About us

About us

About us

Meet the Porta team

Owned by brothers Ben and Joe Wright, Porta Tapas is a group of 3 restaurants in the Northwest. We are hands-on operators, who are passionate about creating an enjoyable place to work.

Ben and Joe – Owners

Brothers Ben and Joe were born and raised in the village of Oscroft, a few miles east of Chester. With divergent early careers (Joe a chef in the Northwest and Ben working in London setting up a noughties dotcom, stints in hospitality, and in management at a Soho media company) they came back together in 2006 to ‘do their own thing’, inspired by London’s new produce-led cafe/deli’s. 

Ben and Joe’s first restaurant ‘Joseph Benjamin’ opened in Chester in 2006 and went on to be awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for 12 consecutive years. Ben ran the restaurant ‘front of house’ and ‘did the books’ while award-winning chef Joe led the kitchen. For (too) many years, they worked every single shift. JB’s (as it was known) was a busy, popular neighbourhood bistro doing proper food with quality ingredients.

In 2012, inspired by life-long travels to the Iberian peninsula, they opened a tapas bar called Porta. Located right next door to their larger restaurant, Porta had a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) business plan of “somewhere to go when we’re not working”. The simplicity of Porta was a hit; it’s unpretentious, stripped-back menu, wine list and service-style let ingredients – and customers – do the talking. The winning formula was repeated in Altrincham in 2016 and on Chapel Street, Salford in 2018. In 2021 the original restaurant, Joseph Benjamin, was closed, making way for an expanded Porta in Chester.

Today, all three restaurants are very busy. Joe’s role is mainly one of executive chef; supporting the kitchen teams, helping create daily specials, refining menus and mentoring staff. Ben runs the business administration and operations; splitting his time between the office and bouncing between sites with a camera in hand and a boot-load of tools.

Joe lives in Saughall, Chester with his wife Robyn, their 2-year-old daughter, Nell and baby Finn. Ben, his wife Lorraine and their two boys (Ralph, 3 and Gilbert, not yet 1) live in Great Boughton, Chester.

Vicki Howard – Operations Manager

Vicki oversees the day to day operations of Porta’s three sites. Working between Chester, Altrincham and Salford, she supports the entire staff in pushing the business forward and maintaining systems and our high standards. A true ‘people person’, her natural instinct for hospitality (in its most fundamental sense) is unparalleled.

Vicki grew up in Manchester before training for 8 years as a dancer at The Hammond School in Chester. Joining us aged 19 as a part time waitress at our original Chester restaurant, her role quickly progressed and she has become an absolute keystone at Porta. Vicki was the original manager of Porta Chester in 2012, took the reins at Altrincham when it opened in 2016, and now oversees the operations of all three sites.

Vicki lives near Chester with her fiancé Will and their Labrador Finn. 

Vicki also holds a BSc in Nutrition and masters in Public Health.

Chester Team

(Left to right)

General Manager: Ivan Clifford, Assistant Manager: Lester Jones, Assistant Manager: Leigh Davies, Sous Chef: Alex Cantais, Head Chef: Jose Fransisco Garzon Catala

Salford Team

(left to right)

Assistant Manager: Ashleigh Williams, Head Chef: Ferdinando Capasso, Sous Chef: Kaue Cardoso Da Rocha, Restaurant Manager: Will Sumner

Altrincham Team

(left to right)

Restaurant Manager: Ryan Mort, Head Chef: Rafal Kmiecik, Sous chef: Matthew Coetzee, Assistant Manager: Santana Ortoft

Whether you are interested in working in our kitchens or alongside our front of house team, we are always keen to hear from talented and enthusiastic individuals.