C-CAP has helped many young teenagers forge successful culinary careers, including Sylva Senat. Sylva was born in Haiti and came to New York with his father, Jacques, in 1984. Settling in Brooklyn, Sylva attended John Dewey High School, where his culinary arts teacher, Reesa Levy, spotted his talent and entered him in the C-CAP competition.
It was there that Richard Grausman, Founder and Chairman of C-CAP, saw Sylva’s potential, and shortly after graduation introduced him to Sign of The Dove where he got his early training with the talented Chef Andrew d’Amico. When the restaurant closed in 1998, Richard introduced him to Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit where he worked for three years.
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 two-year-old daughter Isabelle Yuki. It was with Sandra that he first visited Japan, and another new passion and cuisine was introduced to him.
Having learned all he could at Aquavit, Marcus introduced Sylva to Jean-Georges at the Trump Hotel Central Park where he worked for three years before becoming Jean-Georges’s Sous Chef. He then moved on to being co-chef de cuisine at Jean-Georges’s 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 in the El San Juan Resort & Casino, where he stayed for two years learning how to run a kitchen of his own.
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.
Sylva has helped build the successful new Tashan restaurant in downtown Philly, where he also mentors Brianna Wellmon, last year’s winner of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) scholarship in Philadelphia. From student to teacher/mentor, this young man at the age of 34 now has the potential to create his own mark on the world’s culinary stage.