Our amazing chefs

chef cliff denny

Culinary Director

With thirty years experience as a chef, Cliff began his career in his hometown of Bexhill, East Sussex in the United Kingdom while also attending culinary school. Afterward, moving to Kent and later London as a chef at the 5 Star Hyatt Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge which specialized in classic French cooking. After a few years, Cliff opened Grissini London in the same space, a restaurant serving fine dining Italian. His culinary talent is refined, spanning many cuisines over the decades.

Outside of his passion for food, Cliff has traveled extensively and loves the outdoors. He enjoys fishing, camping, and the beach. He even caught a 500+ pound Blue Marlin while deep sea fishing!

Cliff has lived in many places throughout his culinary career including the U.S. Virgin Islands where he met his wife Erika as well as Georgia where they started a family and had their two children, Keira and Annika. Other places Cliff has lived and worked include: Washington DC, Florida, Anguilla, New York City, Nevada, and now Oregon. We are proud to have him as our culinary director.

Chef de Cuisine for Urban Restaurant Group

This is the man behind many of the delicious recipes at Pearl Catering.  Chef de Cuisine, Adrian Cervantes, is in charge of ensuring every single new addition to our family has a unique, tasty, one of a kind food menu that differentiates it from others.  He likes to incorporate many flavors that remind him of his hometown in Mexico.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, 5 kids, and Yorkshire, Mima!  He loves cooking for friends and family when he’s not whipping up new dishes and recipes in the Urban Restaurant Group or Pearl Catering kitchen.  He’s a big foodie and enjoys eating out at different, new and upcoming places.  Chef Adrian enjoys playing and watching football, aka soccer, staying fit and healthy as he works out 5 days a week, and every now and then, taking a family vacation somewhere new. 

Two things not many know about Chef Adrian is that he likes to play the accordion and guitar!  


Executive Chef at BRIX Tavern

Executive Chef, Humberto Rivera, of BRIX Tavern began his 20+ years in the culinary arts working in a small Italian restaurant in Mexico city as a waiter.  Finding enjoyment in the restaurant industry, Humberto decided to further his studies and enrolled in culinary school.  Upon completion, he worked in a variety of roles in various states, helping to open several restaurants in Seattle, Colorado, California, Nebraska, Las Vegas, and finally in Portland, Oregon.  

For the past several years, Rivera has been leading the culinary teams at BRIX Tavern, contributing his vast experience and gastronomic creativity to the restaurant’s outstanding menu.  Outside of the kitchen, Humberto enjoys the great outdoors and spending time with his wife and two daughters.  He can often be found hiking, camping, or enjoying the lakes and mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Taco Master at Carlita’s in the Pearl

Taco Master of Carlita’s in the Pearl, Nelson Orlando UC Tep has worked in the culinary industry for the past 14 years. Originally from Yucatan, where his family still resides, Orlando grew up in a large family with 5 siblings. Following a move to the US, Nelson began working in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher and gradually worked his way up to leading the kitchen staff at Carlita’s. A dedicated family man, Nelson spends his free time with his family, listening to Cumbria music, watching action movies, and barbequing.



Executive Chef at Metropolitan Tavern

Executive Chef, Joey Hart, of Metropolitan Tavern has worked in the culinary industry for 17 years. His passion for cooking began at 5 years old, helping his grandmother work in the kitchen. Having grown up on a farm during the Great Depression, Hart’s grandmother, Billie Sue, did everything by hand and passed that knowledge on to her grandson.

Following an accident in the oil fields of Texas in 2005, Chef Hart decided it was time for a career change and immersed himself in the culinary arts. His efforts have been recognized by the Huffington Post and Hart has been the recipient of both the People’s Choice and Judges awards in the Bourbon & Bacon Fest in 2015 and 2016.

When he is not creating gastronomic magic in the kitchen, Joey can be found spending time with his partner and children in the outdoors, producing music, or practicing regenerative agriculture at home.

Executive Chef at BRIX Tavern in Portland

Chef Jesus Merchant-Solis, a third-generation cook with two years of professional experience, hails from Zihuatanejo, where his family has been a culinary staple. His grandfather pioneered the town’s first carnitas spot, sparking a tradition that now sees about 20 similar establishments. Jesus’s journey in cooking is a tribute to his family’s rich legacy, combined with his passion for exploring new dining experiences.

Outside the kitchen, Jesus indulges in photography, video games, and driving, pursuits that reflect his creative and exploratory spirit. His academic background is as diverse as his interests, holding a bachelor’s degree in international business and having briefly explored med school, humorously noting he’s “7% doctor.”

Though early in his career, Jesus’s dedication to culinary innovation, rooted in deep family traditions, makes him a promising talent in the culinary world.



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