Chef Geoffrey Zakarian
Geoffrey Zakarian's taste, style and passion for fine cuisine have defined his storied career as an accomplished chef that has presided over some of the country's top kitchens. In a never ending quest to deliver paramount hospitality experiences, Zakarian travels the world for new inspiration to marry with his classical training and techniques.
EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF
As Executive Pastry Chef of The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, Jana Kern-Mireles creates uniquely approachable desserts influenced by the market and seasons. Kern-Mireles was reunited with The Lambs Club’s Executive Chef Galen Zamarra in September 2018, after working together at critically acclaimed restaurant Mas (farmhouse) for over 5 years. Chef/Partner Geoffrey Zakarian graciously explains, “She has a distinct ability to coax rich flavors from traditional pastry ingredients while giving them a modern lift and keeping the taste light and clean on the palate.” Kern-Mireles’ vision for the new pastry program at the restaurant is to execute a menu that combines a modern spin on classic dishes and flavor combinations. She has a passion for traveling around the world and finds inspiration from her favorite cities including Paris, Hanoi, Manila and London.
Jay Poblador, a New York restaurant industry professional for over two decades, brings his signature sense of hospitality to The Lambs Club. As General Manager of this Manhattan gem, he oversees a dining experience that embraces guests morning through night giving them a sense of ease and respite from the hustle and bustle of midtown. Poblador delivers his tremendous fine dining luxury experience with an approachable grace that has endeared guests throughout his career. Longtime friend and collegue, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has teamed up with Poblador on many projects. “Working with Jay is not only an inspiring delight, but as we have worked together for so long, it is an automatic extension of my vision of the guest experience. He takes my direction and augments it to be better.”
A.J. Ojeda-Pons oversees the continuously growing, award-winning wine program for Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurants. A.J. can often be found in the dining room, providing his expert recommendations and enthusiastically serving guests. His passion for his craft is contagious to diners, fellow colleagues and wine enthusiasts alike. Continuously educating himself and seeking out unique selections, A.J. brings a wealth of knowledge and style to all he serves.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and surrounded by parents who loved exploring wines and fine dining, A.J. took a strong interest in the industry at a young age. A.J. currently holds the Advanced Sommelier title from the Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is an avid member of the Guild of Sommeliers, participating in many tastings and seminars throughout the year. When he is not at the restaurant, A.J. is traveling to wine regions throughout the world, extending and advancing his knowledge of the craft.
A.J. has curated wine lists in some of the best restaurants in New York, Connecticut and Los Angeles, and recently earned The Lambs Club the prestigious Two Glass award from Wine Spectator Magazine, as well as Three Stars on the World’s Best Wine List from esteemed publication, The World of Fine Wine.
David Rabin has been in the restaurant and nightlife industry for over 25+ years. In addition to The Lambs Club, David is currently a partner in Cafe Clover, The Skylark, JIMMY at the James. At the beginning of his career, David was a partner at Rex and Union Bar in NYC, VBar in Las Vegas and Manhattan Express, the first "Wester" supper club in Moscow. Pioneering the meatpacking district, David opened Lotus, a legendary restaurant and nightclub, and cocktail bar The Double Seven. In 2015, David became the bar and nightlife consultant for The Venetian Las Vegas, where he has been instrumental in the creation of three new venues: The Dorsey, Rosina and Electra.
David entered the hospitality field after several years as an attorney, having attended Columbia Law School and Tufts University. He served as President of the NY Nightlife Association for 9 years (now NYCHA) and was the Founder and President of the Meatpacking District Initiative for 6 years. (now MPIA). He now serves on the executive board of The Times Square Alliance, and recently resigned from the board of NY Cares after 23 years of service.
As President of Zakarian Hospitality LLC, Margaret Zakarian has played an integral part in building the Zakarian brand. After graduating from New York University, her first foray into the world of restaurants was with the group that created Republic, Indochine, Bond St., Thom Bar, and A60 at the 60 Thompson Hotel. From there she became the Director of Marketing for Lotus, the famed restaurant and nightclub that started it all in the Meatpacking District. While at Lotus, Margaret played an integral role in launching the Meatpacking District Initiative and was a key force behind the marketing concept for The Double Seven, a high-end cocktail bar also located in Meatpacking.
In 2005, Margaret married Geoffrey Zakarian, and together they introduced the critically-acclaimed restaurant Country, earning 3 Stars from The New York Times and a Michelin Star. From there, they went on to open The Lambs Club and The National in New York in 2010 Together, they also crafted the food and beverage program at The Water Club at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and reimagined the food, design and bar at the iconic Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel in 2014. Expanding to Florida in 2016, they opened two concepts in The Diplomat Beach Resort in Ft Lauderdale: Point Royal, a coastal American restaurant, and Counter Point, a lively quick serve coffee cafe.
Outside of the restaurants, Margaret has developed and launched a kitchenwares product line titled, Zakarian Pro For Home, which brings pro chef efficiencies to the home kitchen with innovative cook ware and tools, as well as a line of food products title, Zakarian Collection, including beef, poultry, coffee, tea, olive oil, baked items and other pantry staples.
Margaret’s eye for detail and design, combined with Geoffrey’s classical culinary technique, lends their company, Zakarian Hospitality, its unique advantage when it comes to all their endeavors. In design builds, Margaret works with laser focus to tie the entire guest experience together from graphic design, restaurant layout, tabletop items, staff flow and, most importantly, outward messaging of the brand through strategic partnerships and interesting purveyors. Geoffrey and Margaret often remind each other “It’s 20% about the food and 80% about everything else.” Margaret’s marketing savvy and ability to keep her “finger on the pulse” of the food world’s rapidly-evolving landscape has allowed their brand to remain relevant yet classic. "It is crucial that we retain integrity and authenticity as we grow," says Margaret. "The customer experience is always at the forefront of what we are planning and doing."
Today, Margaret lives in New York and sits on the board of the Young President’s Organization (YPO Metro). She is also a member of City Harvest’s Food Council.