After a decade in Las Vegas—working first with MGM Resorts International and most recently serving as the vice president of food and beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo—the city bids adieu to Sebastien Silvestri. The executive has decamped to Miami to serve as senior vice president of food and beverage for hospitality behemoth sbe (in addition to operating the SLS Hotels, sbe’s portfolio includes Morgan’s Hotel Group and many other culinary, hotel and nightlife brands). Vegas Seven caught up with Silvestri to reflect on his tenure in the desert.
As a fixture in Las Vegas’ culinary landscape, your departure must be a bit bittersweet.
My 10 years with The Venetian have been amazing, and I’ve loved it. The people that I work for were great and very supportive. It’s just after 10 years, I was ready for something else. When I found out about this opportunity [with sbe], I knew I really wanted to do it. I am excited to have the chance to meet new people, and I really enjoyed [meeting their team]; so I decided to make the move.
What are some of your favorite Las Vegas memories?
I was very, very proud and honored to work with Mario [Batali], Emeril [Lagasse], Daniel [Boulud] and Thomas [Keller]. Those are the [chefs] I was really close to. With Mario, we opened new restaurants. With Emeril, we did some extraordinary things, too. With Thomas and Daniel, we created Ultimo, and we were able to contribute to Ment’or (mentorbkb.org, a nonprofit that seeks to inspire culinary excellence in America) and saw the U.S. win gold [at Bocuse d’Or] for the first time in Lyon, France this year. Ultimo was the last thing I did back in December, and that was really special. The team of people I’ve worked with were amazing: Olivier [Dubreuil] and Philippa [Fryman]. I think if we’ve been successful, it’s because of the team.
What are some things you will miss most about Las Vegas, culinarily speaking?
I’m going to give you one that I was not responsible for. I love Le Cirque at Bellagio, because after so many years, they still have the same people who work there, and they are so good at what they do. I love the way that they take care of you, as well as the experience. Every time I had something really special, that’s where I would go eat. At the The Venetian/Palazzo, I love Cut. I think Cut is an amazing steakhouse. Probably one of the best in the country. SUSHISAMBA is where we had some of the fun nights.
My time here has flown by. It’s just insane. I remember when we opened [Restaurant Charlie], and I had some of the best meals at Bar Charlie. Charlie Trotter was the one who got me into sake. I remember we were doing the tasting menu in Bar Charlie, and it’s probably one of the finest dining experiences I ever had. You would start the meal and have a cocktail, then a glass of wine, and you’d have a sake and a beer. The pairing was just so diverse. Daniel [Boulud], I love him dearly. He’s now one of my greatest friends, and I’ve loved working with him. His energy, his dynamic. Thomas [Keller] has been the same thing. Great, very supportive. It’s been a fun ride.
What is the best-kept secret at The Venetian/Palazzo?
Still, 10 years later, I think Bouchon is it. It’s a bit of a hike but very much worth it.