Born in South Africa to Greek parents, Aristotle Ragavelas studied in London and completed the two-year City & Guilds Cookery and Catering course, doing in-house training at the Savoy Hotel later working at the London Marriott on Grosvenor Square and the Rembrandt Hotel in South Kensington.
He further honed his culinary skills in Greece, where in the winter months he was the Head Chef at the Elatos Resort & Hotel Spa in the Greek Alps and in the summer months he was Executive Chef at the Kivotos Club Hotel, a small Luxury Hotel of the World in Mykonos. He also worked at the Michelin-starred restaurant Spondi in Athens with acclaimed American Chef Ari Tsanaklidi.
After deciding to move to Johannesburg, Aristotle started working for Ben Filmalter at Olives & Origanum and also doing stints at his acclaimed Linger Longer restaurant and later opening @Odds Café in Killarney Mall.
He then went into partnership at Anno Domini in Parkhurst for 4 years receiving 5*chef awards for 2004 and 2005 from Wine Magazine and a host of other awards that have recognized his creative talent and marvellous dedication to his craft.
Byzance was his first owned restaurant and it was a lifelong ambition for Aristotle and lifelong partner/wife Ludmila, who created and conceptualised the Byzantine theme and giving birth to our dream place which we had for eight memorable years.
Thanks to his Greek upbringing and love of Mediterranean
food & cultures, customers would experience dazzling selection/ combinations of flavours that he had brought to Byzance from Greek, Turkish, Italian, Moroccan cuisines and even using classical French techniques in which he was trained. For a real taste of Byzance, Aristotle’s “Chef’s table” was a hit with his client’s, as he used to conjure up an array of Mezze or Tapas without anyone knowing what to expect.
Next port of call was Ragafellow’s in Cape Town he opened Ragafellow’s with brother and partner Spiro Ragavelas (hence the name of the restaurant) and it serves up signature gourmet burgers, snacks and other Mediterranean inspired dishes.
On a chance meeting with Ed Saunders, owner of both Fork and Knife restaurants, they got on really well and formed a good friendship. In February 2015, Ed asked Aristotle to join him in becoming Executive Chef for both restaurants and be involved in the development of the group and help grow them into a multi brand company.