Meet Amelia Island’s 'Yaking Chef

March 16, 2021
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Meet chef Niko Anagnostou, the executive chef at the soon-to-open Courtyard by Marriott & SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Chef Niko has been in the food industry mosts of his life when he began helping his family with their restaurant operation and then afterwards in various other roles at other restaurant establishments. Chef's sister recognized his talents and secretly submitted an application on his behalf to the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School of which he was accepted and decided to take the path laid out before him.

Aside from his culinary talents, Chef Niko is an avid outdoorsman and is well-known around Amelia Island as "The 'Yaking Chef," a kayak fisherman that is! You can spot him paddling the marshes and catching noteworthy trophy fish when he is not working on his next culinary creation. He has been an islander for 14 years and has led many teams at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, as well as assisted with re-opening The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas Island property. Executive Chef Niko will now be opening the Courtyard-SpringHill Suites this spring. Some may wonder why he chose culinary over the great outdoors for his career choice. His answer, “It’s got to be that instant gratification that I get when I see someone trying a dish for the first time. They taste it, they savor it, and you can see how much they love it. People are different when they are around food, well good food. It makes them whole.”

The brand-new pool area at the dual hotel chain conveniently sits in the courtyard of the two hotels for easy access to all guests. There will be two fire pits and poolside lounge seating for all to soak up the sun and the energy that Amelia Island offers. In addition, guests will enjoy Tides Pool Bar & Grill whose name was chosen after the Director of Sales Katie Rogers, the hotel's General Manager, Olivia Hoblitt and Chef Niko met with local historian, Nick Deonas, who explained the history of the shrimping industry and Amelia Island's culinary legacy of shrimp and seafood. The menu will be comprised of southern inspired foods as well as Filipino dishes as a nod to his wife, Brandee, and Olivia. Chef Niko can't wait to showcase all his favorite foods that he knows will quickly become fan favorites.  
Fernandina Hot Chicken

A sizzling 6oz chicken breast marinated in buttermilk with chef's magic spice rub, fried golden brown and dipped into a chile oil with agave and served with house made pickles and chile spiced mayonnaise on a butter toasted brioche bun.


A Filipino spring roll. Inspired by Niko’s mother in law Letty and good friend (and boss) Olivia’s recipes. This dish is a mixture of beef, pork and specialty seasoned shredded vegetables. These delicious bites are hand rolled and fried to order until crispy, served with a garlic citrus soy sauce and sweet chili sauce.

Tuna Poke

A fresh Hawaiian Big Eye tuna with a nice twist of watermelon, radish, avocado, sprouts, and cucumber. All the above marinated in a garlic citrus soy sauce served in a coconut with crispy plantains!

Peanut Butter Bourbon Milk Shake
Blend of vanilla and peanut butter ice creams with Bullet Bourbon and peanut butter whiskey topped with crushed peanuts, vanilla whipped cream, and mouth-watering, hazelnut chocolate drizzle. 

Shrimp Boat Bloody
Chef Niko’s signature bloody Mary will surprise you with a southern flair. He has integrated the local distillery’s, Marlin and Barrel, Pepper Vodka, Zing Zing mix, horseradish, pickle juice, garnish with a poached shrimp, pickle and olive.

The Tides Pool Bar & Grill restaurant will be open for anyone to enjoy, not just hotel guests so stop by and try a dish or two and tell Chef Niko hello!

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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.