I recently got to catch up with Executive Chef at The Da Vinci Hotel and Suites, Sylvester Nair – and find out a bit about his background and what makes him tick!
Sylvester grew up in Verulam on the North Coast of Durban, and his earliest cooking memories are making scrambled eggs in the kitchen at home when he was about 9 years old. His dad, and his grandmother, were also chef’s and it seems these skills have been passed down the generations of the Nair family!
Seeing his son’s blossoming passion, his father took him to work in the hotel kitchen’s along side him, and possibly what may have been an effort to “show him the tough side” of the industry, only helped to fuel the flames of the burgeoning passion in a young Sylvester.
He attributes his trends and flair to his family, harking back to those days in the kitchen.
Moving to to Cape Town in 2008 to study, saw the young Sylvester eager to make his mark on the industry. Once he graduated he went straight to work with Chris Erasmus at Ginger and after that spent time under the guidance of Leon Coetzee at Five Flies. It is here that Sylvester learnt to work under pressure, churning out hundreds of covers every evening – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sylvester moved back to Durban to take up a position as executive chef, and one of the pinnacle points of his career came in the offer of the position he currently holds at The Da Vinci Hotel and Suites in Sandton.
When he is not whipping up yummy food, Sylvester loves to drive fast cars, and watch EFC. He is also passionate about fashion and spending time with people and those he loves.
“Every day I speak through my food and that makes people happy” he says with a smile, and ultimately as a chef what more could you ask for.
For more info about The Da Vinci Hotel and Suites and The Maximillien Restaurant click here