Chef Pano and the extended Karatassos family on a recent summer visit to Greece.
Chef Pano, along with his three children and his mother, at the "broken dish" wall inside his restaurant Kyma.
Chef Pano I. Karatassos
Executive Chef Kyma and Corporate Executive Chef Buckhead Life Restaurant Group
As Executive Chef of Atlanta's acclaimed Kyma restaurant, Chef Pano I. Karatassos has redefined the taste, style and ingredients that comprise what he refers to as Modern Greek Cooking.
Today he is bringing this experience, passion and quest for the best to a new level, in the form of a cookbook, video series and a line of curated and imported products.
Pano grew up in the kitchen, watching and listening as his Yiayia (Grandmother) prepared traditional foods, and worked magic with traditional Greek ingredients like olives, olive oil and honey.--three tastes that are central to Greek culture and cooking.
In the 1980s and ’90s, Pano I. Karatassos watched his father, Pano Karatassos, founder and CEO of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, trail blaze the Atlanta culinary scene. The legendary restaurant Pano’s & Paul’s, then 103 West, Buckhead Diner, Chops, Pricci, Atlanta Fish Market, Lobster Bar. All restaurants synonymous with the best ingredients, highest quality service and attention to detail.
The younger Pano's culinary path really began when he was 16 years old and working in his father’s kitchens. It continued with formal schooling: a degree in hospitality management from Florida International University in 1993 and one from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1996.
It meant getting put to the test at renowned restaurants like the French Laundry, Jean-Georges and Le Bernardin under the eyes of some of the world’s most influential chefs: Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Eric Ripert, respectively.
In 2001, he opened the Greek restaurant Kyma, and continues to hold a leadership position as Corporate Executive Chef within the family-owned business that has since expanded south, into the Florida cities of Boca Raton, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
In late 2018, Chef Pano released his 1st cookbook, in collaboration with his cousin, Sophia Perpera, one of the world's leading authorities on Greek wines, with photography by acclaimed food photographer Francesco Tonelli. Longtime friend and mentor, Thomas Keller authored the book's forward.
Most recently, on August 1, 2019, Chef Pano competed on the Food Network's show, Beat Bobby Flay. Chef Pano prepared his Signature Dish, Lamb Pie and DEFEATED BOBBY FLAY!
"I joined the family business with the dream opportunity to combine my classic french training with the Greek foods and ingredients I grew up with and that are so important to me, my family and now all who I have had the honor to serve over the years at Kyma, at other restaurants in our group and at culinary events around the world. But most importantly, to my children and to the next generation of the Karatassos family. " --Pano