006: Gregg Sessler of Cava


Today’s guest has come a long way since his first job in hospitality, where he wasn’t allowed in the kitchen. His passion for food drove him to enroll at Paul Smiths Culinary School in Brighton, NY.

His professional career started taking off with  his 5 year stint in the San Francisco’s Bay and in Northern California’s Wine Country. 3 of those 5 years were spent as Executive Chef and wine buyer at The Caprice, where he reinvented the restaurant into one of the Bay Areas premier dining destinations.

While working as Executive Chef at Caprice, he also pursued his certification as a sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

His newest role is as Chef/Co-Proprietor of Cava, a Mediterranean restaurant with tapas and wine bar, located in Portsmouth, NH. Cava is most well known for its diverse international wine selection, out door vertical garden and for its Chef’s Tables, which allows for a uniquely personal and exciting dinning experience.

Show Notes…

Success/Leadership Quote or Mantra

Mantra: You need to have passion, focus and the ability to love what you do and have fun with it

“IT” Factor

Great European charm, warm ambiance, combined with  great

Vertical Garden
Vertical Garden

location, unique concept to the area.  On a more personal level its a very intimate experience. The level of engagement between guest and service is uncommonly intimate.
“Hello and goodbye directly from the kitchen.”


Getting through the slow season. This challenge is being overcome with better planning and by creating unique promotions. One promotion Cava is using is the hospitality promotion, which offers 25% off for hospitality industry professionals. This goes a long way in creating good relationships with other restaurants in the community.


Gregg leads by example and by treating people with respect.

Success Definition

Its more than just getting bodies in the door, you need to be good at crunching the numbers to ensure you’re making a profit for your efforts.

Also Gregg says you need to provide an ample, balanced environment. People need to feel, welcome, comfortable and relaxed. Your guest need to perceive value.

On The Fly (speed round)
    • Hiring Tip
      If you’re hiring a chef make them cut chives. If they can handle that it’s a good sign.
    • Creative Incentive to Keep Employees
      Treating employees with respect and keeping a clean efficient organized workspace.
    • Marketing Tactics, Tools or Trends
      -Hospitality Industry discount.
      -Being active on social media.
      -getting engaged with community i.e. concierge, barber shop, hair dresser and coffee shop.
    • Restaurant or Business Book

Running a Restaurant For Dummies

A good book for getting the basic with respect to the numbers.

  • Productivity, Efficiency, Profitability or Communication Gadget, Tool or Service.
    A new ticket rack. Seems simple? Thats because it is. Because of Gregg’s ability to think outside of the box and change They were able to save 25,000 a year by getting no longer needing an expeditor.
  • Best Business or Restaurant Advice
    Become a handy man and always listen to people with experience and then be willing to take their advice.
Contact Info

Cava Tapas and Wine Bar


Twitter: @cavaportsmouth

Cava T: 6033191575