Meet the Chef: Steve Cain of AQUA by El Gaucho

With a new year and a new name comes a new chef. Introducing AQUA by El Gaucho’s Executive Chef: Steve Cain. Well, re-introducing we should say. This jolly fellow is no stranger to the El Gaucho family. He most recently hails from El Gaucho Bellevue where he served as Chef de Cuisine for the past four years. Prior to his eastside venture, he began his career with the company at AQUA back when it was “Waterfront Seafood Grill.” Today, after 11 years with the El Gaucho family, he still can’t get enough. We can assume he loves to cook but what don’t we know about AQUA’s new Executive Chef?

What made you decide to become a Chef?

S: “My mother. A lot of times when other kids’ mothers were making hamburger helper or meatloaf or things like that, my mother was braising and stewing and making curries and really interesting foods. I think that sparked me at an early age. And plus, I love to eat!

What is your favorite memory in the kitchen?

S: “It would have to be when I was Sous Chef here [when AQUA was Waterfront Seafood Grill] and Paul Mackay and Ken Sharp came down and said ‘We’d like you to run this restaurant’ for the first time…They gave me that opportunity, they gave me my shot

You’ve been with El Gaucho for a while. What do you love about it most?

S: “You know, I’m a family man and something that Paul Mackay has really instilled here is the idea that we are a family. All of our restaurants work together as one to push our brand forward. They’ve stuck by me and I’ve stuck by them for the past 11 years and that’s fantastic. There’s not a lot of restaurants where you can do that anymore and I think that’s something really special that the Mackay’s bring to the table.”

Who would you have prepare your last meal?

S: “I think…. Julia Child or James Beard, kind of the godmother and godfather of American cuisine to me. I really want to go back East and check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art and take a look at Julia’s kitchen. I respect them both greatly. I’m kind of old-school in that way.

What’s something we don’t know about you?

S: “I like to paint! I have a studio downstairs in my “man room” where I get to do that once in a while. The restaurant business takes a lot of your time but thankfully my wife Janice is very understanding. It’s a very busy situation here!”


AQUA by El Gaucho officially welcomed Chef Cain on January 2. Read the full press release here.

One Response to “Meet the Chef: Steve Cain of AQUA by El Gaucho”

  1. It was great to see “burly bear” Cain again. But video can’t possibly capture his welcoming vitality. Don’t worry about the hug, you’ve only been “tenderized” for consuming his culinary artistry that follows. I look forward to going bear fishing at Aqua very soon. – Todd the Cavaleiro do Vinho do Porto

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