Executive Chef Robert Astraikis
To say that Executive Chef Robert Astraikis has come full circle during his 27 years in the culinary field is an understatement! He has held top positions such as executive chef, food and beverage director, corporate regional chef and more at a variety of restaurants, private clubs and resorts all over the Southeast experiencing several cooking styles, methods and cuisines. His wealth of knowledge and experience is a tremendous asset in his role as Executive Chef here at the award winning, four diamond Marina Inn at Grande Dunes!
Chef Astraikis, a New York native, discovered his passion for cooking from his mother who taught him his way around the kitchen! With her influence, he developed a passion for cooking that lead him to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY where he earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts. Immediately following graduation, Chef Astraikis began working and honing his culinary skills at the exclusive Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, NC. Here he took on various roles while under the mentorship of Executive Chef Kevin Caulfield. Chef Astraikis earned the role of Executive Chef the final four years of his tenure there.
Interested in learning more about the independent restaurant business model, Chef Astraikis ventured into the local restaurant scene as Corporate Chef for the Circa Restaurant Group for four years. Located in Wilmington, NC, he was the Executive Chef at Circa 1922 - one of Wilmington, NC’s most historic and sought after restaurants as well as Max’s Steakhouse - a traditional steak house inspired by steak houses of Chicago and New York. The Circa Restaurant Group portfolio also includes Boca Bay Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar and Osteria Cicchetti Seafood Restaurant, one of Wilmington’s premier Italian Restaurants where Chef Astraikis served in various capacities.
When the prestigious Troon Golf, the world’s largest golf management company with over 300 golf clubs and 150 award winning restaurants located at prestigious golf resorts and private clubs came calling, Chef Astraikis could not contain his desire to branch out into various capacities of the food and beverage industry while honing his skills with several different cuisines. Here he took on the role as Director of Food & Beverage at the 6,000 acre St. James Plantation, located in historic Southport, NC. Home to more than 6,000 property owners, Chef Astraikis managed four separate clubhouses including the Reserve Club, The Founders Club, the Members Club, the Players Club as well as the more casual Harborside Marketplace on the Marina. Chef Astrakis’ seven year tenure there was multi-faceted and fast paced where he & his culinary team created new menus every three months for each club. He opened Reserve Club at St. James Plantation where he had the creative freedom to develop an Italian themed menu while starting the monthly St. James Plantation Wine Club featuring educational tastings and wine pairing dinners. And if that were not enough to take on, he also served as Troon Golf’s Corporate Regional Chef assisting Troon Golf’s restaurants across the country assisting in several capacities.
Chef Astraikis time with Troon Golf was a tremendous learning experience however his desire to get back to a slower pace took him to Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Located in Wrightsville Beach, NC, he was Director of Food & Beverage for four years overseeing all food and beverage venues of the resort including two bars, group catering and the award winning EAST Oceanfront Dining. Not your typical hotel restaurant, EAST Oceanfront Dining focuses on innovative cooking through the talents of Executive Chef Jessica Cabo while utilizing seafood and products from local purveyors and produce from the resort’s garden. Chef Cabo is quite the celebrity chef – taking 3rd place as a contestant on season one of Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Astraikis enjoyed his time at Blockade Runner Resort Beach Resort where he collaborated with Chef Cabo producing fresh, new menus every two months.
However, after three successful, productive years at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort - he was anxious to return to his creative culinary roots so he and his family are happy to settle here in Myrtle Beach, SC as Executive Chef at the award winning, four diamond Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, SC. Be sure to visit WaterScapes Restaurant at the Marina Inn for a rewarding culinary experience from Chef Astraikis and the team!
Get to Know Chef Astraikis!
With all of this experience, what is your cooking style and your favorite cuisine?
“I love looking mostly Italian food and fresh seafood. The flavors of Southern Europe, South America and Asia are my favorite overall with cilantro, garlic and chili peppers being my ‘go to’ flavors.”
Who Influenced You to Become a Chef?
“My mom is a great cook and I learned to love cooking from her.”
Tell us about Your Cooking Style and How You evolved into this Style: “Italian/Southern European with a love of Indian and Hispanic flavors.”
What are the Top Five Ingredients the you must have in the Kitchen at all times?
“Chili peppers, garlic, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme”
What is your own personal favorite Meal to Prepare?
“Chicken Tikka Masala”