Our Culinary Journey
Lifelong Passion for Food
Chef Dan Thompson began his culinary journey in 2003, working all the way up from dishwasher in catering, building upon his experience to land several other catering positions while always excelling and learning from the Chefs and moving into higher positions and then into leadership roles. Wanting to expand upon his knowledge and experience, Dan pursued positions in restaurants.
He earned his first restaurant position as a prep cook at Carluccio’s (formerly Liberace’s) Tivoli Gardens Italian Restaurant. Dan quickly advanced at Carluccio’s and became a line cook beginning on the fryer and hot appetizer station. As a result of his work ethic and passion for learning, Dan became proficient on every station at Carluccio’s in less than a year. Having come to the decision that the culinary field suited him well, and that it would be a good career prospect, Dan began enrolling in Culinary Arts classes at the College of Southern Nevada. He excelled in the program and received high praise from Chef Instructors who also held high positions in restaurants on and off the strip. Dan set his career sites on achieving the position and title of Executive Chef and asked for advice from his mentor chefs on how best to achieve his goals. He was advised by his mentor chefs to acquire his Culinary Arts Degree.
Dan enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at Le Cordon Bleu in 2008, which at the time was under the strict curriculum guidelines of the original Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program in Paris, France. While maintaining his full-time position at Carluccio’s, Dan committed himself to the 40 additional hours per week of classes, made his way through the program and achieved the honor roll. It was during his time at Le Cordon Bleu that Dan would meet his next mentor at a job fair on campus, Chef William Pfersching, Executive Chef at Red Rock Country Club.
After hearing Chef William speak about his experience as a Country Club Chef, Dan decided it was a good fit for him given the experience he had acquired up to that point. He visited the job placement office on campus and asked to get an interview with Chef William. After several attempts, the job placement office informed Dan that there were no available positions with Chef William and Red Rock Country Club. Undeterred by this and determined to get his foot in the door, Dan went to Red Rock Country Club, found Chef William’s office, and knocked on the door. Dan explained to Chef William that he believed that his career path was to become a country club chef, and he would appreciate the opportunity to have William mentor him and help him achieve his goal. William explained that there were no positions available at the time, although he appreciated Dan’s persistence and passion. Not willing to take no for an answer, Dan asked William if he could come in and help the culinary team without pay in order to learn what he could and get his foot in the door. Chef William accepted Dan’s offer.
Still working at Carluccio’s full time, and attending classes 40 hours per week, Dan managed to put in an additional 25 hours per week with William and his team. Summer came, and a position opened at the pool; not exactly the most glamorous of positions, but William offered it to Dan. It was a paid position with no guarantees of being retained after the season ended but seeing it as an opportunity to earn his place and prove himself, Dan took it. The conditions were difficult: summer in Las Vegas, outside at the pool in a small enclosed kitchen where the air conditioning could not keep up with the heat from the equipment in the confined space. However, it was a good opportunity to run his own operation and show management skills. As the end of summer approached, Dan learned of an available position in the clubhouse. Although there were others in William’s kitchen that had more experience and seniority than Dan, he went up to Chef William’s office once again, knocked on the door and said, “I want a shot at this position.”
William appreciated Dan’s passion, but told him he didn’t think he was ready. Dan persuaded Chef William that he’d make up for his lack of experience with effort and ended up proving himself within two weeks in his new position at Red Rock Country Club as Lead Line Cook, Dinner Shift, Sautee and Broiler for the private fine dining room in the clubhouse. However, the Chef also hired someone else at the same time, stoking Dan’s competitive spirit. Refusing to fail, and preventing the competition from taking his place, Dan was awarded the position that would change his life forever.
While Dan was the Lead line cook at Red Rock Country Club, Dan met Brandi, who was working the same shift as a server in the private dining room. They had good chemistry and often found ways to make each other laugh even when things got tough. They became friends and from time to time at the end of her shift Dan would surprise Brandi with her favorite dish of seared diver scallops with lemon butter sauce.
In two years’ time, Dan improved the quality of the food at Red Rock Country Club and created original dishes that the club members raved about to Chef William. He also repeatedly broke long-standing club records for volume and sales during his dinner shift.
In 2009, Dan graduated in the top 2% of his graduating class at Le Cordon Blue with honors and received his Culinary Arts Diploma and Associates Degree in Occupational Science. Soon after graduating, Dan was offered an Assistant Chef Position at Red Rock’s Sister Club, Siena Golf Club. In less than a year he was promoted to Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Department Head at Siena where he continued to improve the menus and increase volume and revenue in both the Bistro & in Banquets and Catering.
In 2015, Dan was recruited to join a new Executive Chef at Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton). Dan accepted an Assistant Chef Position under the new Chef who had gathered some of the best and most talented young Chefs from all over Las Vegas to help him make Westgate a food destination for both locals and tourists. Dan proved to be an asset by assisting other Chefs in every restaurant in the hotel, quickly earning him a promotion to Executive Chef of the Fresh Buffet at Westgate.
While Dan was working to achieve his goals, Brandi had also been promoted several times at Red Rock Country Club. She took a position at Los Prados Country Club as Food and Beverage Manager and Catering Director. Dan and Brandi began dating in 2012 and were married on February 18, 2017. They shared the common goal of someday having their own restaurant and knew with their combined knowledge and experience, they had what it took to be successful.
While Dan remained at Westgate, Brandi moved on to another opportunity at Divine Events, where she thrived. In the Spring of 2018, Dan and Brandi were presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. Dan’s brother Donny, who had maintained a banking relationship with Peggy and Piero Broglia for nearly 18 years, approached Dan and Brandi with the prospect of purchasing Café Chloe from the Broglias who were ready to retire. The two couples were able to agree on terms. Chef Dan parted ways with Westgate in May of 2018 and began to work with Chef Piero to learn and continue to produce his legendary Italian cuisine so that the achievements and following that Piero and Peggy had established over their long and illustrious career in Las Vegas would live on.
Dan and Brandi Thompson purchased Café Chloe and began to live their dream on November 1, 2018. They are continuing to offer Chef Piero’s classic recipes and are introducing great new dishes from Chef Dan’s traditional family recipes and dishes he has created over the course of his career.
Each dish we create for you at D’Agostino’s is a lovingly made expression paying tribute to Chef Piero Broglia as well as some of the traditional family recipes passed down over generations in the D’Agostino family which we are thrilled to share with you.
About our Family
Here’s little about our where we came from:
Dan is the great grandson of Giovanni and Santa D’Agostino. His grandfather, Dominic D’Agostino, was the second born of their eight children. Dominic and Pauline (Rosa) D’Agostino gave birth to their first daughter, Margaret (Peggy) Anne D’Agostino, who met Don K. Thompson while singing in the choir at Kearny High School in San Diego, CA in 1957. They were married June 16, 1962 and had three children. Don Joseph, Dina Marie, and Dan Matthew Thompson. They moved to Las Vegas in 1980 and have been immersed in the community ever since.
Giovanni D’Agostino was born on October 14, 1882 to Giuseppe D’Agostino and Domenica Sacca. They lived in Orti, Calabria in the Commune di Reggio di Calabria. Orti is a small town high in the mountains overlooking the “toe” of Italy where the three seas meet – The Tyrrhenian, the Ionian, and the Mediterranean. The vistas are spectacular no matter which direction one looks – the landscape of Calabria, the eastern portion of Sicily, or the seas.
In search of a better life, Giovanni D’Agostino came to America at the age of 20 on March 11, 1903. He settled in Canandaigua, New York. He worked as a landscaper for the Thompson family, a prominent New York family who devoted themselves to many philanthropic endeavors including founding FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua. Giovanni worked as a landscaper at the Thompson mansion (Sonnenberg Gardens) where he designed and cultivated the Italian Rose Gardens. Today, the 50 acre Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion is a New York State Historic Park and listed in the US Register of Historic Places. There, you can still see many of the gardens that Giovanni cultivated.
He married Santa Muscato, also from Orti on December 3, 1907. Together, they had eight children:
Giovanni D’Agostino became a United States Citizen on May 23, 1921. Santa and Giovanni worked hard to put family first. The family has remained close and still carry on many of the Italian traditions that Giovanni and Santa brought with them from Italy, including hosting friends and family with delicious and satisfying Italian dinners. We look forward to serving you at D’Agostino’s Trattoria.