ChEf Sylva Senat

One of Philadelphia’s most celebrated executive chefs, Chef Sylva Senat had an illustrious rise to success at Buddakan in New York and Philadelphia. A French-speaking Haitian native with Manhattan fine-dining sensibilities, Senat is a kitchen-trained chef who learned from some of the absolute best. His latest project is Maison208, which opened in Washington Square this year.

His culinary journey started at The Sign of The Dove in New York City, where he got his early training with Chef Andrew D’Amico. When the restaurant closed in 1998, Richard Grausman, founder of C-CAP Foundation, introduced him to Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit where he worked for three years.

Philadelphia Magazine: Sylva Senat, Philly's Best Under-the-Radar Chef

It was while working with Marcus that Sylva exposed his palate to exotic flavors and ingredients. It was also at this time that he met Sandra, the woman who would eventually become his wife and mother of their daughter, Yuki. While visiting Japan with Sandra, another new passion and cuisine were introduced to him. Having learned all he could at Aquavit, Marcus introduced Sylva to Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the Trump Hotel Central Park where he worked for three years before becoming Jean-Georges’ Sous Chef. He then moved on to become co-chef de cuisine at Jean-Georges’ 66 Leonard Street and Mercer Kitchen.

A year at the trendy Stephen Starr restaurant, Buddakan in New York, taught Sylva new Asian techniques and flavors. That same year, Sylva entered the Daniel Boulud / C-CAP scholarship competition and won an all-expenses-paid trip to France and the opportunity to study at the famed Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon.

From France, Sylva was engaged to open the Koco Restaurant, running his own kitchen at the El San Juan Resort & Casino, where he stayed for two years.

Returning home, Sylva was snapped up by Buddakan in Philadelphia, where he started to make a name for himself. After two years he was asked by the Indian restaurant entrepreneur Munish Narula to become the Executive Chef of Tashan, a new modern Indian restaurant. While Tashan was being built, Sylva worked with well-known Indian chefs in London to add new techniques and flavors to his repertoire.

Chef Sylva mentors young students from a program called Career through Culinary Arts, where he also holds a seat on the alumni board.

Philly Pours is September 22 at The Fretz Showroom in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 4050 S. 26th Street, Philadelphia PA, 19112. Please bring ID. Doors open 6 PM

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