A Bit of History...

My first job in a restaurant was as a bus boy when I was sixteen. I would get excited for the few moments each day I would spend in the kitchen bugging the chefs with questions, trying to help, and sometimes just watching. Then I would take what I had learned home and try it out on my mother.

People say she must have been lucky to have a young chef at home, but my mom probably remembers it differently. While some meals were good, some were not. No matter how good or bad, I always made a mess of the place (sorry mom). However, in the end one thing is true: I love to cook and love to share it with others.

My first job didn't allow me to be in the kitchen, so I was soon looking elsewhere. I ended up at a new restaurant/bar that was opening. We only made bar food, but at last I was cooking. That was when I decided this is what I want to do with my life, and I applied to culinary school. While working full time, and going to school full time, I realized I had to get a job in a real restaurant. So, my father and I went to eat at all the best restaurants in town. We ended up at this great French restaurant, that sadly is no longer open, and I fell in love. I told the owner after dinner that I wanted to work for him, but he didn't have any openings at the time. I persisted, and he eventually took me in as an apprentice. I worked for two months for free, paying my dues, and then got hired on full time. In two years I was the head chef. I learned so much in that restaurant and am eternally grateful for the opportunity I was given (thanks Phillipe).

When my stay at the French restaurant came to an end, I didn't really know what to do next. One day, a regular customer from the restaurant called and asked if I would do a dinner party in their home for their son's birthday. The party was a big success, and Dinner Parties by Paul was born. It started slowly with a few faithful customers, then word began to spread. Ive been cooking ever since.

Dinner Parties by Paul was a great experience for me. In the restaurant you can't interact with customers as much because you're too busy. With dinner parties, you are one-on-one with your host and their guests. It gave me a chance to really know my customers and realize just how much I enjoyed cooking. I decided to bring that level of personal service back to the restaurant (Abreo) and treat every guest as if I was in their home. People are the reason I cook, not the food. I love good food, but it's better when you can share that love with others.

Over the past fifteen years I have been learning, testing, and tuning my skills as a chef. I have also learned the business and service aspects of the restaurant industry. With all of these different experiences, I have been able to create a style of food and service that is unique and of the highest quality. I look forward to sharing my love for food and people with Rockford.

Abreo opened on January 16, 2005 and has been a blast.

Paul Sletten

What Is the Philosophy of Abreo?

I want to have fun, and I want our guests to have fun as well.

I did not get into this business for any other reason than the fact that I have a great time doing it. I love my time in the kitchen creating, tweaking, and sometimes failing at new dishes. I love working with a great staff and watching as a team of 20 or so all work together for a common purpose. I love grinding in the kitchen on a busy night in the chaos and then walking through the dining room to talk with guests who have no idea what it took to make their dining experience happen. I love the relationships with guests and staff that have been built because of our time together at Abreo. My goal is to never get bored, never be afraid to take a chance, and to always appreciate the people around me.

So the philosophy of Abreo? We are proud and excited about what we do and have faith that our guests will have a great experience at Abreo.

meet the abreo staff

There is one thing I know, and that is that everyone matters. From dishwasher to owner, bartender to server, or office assistant to busser, you need everyone to make the full restaurant experience great. I am fortunate to have a staff of dedicated, driven, and passionate people. This page is dedicated to the people that really make Abreo fantastic - the greatest staff ever.

Paul Sletten

Chef / Owner

Karen Sletten

Creative Director

Sandy Johnson

Business/Office Manager

Karen Sletten

Events Co-Ordinator

Brandon Derrickson


Gerry Madero


Taylor Amidon


Tim Woolsey (Manager)
Michelle Zaphel
Zach "ZT" Thompson
Adam Chappell
Tina Manning

Melissa Trias
Dan Scroggins (Wine Curator)
Sylvia Bounlutay
Adam Maravich
Tina Manning

Gerry Madero
Jackson Sletten
Tina Manning

Jerry Sletten - Big Poppa / Schmoozer
Jackson Sletten - Son /Busser/Chef in Training
Frank Sletten - Son/Chief food tester/fisherman extraordinaire
George Sletten - Son/Inspiration/Story Teller