Interview with Natalia Silvester
Natalia Silvester is the founder of the family-run hospitality business, Silvester Group in Guernsey. Among its ventures are the bistro and patisserie Crepe Maison, the gourmet kebab shop Love Shack, the catering service Alfresco, Waffle & Co. and Renoir Tea Garden. 

Natalia, who is Polish-born, came to Guernsey at the age of 19 to work in the hospitality sector. At the age of 26, she decided to pursue her own business and offer Guernsey something new.

In our conversation with Natalia, we learned more about her dining concepts, her insights into the hospitality industry in Guernsey, and her favorite spots on the island to relax.

Natalia, what inspired you to start your own company at the age of 26, and what was the vision behind it?

I believe life is movement and I love to challenge myself. I always have had a little dream of having my own restaurant, since the age of 14, I worked in restaurant to pay for my boarding school back in Poland. Guernsey was supposed to be my „gap year” and it became my home.

What are some of the unique services or concepts your company offers that weren’t previously available in Guernsey?

I try to make them all unique. My passion and love is creating and making things happen. Improving and understanding demographic. The offerings are custom and I could possibly put my mind to anything that inspires me or feel like a good fit.

Est 2016 Catch Bistro and Bar ( sold in 2021)

Est 2019 Waffle and Co

Est 2018 Love Shack

Est 2023 Renoir Tea Garden

Est 2020/2021 Crêpe Maison was inspired by France. I have taken the lease on during the first year of pandemic, trusting my instincts “They go low we go high“ and invested every single penny and brought streets of Paris to Guernsey during the time travel was pretty impossible. More to come in 2024!

Moving to Guernsey at 19 must have been a big decision. Can you share the motivations behind your move and some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first arrived?

Live your dreams. Loads of challenges, these do not go away – what changes is the way you handle them and do not allow to slow you down. Don’t let others’ limitations dictate your own.

Can you provide insights on how the hospitality industry in Guernsey has evolved since you started, and where you see it heading in the future?

I trust in Guernsey, you really need to know what you doing. I don’t trust restaurants which are run from office desks. Get your hands dirty. Be mindful. I do not wear crown. I do any job I would ask my staff members to do. I really can’t handle entitlement and attitude 🙈 I can see more restaurants owners are present and chains of soulless establishment hopefully will be history one day!

What aspects of the hospitality industry do you love the most, and what keeps you passionate about it?

You can always make it better. My day is resolving issues and improvement.

Natalia Silvester with her team

Natalia Silvester with her team

How do you stay inspired and keep your ideas fresh in such a dynamic and demanding industry?

ADHD is my super power. My mind does not stop and my work is my best medicine.

Please can you describe your typical working day?

Never the same. I would sporadically be in one or the other location. Fill the gaps where I’m needed. My phone is always on.

Where do you go in Guernsey when you need to unwind?

I enjoy long walks to help my mind process things. I love St Martins, Moulin Huet, and gin & tonic 🙈

What are some of your favourite meals to eat or cook?

I go though stages of being obsessed with one specific dish for months at the time and I move to next. Simple, fresh and sustainable. Seasonality is the key. Strawberries are meant to be eaten in the summertime, and root vegetables during the winter.

What are the future plans for your company and any new projects or concepts you’re excited about? Additionally, do you have any plans to introduce Polish food to the island?

I think there is room for more of niche offerings. I believe strong focused concepts are most successful. It’s all about location and market. I am currently working on exciting project…

Natalia Silvester

Photo credit: Natalia Silvester

Natalia is currently rebranding Love Shack, which will focus on Lebanese cuisine—fresh, colorful, and authentic. To learn more, keep an eye on the Silvester Group website.