabrielle took a position at Metrovino as the Chef de Cuisine and Pastry Chef. After three years there, the couple left Metrovino to open Ox Restaurant.
Together, Chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton opened Ox Restaurant in April of 2012.
Named one of 2012’s most anticipated restaurant openings in the nation by eater.com and located in Northeast Portland, Ox Restaurant serves Argentine-inspired Portland food. In the short amount of time that Ox has been open, Ox has received both local and national acclaim, not only achieving recognition as one of the nation’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit magazine, but also receiving an A grade review by The Oregonian’s Food Editor, Michael Russell.
In August, 2012, Greg and Gabrielle opened the Whey Bar, a small satellite bar adjacent to Ox Restaurant.
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