The Team





It was the love of bringing family and friends together around a home cooked meal that led Diego Coconati to co-found CREATE.

He fell in love with cooking as a young boy, watching his grandmother make ricotta gnocchi from scratch. Diego had a diverse childhood, filled with interesting cuisines, growing up in Argentina, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

His love for food was reaffirmed when he decided to pursue a career as a chef, attending the prestigious Johnson & Wales University, in Miami, Florida.

Diego’s style calls on his experience with tropical and Caribbean foods, with a healthy dose of Italian style. When he’s not in the kitchen, Diego enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, and the occasional pisco sour.




In Ras’ family, everyone cooks, and his hospitality education started at an early age. His father, Jose Manuel, armed with impeccable fire-starting skills, would man the grill, and his mother, Santa, would prepare intricate sides and traditional salsas. Weekends at home came with an open door policy, encouraging spontaneous neighborhood dinner parties. Their house was constantly filled with family, friends, food, and music.

In 2005, Ras left Texas to study Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. After spending a year in New England, Ras transferred to the Denver campus to finish his degree. After college Ras refined his style in fine dining restaurants around the city.

CREATE is the next step in Ras’ quest to bring people together with loved ones, and empower them to get in touch with their food. With CREATE, Ras hopes that he can share the hospitality he learned at an early age with the community he has grown to love in Colorado.


Nicole Swan

Chef Nicole grew up in Marlboro, NY and started her culinary journey at the young age of 13 at a local farm market called Overlook Farms in Newburgh, NY. Nicole learned how to bake, cook, and all around multitask until she was 17. Nicole then decided to pursue a career in Culinary Arts and went to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. While in school she completed a 4 month externship at the prestigious Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. After completing school, she then made way to Naples, Florida and worked for The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort. Since moving to Colorado in 2005, Nicole has worked for Sodexo at The University of Denver as their Pastry Chef and then as the Executive Catering Chef. She joined the team at Create Cooking School in early 2019.

In her free time Nicole enjoys spending time with her dogs, hiking, kayaking, and playing trumpet in a local ska/punk band Younger Than Neil.



Sean Clark

Chef Sean Clark was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He started cooking at the age of 15 and once he graduated high school he decided to begin his culinary career by studying at the Arizona Culinary Institute. Chef Sean has worked at various renowned restaurants including Eddie V's, The Capital Grille, and Christopher's.



Michelle Nguyen
Michelle Nguyen grew up as the youngest of four in Dallas, Texas to two immigrant parents from a tiny fishing town in Vietnam. She received a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Austin and moved to Denver, Colorado in 2017 to continue to grow her affinity for people. She loves creating intimate and engaging spaces that foster impressionable relationships. 
When Michelle is not at Create, she can be found playing with her three Corgis, searching for the best Matcha Latte, or exploring her new state. She is an open book so ask her anything!


Noe Valle

Chef Noe Valle is our super-friendly and helpful Steward. Noe was born in El Salvador and came to the United States with the dream of having better opportunities. He landed in San Francisco, California working in construction for a few years before moving to Denver with the aspirations of learning about the world of culinary and hospitality. That's why he chose to work at Create Cooking School.



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