5th Group Restaurants
Operating Partner, Director of Food & Beverage Standards - Fifth Group Restaurants
Growing up in a family that has valued hospitality for generations, Vajra Stratigos carries on the tradition today as the director of food and beverage standards and operating partner for Fifth Group Restaurants. Crucial to the company’s success since he joined the team in 2005, he serves as the director of food and beverage standards for all Fifth Group concepts, collaborating with the chefs and sommeliers on menu development, proprietary education programs and new concept design.
Stratigos’ culinary career began in one of his family’s restaurants in Bloomington, Ind. prior to attending Interlochen Arts Academy. Throughout the 1990s, Stratigos spent his time traveling across California as well as Italy and France where he honed his craft. It was during these travels that Stratigos reaffirmed his passion for food and discovered a newfound affinity for wine. While attending University in Boulder, Stratigos continued to work in various kitchens, assisting in the opening of several restaurants and an artisan bread bakery which was later bought by Whole Foods Market. After working in retail with Whole Foods, Vajra was recruited from Florida to Atlanta as a retail market consultant before joining Fifth Group Restaurants in 2005.
An accomplished sommelier, Stratigos has earned certification from the International Sommelier Guild, the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Society of Wine Educators and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He was honored with the People’s Choice Award at the High Museum Wine Auction’s “Oscars of Wine” and was crowned as one of the 2007 “Rising Star Sommelier” by Starchefs.com. Stratigos is also a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Specialty Coffee Association of America the Western Chefs Collaborative and the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Stratigos continues to travel for pleasure and his never-ending commitment to continuing his education, making multiple trips annually to food and beverage symposiums and conferences worldwide. Stratigos lives in Atlanta with his wife and three children.