Chef Stefano Di Silvestre: An Inspirational Journey from a World-class Executive Chef
Italian-born chef Stefano di Silvestre cooks with inspiration from his authentic Italian upbringing. His impressive career spans 15 prolific years where he honed his culinary expertise through various international posts at some of the world’s most revered restaurants. Lucky for us, his passion for both travel and cooking recently brought him to the United States.
In 2018, he moved to Las Vegas, where he currently resides, to open the 200-seat Cipriani restaurant at the five-star Wynn Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The restaurant currently serves up to 600 diners per day, and Chef di Silvestre manages and mentors a team of 42 kitchen staff.
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We sat down with Chef to learn more about his impressive career and promising trajectory:
How did you get your start in the kitchen?
My passion for cooking began as a child, when I spent my days with my mother and grandmother preparing food and baking cakes. When I was 14, I started [studying at] the Filippo de Cecco culinary school in Pescara, Italy and started working at the same time. I began in a local restaurant and then slowly started moving and making my way up between all-inclusive, 5-star hotels, and Relais & Chateaux to become an executive chef for a worldwide company.
What inspires you and where do your ideas in the kitchen come from?
My preparation of dishes is ver y influenced by my origins. The region where I was born is very rich in natural products where agriculture follows seasonality and the livestock are still bred heritage-style. I am always striving to infuse my culinary memories into dishes to reproduce those smells and tastes I experienced as a child. I also count great international chefs like Massimo Bottura, Heinz Beck, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten as significant influences.
How did you land in a restaurant in Las Vegas?
I was looking for a new challenge and the company I work for happened to be searching for someone who would be able to take charge of this very significant project located in a city where gastronomy is very important, and the competition is fierce. Thankfully, my past training, work experiences, and abilities helped shape me into the ideal candidate.
Tell us about some of your favorite dishes and why.
My favorite dish is pasta. It is the dish that best represents my nation, along with pizza, of course. In a pasta dish, you can express your creativity with unique presentations that attract the customer at the mere sight of it. The combinations are endless, and the explosion of flavor is boundless. It is the dish that unifies people most. It doesn’t matter if they are royals or plebeian…no matter who you are, you can always enjoy a good dish of pasta.
Anything else you would like us to feature that we have not asked you yet?
My choice to become a chef comes from the desire to combine two great passions: cooking and traveling. I’m lucky enough to have known many places, and to have lived them. The great fortune of understanding and immersing in each unique culture has enriched my own cultural and professional background. I am so grateful to every place I have been and look forward to the places I will still go.
The kitchen and this profession can sometimes be very hard. There have been many tough moments — from working in extremely hot, cold, or humid environments, to always playing with fire, to endless hours of work, and always wanting to do better — but the goal is always to offer an unforgettable dining experience to anyone who gives me the opportunity to serve him or her.