Husband and wife team James and Julie Petrakis grew up in Winter Park, Florida, but they didn’t actually meet until they both The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Both chefs would eventually be drawn back to their hometown, but not immediately. James’ resume includes stints in Orlando, New York, and Atlanta. Upon graduation he worked at the California Grill, moving to New York to open Atelier at The Ritz Carlton. It was there, under Chef Gabriel Kruether, James found his desire to push toward culinary excellent. Making his way closer to home, James joined the opening team of the Ritz Carlton, Orlando, followed by opening the Seasons 52 concept for Chef Cliford Pleau. James then went on to open Luma on Park; there, his experience as Sous Chef under Chef Brandon McGlammery helped shape his passion for cooking with great ingredients and classic techniques.
After graduation, Julie Petrakis expanded her culinary skills at restaurants in Atlanta, New York and Orlando. While at the CIA, she worked as a line cook at Tribeca Grill in New York City and spent her externship at Atlanta’s Bacchanalia. It was there she truly fell in love with clean, simple, seasonal flavors and local products. Returning to join James in Manhattan, she worked as saucier at The Waldorf-Astoria while staging at several local restaurants, including Union Square Café and Union Pacific. After the couple was engaged, they decided to move home. Were Julie helped open a restaurant at the JW Marriott in Orlando. As a sous chef for Chef Melissa Kelly and Chef Kathleen Blake Julie expanded her passion for working with organic, seasonal ingredients. Julie left Primo to help open Orlando-based fast-casual Greens & Grille with her brother-in-law. She then went on to join her husband at Luma restaurant where she was the pastry chef for a year, until they found the location for their restaurant, The Ravenous Pig.
Now open for over four years, The Ravenous Pig is a culmination of The Petrakis’ dreams. Dedicated to a menu of local, seasonal, daily-changing flavors and a solid in-house charcuterie program, The Ravenous Pig has already garnered the duo scores of accolades, including “Best New Restaurant,” “Best of the Best,” “Best Beer Selection,” and “Best Kept Secret” from Orland Magazine. By this point, the secret’s out—Ravenous Pig was featured in Saveur Magazine’s Top 100 issue, and the Petrakises recently received James Beard Foundation Award nominations for the third year in a row. A second operation, the restaurant/craft brewery hybrid Cask & Larder, is garnering even more attention for the ambitious chefs and establishing them as dedicated hometown heroes.