Chef Geoffrey Zakarian
Throughout a career spanning 30 years, Geoffrey Zakarian has made his mark as a chef restaurateur known for his sophisticated taste and signature style. An accomplished chef, host and culinary consultant, Zakarian has presided over some of the country’s top kitchens, traveling the world for new inspiration to marry with his classical training and techniques in a lifelong effort to deliver paramount hospitality experiences.
Zakarian's rise to culinary prominence began at Le Cirque, where he first worked in a professional kitchen. In five years, he worked his way up from Pastry Sous to Chef to Chef de Cuisine under Chef Alain Sailhac. During these formative years, Zakarian staged at places such as Arpège and Au Quai des Ormes in Paris, Auberge de l'Ill in Alsace, The Dorchester in London, Le Chantecler with Jacques Maximin in Nice, and Pierre Orsay in Lyon. In 1987, Zakarian took his first turn as Executive Chef at the legendary 21Club. In 1988, he became the Executive Chef of 44 at the Royalton Hotel, before opening the Blue Door at the Delano Hotel in Miami in 1995. In 1997, Zakarian became Executive Chef of Patroon.
In 2001, Zakarian opened his first restaurant, Town, to which he brought his culinary and decorative vision to life. Both Patroon and Town were awarded Three Stars from The New York Times. Zakarian next opened Country, a restaurant that paired his passion for food and wine with his innate sense of hospitality, grace and old world elegance. Country was awarded a Michelin Star along with Three Stars from The New York Times. In 2007, Zakarian signed on to conceptualize and oversee the entire food and beverage program at The Water Club at Borgata, in Atlantic City.
In the Fall of 2010, Zakarian opened both The Lambs Club, at The Chatwal Hotel and The National, at The Benjamin Hotel in New York City. In June 2011, Zakarian returned to Florida to open Tudor House at Dream South Beach, a neighborhood Gastro-Cafe rated as 2012’s Best Hotel Restaurant in Miami.
In May 2013, Zakarian partnered with Norwegian Cruise Lines in a three-restaurant deal aboard their vessels, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. On board, Zakarian oversees Ocean Blue, The Raw Bar, and Ocean Blue on the Waterfront. The same year, Zakarian was named Culinary Director at The Plaza and will reimagine the iconic hotel’s The Palm Court, The Oak Room, The Oak Bar, The Rose Club, The Champagne Bar and In-Room Dining. The Palm Court relaunched in October 2014, offering breakfast and afternoon tea. Evening cocktails and light fare will debut in November 2014.
Outside of the kitchen, Zakarian is an accomplished author, philanthropist and notable television personality. In 2006, Clarkson Potter published his debut book, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country, which was named Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review and was celebrated as “...one of the best cookbooks of 2006.” His second cookbook, My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients hit shelves on October 7, 2014. He also assumed the role of Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council this year, a food rescue organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City.
Already established as America’s favorite judge on Food Network’s Chopped, Zakarian won the 4th Season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs, earning him the title of Iron Chef. He is featured regularly on Iron Chef America, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Best Thing I Ever Made and judges the 5th Season of The Next Iron Chef. His newest Food Network series, The Kitchen, premiered in January 2014 and has already been celebrated for exceptionally high ratings. Alongside appearances on ABC’s The Chew and The Rachael Ray Show, CBS’ The Dish and NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Today shows, Geoffrey also hosts Sirius XM Radio’s, Food Talk, which premiered at the 2013 South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
Fashion, design, media and the arts are also valuable sources of inspiration for the chef. “Food goes through similar style trends and redefinitions as fashion. You need to know that landscape to understand how to achieve something timeless.” He credits his staying power with this quest for timelessness and an enduring love of restaurants. “I still dream of a small restaurant I visited in Provence decades ago that taught me the balance of simple flavors and the art of heartfelt hospitality,” he said. “Today, I dine out all the time, first because I love it, but secondly because, as a chef, you need to see restaurants from the dining room perspective, not just from the kitchen. You have to be vigilant about every facet of the meal.”