Rising Star Sommelier Vajra Stratigos of Fifth Group Restaurants - Biography

Atlanta , GA

November 2011

2007 Atlanta Rising Star Sommelier Vajra Stratigos is the multi-talented, multi-tasting beverage director for The Fifth Goup, an Atlanta restaurant group with five restaurant concepts around the city. Much of Stratigos’ experience comes from his family of Greco-Italian restaurateurs who put him to work at age 10; since then he has worked the back and front of the house at restaurants around Boulder, Colorado, trained with a pastry chef from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, worked with Bernard Lefoy of Il Fournil in France and Paolo Marccini in Avezzano, Italy. The "Daily Bread" bakery concept that he helped develop while in Boulder was ultimately purchased by Whole Foods Market, which led to a tenure as the head of the specialty department (wine, cheese, and specialty goods) for Whole Foods Market in Plantation, Florida.

Stratigos approaches wine from a practical, playful, interactive level. He takes a 360° view of the pairing process, taking every factor of the situation into account, and throwing fun elements into the mix – like small wooden coasters for the diner to take home, stamped with information about the wine that they held. Stratigos has completed level two of the sommelier certification program from the International Wine Guild, as well as an intermediate level wine certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and a Society of Wine Educators CSW certificate. He also designs the cocktail education programs for all Fifth Group restaurants and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.