Chef Profile

Pano Karatassos

Pano Karatassos
Executive Chef

A pioneer of Atlanta’s prominent dining scene, Pano I. Karatassos is executive chef of Kyma, corporate executive chef for Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, and author of Modern Greek Cooking, Greek-inspired cookbook. With more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality business, Karatassos’ decorated career has shaped him into celebrated talent in the culinary industry.

Karatassos grew up in the kitchen – from watching and listening to his Yiayia (grandmother) work magic with Greek recipes, to cooking in his father’s celebrated Atlanta restaurants as a teenager. From his experience at Pano’s & Paul’s Restaurant to the Fish Market at Lenox Square and 103 West, Karatassos learned the basic fundamentals of cooking at a young age. His passion for food led him to graduate with a degree in hospitality management from Florida International University in 1993, followed by formal chef training at the renowned Culinary Institute of America. Following his studies, Karatassos started his career under the tutelage of three of America’s best chefs including Thomas Keller at Michelin three-star restaurant, The French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley,  Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The New York Times four-star reviewed Jean-Georges in New York City and Eric Ripert at Michelin three-star restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City. After honing his skills in these prestigious kitchens, Karatassos’ culinary journey came full circle when he returned to his fine-dining roots in Atlanta working for the iconic culinary company founded by his father, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group.

In December 2001, Karatassos and his family opened Kyma, an upscale Greek restaurant featuring contemporary and traditional Greek food, with special emphasis on seafood from the Aegean Sea. In a short time, Karatassos’ cooking garnered much national attention for the restaurant, including being named one of John Mariani’s choice of  “Top 20 Restaurants In The Country” by Esquire Magazine in 2002, in addition to coverage in Food & Wine, Food Arts, Gourmet, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Nation’s Restaurant News, Cooking Light and In Style. Locally, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured Kyma in its top 10 Best Restaurants List three years in a row and recognized the restaurant with a four-star review. Internationally, Kyma received praised from noted Greek author, celebrated food critic and television host, Diane Kochilas, in Greek publications including Ta Nea, Odyssey, Vogue Greece, and Keresma.

Fast-forward 17 years later, recognition continues to grow for Karatassos’ modern take on Greek cuisine – a combination of respect for his intense French training while staying true to his roots and authenticity of Greece. In addition to his role as Kyma’s executive chef, Karatassos is also Corporate Executive Chef for Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which has also expanded into South Florida with restaurants in Boca Raton, Miami Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Karatassos put his passion to pen and paper with his inaugural hardcover cookbook,  dedicated to authentic and approachable Greek cooking.  This gorgeous 100-recipe culinary work of art features a special wine section developed by his cousin Sofia Perpera, one of the world’s leading authorities on Greek wines, and breathtaking photography by highly acclaimed food and art photographer Francesco Tonelli.

Recent Awards

  • “Top 25 Restaurants in Atlanta” Atlanta Business Chronicle (2016)
  • Chef Pano Karatassos #Reader’s Choice: Best Chef in Atlanta” by The Atlantan (2016)
  • “100 Hottest Restaurants” Jezebel (2016)
  • “8 Best Greek Restaurants in the Country” TableLob (2016)
  • “Reader’s Choice: Best Chef in Atlanta” The Atlantan (2015)
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Restaurant Description

Kyma is a contemporary seafood tavern with an inventive yet approachable menu that is true to its Mediterranean origins. The dazzling constellation display on the deep blue ceiling, white marble columns, and bold fresh fish display are dramatic yet suiting for the modern Greek dining experience. Our menus offer pristine seafood that is delivered and prepared every day. The food menus are paired with an extensive wine, cocktail and ouzo list. Fresh, healthy food (including full vegetarian and vegan menus), attentive Mediterranean hospitality and festive atmosphere await at Kyma. We are currently open for dine-in, take away, curbside pick-up and delivery, so feel free to call us or order online!