Meet the man behind one of the world’s most successful restaurant empires


If you’re even remotely interested in quality cuisine, you’re well aware of Daniel Boulud. The chef has amassed a whopping 11 James Beard awards during his legendary career. He currently holds four Michelin stars. But far less familiar to these same gourmands is the name Sebastien Silvestri. As CEO of The Dinex Group (founded by Boulud back in 1992), he is instrumental in the day-to-day operation of a restaurant empire that now includes 18 venues—including nine in New York, alone.
Sebastien Silvestri (left) stands next to superstar chef Daniel Boulud. THE DINEX GROUP

A native of France, Sebastien Silvestri has been working in food and beverage since the age of 16. Though he started his career in Paris, he has taken on leadership roles at esteemed eateries from London to Los Angeles.

In 2019 he moved to New York, assuming his current role. And the measured expansion of The Dinex Group has accelerated significantly since his arrival.

Just look at the group’s footprint at One Vanderbilt, as a case in point. Though the 73-story skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan only opened in late 2020, Boulud concepts currently occupy five separate levels of the building.

There’s the elegant, Michelin-starred Le Pavillon on the ground floor, a sushi speakeasy called Joji, and the members-only Centurion New York, suspended high amidst the skyline. A total of four venues, all overseen nightly by Silvestri.

He’s not just spending a ton of time in elevators, however. Bouncing around from venue to venue across the city ensures that he’s also racking up a ton of Uber points.

We caught up with the hustling tastemaker for a recent interview in his adoptive home. Read on to learn more about his journey with chef Boulud and what’s next for one of the biggest brands in fine dining.

Sebastien Silvestri (left) with chef Daniel Boulud at Michelin star Le Pavillon in New York. @EUNJIPAULAKIM @TOUCHWITHYOUREYE

When did you first meet chef Daniel? Is there a specific anecdote you remember about your first encounter or your first few times getting to know one another?

Sebastien Silvestri: “I have known Daniel for almost 15 years, as we met back when I was vice president of food and beverage at The Venetian and The Palazzo Casino Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, and he was in town for an event. What I remembered from meeting Daniel was his high energy, joie de vivre and passion for the hospitality.”

What inspires you the most about working with him? What do you think makes him so successful?

SS: “Daniel is really a perfectionist, and this extends to every aspect of what he does. It’s so inspiring to see him out in our restaurants, where he is almost every night – he’s doing everything from checking in on the kitchen, cooking, to greeting guests, making sure service is smooth, and also bringing his positive energy to the whole place. He really takes the time to talk to people, and whether it’s old friends or people he has just met, once they are in his restaurants they are part of the family. It’s an enormous commitment, and he works harder than anyone I know. But at the same time, he loves what he does, and that always shows through.”

What, in your opinion, is the single biggest key to success in the food and beverage industry?

SS: “I believe that both hard work and passion are necessary to be successful in this industry, or any industry. Maybe this one more than most, because it is not easy, but if you are as passionate about it as I am, it is a real pleasure to work in hospitality. We are here to make every guests’ experience a special one and provide happiness and joy, and that’s a great thing to do in life. It’s also important to work with the best – I’m fortunate to work with Daniel Boulud, and also with our incredible team worldwide. Making restaurants work is a huge team effort, which has to be restarted every single day, so it really requires a commitment to excellence from every team member. We are so lucky to have that at Dinex.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 07: Chef Daniel Boulud and Martha Stewart celebrate the opening of Centurion New York, the new ultra-luxurious destination designed for Centurion Card Members, at a private dining event on March 07, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for American Express ) GETTY IMAGES FOR AMERICAN EXPRESS

Tell us about your work at One Vanderbilt. What is it like having all of those high end properties in one single building?

SS: “One Vanderbilt is extraordinary. I’m not sure if there has ever been such a concentration of exceptional restaurants in one building in New York City. We are thrilled to be a part of it. Each of our restaurants there, whether Le Pavillon, Jōji, or Centurion NY, has to stand on its own and earn its own reputation as a stellar fine-dining destination, which is a big ask. But it makes it slightly easier for us that they are all in one location, which also happens to be very central, and minutes away from my office! Daniel or I can be at One Vanderbilt during both lunch and dinner service without a problem, and check in on three restaurants at the same time. I often pick up my lunch from Jōji Box or Epicerie Boulud there, too.”

What are you most proud of during your time at Dinex?

SS: “I am most proud of all our recent openings, especially because they cover such a wide spectrum of restaurants, yet all at the top of their game. From Breakfast at Tiffany at Blue Box Café in the Tiffany Landmark, to the sushi omakase at Jōji, to the traditional Lyonnaise cuisine at Le Gratin, we are bringing very special, very unique experiences to our guests at each location. Something like Centurion is very international, while the newly re-opened Café Boulud NY has a unique take on French cuisine. It’s a challenge to open such a wide range of restaurants, and have them all be so successful, so I do take pride in that.”

Do you have a personal favorite property in the restaurant group? And why?

SS: “Restaurant Daniel is a very special place, a 30-year-old institution, our flagship restaurant that continues to inspire me every time I visit or dine. We have an incredible team, some of whom have been with Daniel for over 20 years! The dining experience is just so special and the attention that our team gives to our guests is incredible. I don’t know of any other place in New York that can provide such excellent classic and traditional French cuisine in such grand setting.”

What’s next—anything in the near future that you can reveal or hint at?

SS: “Yes, we are looking forward to the imminent opening of Café Boulud LA, with even more Café Boulud locations to follow around the globe. Café Boulud is a brand that I see expanding significantly over the next few years, it’s a strong, iconic brand that can adapt and become unique to each city. We are also looking forward to opening our very first Steakhouse at One Madison later this year.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 14: The One Vanderbilt building is seen from Madison Avenue on September 14, 2020 in New York City. The One Vanderbilt building, the second-tallest New York City office building, opens up amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when many city employees are working from home. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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