Jenna Hinton comes to Ray’s from Farmington Hills, MI, a suburb of Detroit. She began her career in food service/hospitality at age 16 as a banquet server in a country club. It was there that she developed a passion for catering and events. Upon graduating from high school, she moved to New York City to attend a rigorous acting conservatory program. Jenna continued to dabble in the hospitality industry, catering to many notable actors, journalists, and tv personalities. Her pursuits also led her to stage management, which set her up with the necessary skills to become a successful event coordinator. She returned to Michigan for a brief time and worked as a Private Event Coordinator at the Novi Chophouse.
Having dreamed of the West Coast for many years, she finally made the move to Seattle and joined the Ray’s family. She is delighted to be working with and learning from the incredibly knowledgeable and talented staff at Ray’s while serving the residents of Seattle. Her long term goal is to explore event planning and design, a career that combines her creativity and her desire to craft a unique guest experience.
My favorite month of the year at Ray’s:
I am fairly new to the Seattle area and have not had the opportunity to experience Ray’s during every season. However the first time I visited Ray’s as a customer was April. It was a beautiful day, one of those first warmish days in the Northwest where everyone seems to be off work in the middle of the week. We sat outside upstairs, the view was gorgeous, the atmosphere perfect and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect place for an afternoon lunch.
When I’m not at Ray’s, I’m probably:
On the golf course or somewhere very near to water. I like to explore the surrounding islands with friends or take a long hike.
The best job I ever had was:
The first job I ever had. I was 14 and worked for a gentlemen who ran a Jewish deli in Portland, OR. On the weekends we would go to the Saturday market and sell Kosher hot dogs from a New York style hot dog cart. We also sold hand-made knish filled with potato and broccoli. It was my true first exposure to food and the preparation of it (outside of my mother’s kitchen). It was new and exciting and at 14 I could eat all the Hebrew Nationals I wanted….
The coolest place I’ve ever lived:
The island of Maui. I love the water and the weather. The people on the island are the best and I made some of the greatest connections of my life there.
One thing you really need to know about Ray’s:
I have discovered that Ray’s is more than a restaurant, it’s a community. People have passion for this place and it shows, from the staff to the guests.
If I could be a kid again for one day, I would spend it:
With my family and friends at our beach house in Cannon Beach, OR. Playing in the waves of the Pacific and at the shoreline for some drip castles. The water is far too cold for me now.
- I began my career at 21 working at the then-newly opened Widmer Brothers Brewing Company.
- I worked as the lead cook for the “Restaurant of the Year 1996” Assaggio in Portland OR, where I found my love for Italian cuisine.
- I was featured as one of Portland’s “Best Young Chefs” by Portland Monthly, as Chef de Cuisine at Tabla Mediterranean Bistro in Portland.
- I moved to Maui in 2008 to try my hand at the corporate side of the restaurant industry, serving as Chef of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Lahaina. From there I moved to the fine dining restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua .
- Prior to Ray’s, I was Head Chef of the Hi-Life in Ballard.
Gus feels very fortunate to have been doing what he enjoys the most for the past twenty years—creating and presenting food in new and inventive ways. Starting in 2009 he has been on an incredible journey in the Northwest.
He began at Cave B, a vineyard and resort in eastern Washington. Then moved on to Poppy located in Capitol Hill. Since 2012, he has had the pleasure to be employed at the iconic Ray’s Boathouse. Each restaurant in his Northwest journey has provided the opportunity and blessing to collaborate with great chefs such as Chef Joe Richie, Chef Jerry Traunfeld and of course Chef Paul Duncan whom he currently works with.
Ray’s Boathouse has allowed him to express his own work in a creative manner. He worked his way into the Boathouse Sous Chef position before moving to his current position—Sous Chef of Banquets. This change allowed him to experiment and execute new ideas and recipes which has allowed him to thrive. He is extremely honored to be at a restaurant that supports his creativity and is very excited for what the future holds. Siempre hacia Adelante!