George Pagonis

George Pagonis Executive chef/partner at Kapnos, Kapnos Taverna, and Kapnos Kouzina

George PagonisGeorge Pagonis is executive chef and partner at Mike Isabella’s regional Greek restaurants, Kapnos, Kapnos Taverna and Kapnos Kouzina. Washington D.C.’s Kapnos put mainland Greek cuisine, including daily whole animal roasting, on the map in the nation’s capital when it opened in 2013. Kapnos Taverna expanded the brand to Arlington, VA, and added a maritime flair to the menu with dishes exploring the cuisine of the islands and coastal regions of the Aegean. Pagonis opened Kapnos Kouzina, a home-style take on the Kapnos concept, with Isabella in spring 2016.

Outside the kitchen, Pagonis was a finalist on Season 12 of Bravo’s Top Chef. He was recognized as Rising Culinary Star of the Year at the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2015 RAMMY Awards.

Before opening Kapnos, Pagonis served as chef de cuisine at Mike Isabella’s Italian-inspired flagship, Graffiato, also in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Graffiato, Chef George cooked at Aureole in New York under Christophe Bellanca and Marcus Ware. Before that, the fluent Greek-speaker worked at Jose Andres’ Zaytinya, where he first cooked under Mike Isabella. His first tour of duty in a fine dining kitchen was at New York’s Le Cirque. Chef George attended the University of Mary Washington and though he followed that up with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, he first earned his kitchen stripes at The Four Seasons, an Alexandria, VA Greek diner owned by his father.

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2017 Recipes