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Meet the Denis Brothers

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Sylvain Denis

General Manager & Co-Owner

First love: architecture. Second love: wine. Fortunately for us they come together at Le Mistral, where guests enjoy Sylvain’s design influence and the restaurant’s sophisticated French atmosphere, along with one of the most outstanding collections of French wines in Houston.

Like most kids fresh out of college, Sylvain marched off to that first job, ready to work toward a successful career in construction and civil engineering. Sure, the world needs those folks, but it needs to eat well and savor wine first. Coming to terms with those priorities, Sylvain surrendered to the seduction of food and wine. Training, hard work and more training — and of course the requisite “sacrifice” on the Côte d’Azur — ultimately earned Sylvain the prized position of sommelier.

When brother David pitched the idea of Le Mistral in Houston, Sylvain waved goodbye to the French Riviera and relocated to the Texas Gulf Coast. Houstonians have welcomed him, his expertise and marvelous wine list with open arms. And what a list, indeed! Châteaux from the well-known regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy are complemented by a wide variety of wines from all over the world. Sylvain caters to the wine connoisseur, as well as the wannabes, and is available most nights to help patrons with their selection.

Ready for a real treat? Each month, Sylvain and Chef David showcase their combined talents with wine dinners, highlighting specially-selected vintages that exquisitely complement four- and five-course meals. Join us sometime soon and you’ll see what a treat it is!

David Denis

Chef & Co-Owner

Food. It’s been the central ingredient in Chef David’s life from the beginning, fueling his passion for creating and cooking. At the ripe old age of 17, he finished his first French culinary school, and continued with more culinary education while juggling nights and weekend work at a local four-star inn.

A glamorous gig soon came calling and David found himself training at a glitzy hotel in Cannes. Ah, the Côte d’Azur. Such sacrifices an aspiring chef must make! And it paid off. At a mere 20 years old, David became head chef at a notable restaurant in the French Alps where he was the one-man wonder preparing food and managing the establishment’s finances. 

More opportunity came knocking, this time in Switzerland. It was an interesting arrangement. Nine months of consecutive work (due to Swiss work rules) and seasonal work in St. Tropez. Yes, it was the lure of the Côte d’Azur once again. There were big celebrity names — the likes of Gloria Estefan, Sylvester Stallone, Tina Turner and the L’Oreal family — all of whom hired David as a private chef.

Gaining an admirable reputation, David attracted the interest of a prominent Houston family who also wanted his talent in their kitchen. For five years, David created banquets and private parties at the family’s homes around the world. He learned to adapt his recipes to different ingredients available in each exotic locale, while meeting the family’s special requests.

Eager to share his knowledge and talent, David went back to school, this time as an instructor at the Alain and Marie LeNôtre Culinary Institute in Houston. A year later, he opened Le Mistral, offering some of his students real-life, hands-on opportunities. He’s been a perpetually busy guy ever since, cooking and consulting for upscale Houston restaurants, co-owning Foody’s Gourmet French Bakery and the eclectic Artisans Cuisine & Savoir-Faire, as well as collaborating on recipes and contributions for two books. No doubt the upcoming chapters of David’s future will promise to be just as fascinating. Stay tuned!

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