Philippe Massoud, CEO & Executive Chef
CEO and Chef, Philippe Massoud’s mission is simple: revive an ancient cuisine, re-invent it, and bring the concept to a public who, for the most part, has never experienced it as it should be.
The worsening political situation in Beirut prompted his parents to send him to the United States in 1985 to attend high school. After high school, he enrolled in Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management and finished his Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Development degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
In 2007 Philippe opened ilili, a 300-seat restaurant in New York City’s then struggling Flatiron District. Some considered his gamble on the area risky, but Philippe had faith in the neighborhood and in the power of his cuisine to draw a crowd. In 2013 Philippe opened ilili Box, a pop fast casual concept inspired by ilili’s success. ilili Box won Best NYC Falafel in 2014, and is the third successful brand launched by Philippe.
In the more than eight years since opening, ilili’s mezza style dining has proven to be a success, drawing in crowds night after night and playing a major part in the rebirth of the Flatiron as a foodie destination. As the restaurant's executive chef, CEO and owner, Philippe is responsible for the entire business, while he oversees operations with his brother/co-owner, Alexander.
Alex Massoud, CFO
Alex pursued an electrical and computer engineering degree at the University of Colorado and went on to successfully conceptualize and develop electronic design automation software in California. Following a move to New York, he worked in a boutique investment firm and later founded Locus Capital Management, managing an offshore hedge fund.
Together, Philippe and Alex embarked upon their journey of opening ilili Restaurant, bringing authentic Lebanese hospitality and cuisine to New York.
In 2013, they openined a pop up fast food concept called ilili BOX in the Flatiron District, as well as ilili BOX at CityKitchen in ROW Hotel NYC in 2015.
Britta Priest, General Manager
From a small town just outside of Boston, Ms. Priest grew up in a family passionate about food. Months leading up to the holiday season, her father would scour through cookbooks to plan the perfect meal for the family.
Ms. Priest got her first taste of the NYC restaurant business at the age of 18 as a hostess on the upper west side, working for BRGuest. Through this experience, she realized her passion for hospitality and management. That passion took her on a journey for another ten years before landing at ilili Restaurant.
Britta Priest joined ilili Restaurant in 2012 and has embraced the culture and values on which the Massoud's have built their business: Welcome your guests as if they were joining you at the table in your own home and your generosity will go a long way.
Daniel Dorado, Chef de Cuisine
Daniel Dorado developed a penchant for the culinary arts at a young age. He first learned about cooking from his grandmother--never leaving her side in the kitchen of his family's Mexican-American restaurant in Los Angeles.Mr. Dorado traveled east to study at Villanova University, but quickly gravitated towards the restaurants of downtown Philadelphia. Following his passion, Mr. Dorado opened Asia de Cuba in the illustrious Mondrian Hotel Los Angeles and went on to cook in a plethora of notable restaurants throughout New York City.
Upon meeting with Philippe Massoud, CEO of ilili Restaurant, Mr. Dorado found his philosophy to be in alignment with Philippe's pioneering vision of excellence with an emphasis on fostering a supportive and collaborative environment, in which employees can thrive and innovate. In March of 2014, Mr. Dorado joined ilili as the Chef de Cuisine and is thrilled to be a part of the ilili team.