Young Vegas Chefs Prove That Taste and Age are Unrelated

Jamiee Pepe and Steve Young.
(Roger Bennett Photography, Westgate Casino Resort)

In a city where star power propels celebrity chef-helmed restaurants, it seems like there is little room for the little guy. But two young chefs are bringing a refreshing food philosophy to a pair of excellently reviewed Las Vegas steakhouses. Here, a look at the culinary cultures of Steve Young of Edge Steakhouse at Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, and Jaimee Pepe of Twin Creeks Steakhouse at Silverton Casino Hotel.

It’s still rare to find a woman running a top steakhouse, espe-cially one as young as Jaimee Pepe, 34, executive room chef of Silverton Hotel and Casino’s lauded Twin Creeks Steakhouse.

Pepe, from New Jersey, started cooking Italian with her mother and grandmother. She took culinary classes while working at a local pizzeria, sub shop and coffee house. Initially attending UNLV for hospitality management, the allure of the kitchen proved too much. Her degree in culinary arts included interning at Restaurant Charlie in the Palazzo.

Pepe returned to the East Coast, ascending to sous chef at the Standard Grill in just three years. Returning to Vegas, she helped open Giada at The Cromwell Hotel and was quickly promoted to executive sous chef.

Twin Creeks Steakhouse marked Pepe’s first executive chef position, where she could finally fully flex her creative mus-cles. Her menu places traditional steakhouse fare alongside lighter dishes like plant-based and gluten-free options.

“I truly believe the perfect dish is always evolving and hasn’t really been created yet,” Pepe told Authority Magazine earlier this year. “There is always something that can be done differently.”

In his mid-30s, Edge Steakhouse chef de cuisine Steve Young boasts a resume that reads like a life’s work. Having worked in kitchens since age 14, his diverse experience belies his youth, but his culinary passion is something that comes naturally.

Also inspired by his mother and grandmother’s Italian cooking and also from New Jersey, Young honed his craft at New York’s Culinary Institute of America. Following sous-chef stints, he came to Las Vegas in 2008.

Young worked under Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, then opened the Cosmopolitan’s lauded Wicked Spoon Buffet before becoming chef de cuisine for its Pool District and The Henry.

Launching a Vegas version of Park City, Utah’s near-leg-endary Edge Steakhouse required raising the bar. The famously methodical Young took it in stride, blending American steakhouse classics with personalized touches and the time needed to perfect the entrees and appetizers.

“If you don’t have technique, you dish will never be good,” Young told Las Vegas Magazine last year.

After being named Best New Chef/Rising Star at the 2017 Silver State Awards, Young was featured in Las Vegas Sun’s 2018 “40 under 40" influential Las Vegans.

-Paul Rogers, Custom Publishing Writer