I love dining “experiences.” Whether at home, on a beach, on a farm, on a hike or in a restaurant the combination of food, drink, atmosphere, people, play, laughter, hospitality, conversation and music can combine to create these memorable experiences. I love old buildings. They have a built in character and story that lend themselves to creating something unique and special. Morphing old buildings into restaurants and bars filled with life is an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience. It is a gift to have the resources and creative minds and energy to bring such dreams and visions to reality. With each buildout comes an incredible opportunity to team up with like minded architects, interior designers, graphic designers, chefs, mixologists and local artisans to bring the visions of a menu, a space and a vibe all together. With each new concept has come an opportunity to travel and be inspired by an industry that continues to reach new levels of creativity, design, and originality.
I am blessed to have an incredible team of passionate people who understand this industry and love it. My wife Jen has been with me since Vesta opened and continues to be an integral part of the design and daily decision making process while doing an incredible job with our two young boys. Vesta, Steuben’s and Ace Eat Serve are one big family with nearly 300 members. We work and play together in an environment that encourages fun, parties, creativity, eating, drinking, playing, dancing, philanthropy, community and connecting with people. On the surface, the restaurant worlds of Vesta, Steuben’s, and Ace are entirely different, but a common thread of incredible staff, delicious food and good times make these restaurants sisters. We are incredibly lucky and fortunate to do what we do for a living as we get to see the rewards on the faces of our staff and guests on a daily basis.
Photo Courtesy of Alan Hill Photography
Chef Thach Tran (whose first name is pronounced “Ta”) first fell in love with food on the streets of his birthplace in Saigon, Vietnam. At just seven years old, Thach began washing dishes at his grandmother's noodle restaurants, where she patiently taught him to appreciate the intricacies of good food.
When Thach was nine years old, his grandmother sold her restaurants and moved the family to the U.S., hoping to find a better life. The convenience foods that were Thach’s first introduction to American cuisine left him feeling disappointed and confused. Thach began to study Western cooking, hoping to achieve a better understanding of American cuisine.
In 2010, Thach graduated from the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University. In August of 2017, he became the Executive Chef of Ace Eat Serve in Uptown. The lively dining room, ping-pong hall, bar and patio perfectly complement Thach's creative, interactive and authentically inspired culinary creations. At Ace, Chef Thach has the opportunity to share his passion and experience cooking both Asian and American cuisine with the Denver dining community.
EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF
Born into a long line of pastry chefs and bakers, Nadine Donovan’s enthusiasm for all things sweet was instilled at an early age while growing up in her hometown of London, Ontario, Canada. Years later, after emigrating to Colorado, Nadine decided to pursue her passion and enrolled in the Baking and Pastry Arts program at Johnson & Wales University where she excelled, graduating Magna Cum Laude. In the evenings, Nadine gained practical experience working in local restaurant kitchens.
Over the next few years, Nadine quickly made a name for herself by designing original pastry programs at some of Denver’s most acclaimed restaurants including Parisi’s, Fuel, and eventually Old Major, where she earned the title of Denver’s Best Pastry Chef by Westword Magazine. This recognition capped a stellar year during which Nadine was named to Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list and was invited to join Denver’s esteemed culinary group, the Denver Five.
Not content with this early success, Nadine embraced the next challenge in her life when she signed on as Executive Pastry Chef for Secret Sauce Food & Beverage, the local restaurant group behind Steuben’s, Ace Eat Serve, and Vesta. Tasked with developing pastry programs for three very different concepts, Nadine and her team create unique, seasonal desserts to compliment each restaurant’s unique identity and cuisine.