A journey from Shehzad to Sylvestre
Every Pakistani would love to know about their native who has fed his handmade cuisine to Actor Hugh Grant, rock star Paul McCartney, Vanessa Paradis, Johny Depp, Bill Gates and Russian president Vladimir Putin family. Playing in streets of Kohat, 9 years old Shahzad Wahid never knew that he will go abroad someday and master the art of French gastronomy.
Shehzad aka Sylvestre is a two star Michelin chef at France’s most celebrated restaurants, idyllic l’Oustau de Baumanière in the village of Les Baux de Provence, north of Marseille, France. Sylvestre has the credit of transforming l’Oustau de Baumanière, a restaurant which was patronized by the likes of Winston Churchill and Aga Khan. He was given the ownership of the traditional restaurant when it had lost a Michelin and people were worried whether the 20-30 years old highly professional team of 30 people will accept this new chef. Sylvestre was so charismatic with his brilliant skills that he earned an unique niche and restaurant again became a two -star.
Sylvestre was 9 years old when he came here with his three siblings and mother. His father Abdul Wahid was a French Foreign Legion when his rank raised he brought his family in France. It was 1984 when Sylvestre came here and became Sylvestre leaving Shahzad behind. His father was willing to change names according to the place.
Sylvestre at the age of 15 started cooking. He used to watch his father cooking in the mess, there he realized that food is his passion, his love and he would devote his life for food. He left school at 15 and went to refine his cooking talent under some of the most creative chefs Alain Ducasse and Thierry Marx in New York and Paris. There he mastered the catering of royalty and rock stars. This man by learning art of cooking from place to place finally reached his destination to serve A-list movie stars, millionaire entrepreneurs and world leaders.
The good thing to know is although, the maverick chef has not returned to Kohat since the family left Pakistan but still He feels strong Pakistani identity and wish to visit his roots one day. He has so far never cooked any Pakistani food but love Daal what his mother makes and will try the fusion of spices soon since he has given a good years of his life to French gastronomy.