Ike Koutrakos – Chef/Owner
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Culinarians are often surprised by the boundless energy of Executive Chef Ike Koutrakos. This self-motivated and accomplished chef has launched an impressive career at many of the great hotels and restaurants of America. Attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY at the age of only 17 allowed Ike the opportunity to study and appreciate the school’s classic French technique. He was bound for success from the starting block and has amazed family, friends, and patrons ever since.
Ike began cooking in his family’s kitchen and found love immediately. His culinary career commenced in high school at a family establishment. While attending the prestigious CIA, Ike completed an externship at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. This AAA Five Diamond award-winning hotel was the first link in a strong and bold chain. Directly following graduation, Ike was hired at Restaurant Daniel in New York City. Ike tirelessly worked and constantly learned at this world-renowned establishment. Soon after his time at the award-winning Daniel, Ike was lured to Atlanta, Georgia where he served under “Best Chef in the Southeast” Guenter Seeger. At this Mobil Travel Guide Five Star restaurant, Ike began to spread his wings. Here, his passion for the freshest, highest quality ingredients flourished.
Ike eventually returned to his home in the northeast. He enjoyed a position at the historic Bayard’s in downtown New York. At this landmark restaurant, Ike further elevated his skills under the famed LuTece Chef, Eberhard Mueller. Using only the freshest products from Mueller’s farm on Long Island, Ike continued his commitment to using only the highest-quality ingredients. Ike next took a position as Banquet Chef at the prestigious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Battery Park City. Opening this hotel was a unique and special experience. During his tenure, the hotel won accolades and was rated highest in guest satisfaction among luxury hotels by JD Power and Associates. Ike was recognized for his passionate creativity and ability and later became Executive Sous Chef of this AAA Five Diamond hotel. Ike was acknowledged several times by both his peers and employees while in this position. Ike was honored as a New York City Big Apple Stars Finalist. At his own hotel, this culinary talent was named Manager of the Quarter and eventually Leader of the Year. He was one of the youngest employees in the company to receive such high praise and accolades.
After such a fabulous experience, Ike took over at the Knowles family’s Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, New Jersey. There, his desire to take on new challenges and commitment to constantly elevating standards was recognized by many throughout the state. During his tenure at the Pleasantdale Chateau, Ike hosted James Beard Dinner Invitational’s and proudly become the culinary coordinator for the Creative Heartwork Organization’s “Dinner of Hope”. His tempting dishes won first place at various culinary competitions.
Ike’s desire to get back into Manhattan led him to the famed Hotel Plaza Atheneé as Executive Chef. Overseeing all culinary operations of this luxury boutique hotel satisfied his appetite for a challenge. Arabelle, the hotel’s restaurant, showcased Ike’s high-end eclectic cuisine. Ike found infinite enjoyment in creating a seasonal menu highlighting organic produce and products offered by local farms. After enjoying his time at the hotel, Ike has since moved on to become the Events Chef for an Executive Dining Division for one of the world’s elite financial institutions. Working in the corporate sector is what has allowed Chef Ike to branch out and create Cooking In Your Kitchen as a truly distinctive culinary experience. Ike resides in Bergen County, NJ with his family and is continuously striving to provide his clients with delicious, contemporary cuisine presented in original and breathtaking styles.