The Ten: Gregory Perez
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Name and job title?
Gregory Perez, I am the owner of Monkey’s Tail in Houston.
Where were you born, where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, USA.
How you describe what you do?
As a bar owner, I wear many hats. Bartender, buyer, shrink, security, busboy, and toilet cleaner. A more elegant way of putting it, my job is to lead my team, which means I do what needs to be done.
How much was your last cup of coffee?
$2 at the restaurant the cross the street from us. It’s a small Mexican restaurant owned by three sisters.
What is one ingredient that is crucial to your life and work?
Fresh Limes. Without it, life would collapse.
What does a food and/or drinks system mean to you?
To me it means the way it gets from cultivation to the consumers hands. Production, Marketing, quality, and creativity all play a role in a consumer’s decision. That’s why representation, from top to bottom is key. It has to reflect what the real world looks like.
How does your immediate locale affect your work?
It has a positive impact on what we are trying to do here. It’s located in a historically Mexican-American neighbourhood.
Where do you draw inspiration from, in your work?
My childhood and experiences growing up are my biggest source of information. I believe every bar should say something. Whether it’s telling a story, making a statement, or revealing who you are as an owner So everything about my work is a piece of me. Of who I am, what I love, what has impacted me, what influences me, and what I love.
What impact do you want to have?
I want to show that, in this industry that is filled with racism, sexism, and classism, you can care about your employees and your community and still make a dollar. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I want more POC to have bars that are recognised by their peers and the critics.
What change do you want to see in culinary system?
Representation and ownership. Minorities have to take the mantles of leadership and start to change the ownership landscape of this industry in all facets. History has shown us that we must look out for ourselves, and we have to be the change we want to see. We are a strong and resilient people, and the ownership isn’t something we should see as unobtainable, or the challenges to ownership as insurmountable.
We ask all our interviewees to send us two photos: one that represents themselves and one that represents their work.