We’re excited to feature 2017 James Beard Best Chef: Northwest winners Chef Greg Denton and Chef Gabrielle Quiñónez-Denton. Previously they were included on Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs list in 2014. The duo’s Argentine-inspired steakhouse Ox in Portland, Oregon, debuted in April 2012 and has been getting high praise ever since. Ox was named The Oregonian’s 2013 Restaurant of the Year and one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in 2012.
Greg, who grew up in Rutland, Vermont, has said it was the gift of an Easy-Bake Oven when he was four years old that kick-started his love for cooking. He studied at Paul Smith’s College in New York’s Adirondack region as well as at the Culinary Institute of America. Classical training followed, from the Refectory in Columbus, Ohio, to Hemingway’s in Killington, Vermont, and on to Chef Hiro Sone’s acclaimed Terra in St. Helena, California, where Greg met Gabrielle. They have been cooking together ever since.
From 2002 to 2007, the Dentons explored Asian Pacific food—with Greg as executive chef at Hawaii's Mala Ocean Tavern (where he even cooked for the Dalai Lama). Heading to Portland, the Dentons manned the stove at Lucier and later Metrovino, where their menu was built around an extensive wine list. The duo’s first cookbook, Around the Fire, celebrates the idea of cooking over flames and is an instant hit, as well as being an accessible guide to grilling just about anything.
The chefs’ latest venture, in addition to the still wildly popular Ox, is Bistro Agnes, an intimate French restaurant in downtown Portland featuring Parisian bistro fare.