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.
David has been in the restaurant and nightlife industry for over 20 years. Most recently David has partnered in the opening of The Skylark in midtown, as well as the launch of Jimmy at the James Chicago. In 2010, in addition to the launch of The Lambs Club, David partnered in Jimmy at the James Hotel in Soho. Prior to that, he was a partner in the nightclub and restaurant Lotus, as well as The Double Seven. David was an original owner of Union Bar, which he and his partners sold in 2004. They also developed Vbar in Las Vegas and Manhattan Express (the first “Western” supper club in Moscow). David began his career at Rex, a small club and restaurant that in many ways was a predecessor to Lotus.
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 (6 years) of the Meatpacking District Initiative (now MPIA). He now serves on the executive board of The Times Square Alliance, and recently resigned from the board of NY Cares after 20 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 and Miami’s Tudor House in 2011. Most recently, they launched three fine dining seafood concepts, Ocean Blue, The Raw Bar and Ocean Blue on the Waterfront onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest luxury vessels, the Breakaway and Getaway. Together, they also crafted the food and beverage program at The Water Club at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and, most notably and recently, took over the food and beverage operations at The Plaza Hotel, including a complete renovation of the iconic Palm Court. Next up, Margaret will be working to redesign and relaunch The Oak Bar and The Oak Room, also inside The Plaza.
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 restaurants. 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, interesting purveyors and sometimes even the collaboration of fashion and costume designers to create unique looks for the team. 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 restaurant world’s rapidly-evolving trends 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.
Chef Eric Haugen, is the Executive Chef at The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel in New York City. Overseeing breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, Haugen brings his humble passion for quality ingredients and precise technique to Chef/Partner Geoffrey Zakarian’s Modern American menu.
Born in South Korea, Haugen was raised in suburban Chicago and studied at the College of Culinary Art at Johnson & Wales University. Graduating Suma Cum Laude and completing a fellowship at his Alma Mater, he headed to Napa Valley for an apprenticeship at The French Laundry.
Chef Björn Böttcher
Björn Böttcher, from Hamburg, Germany, has been appointed as Executive Pastry Chef at The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel in New York City. Training in Europe and working for 12 years in the United States, Boettcher has a distinct modern European vision resulting in simple elegance on the plate.
As his first foray into pastry, Böttcher signed himself up for a three-year apprenticeship in 1991 for a small family owned pastry shop in the heart of Hamburg, whereby repetition, hard work and routine, he came out the other side with an astounding technical foundation for baking and classical pastry composition. After winning and accepting a pastry position at the esteemed Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, he set his sights high working his way up to Demi Chef Pâtissier.
A.J. is the Wine Director at The Lambs Club, overseeing the continuously growing international wine program for Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant. A.J. can be seen making his rounds throughout the dining room enthusiastically serving guests and providing his expertise recommendations. A.J.’s passionate enthusiasm 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 raised by Spanish parents in New York City, A.J. Ojeda-Pons took a strong interest in wines at a young age. After composing and studying music in college, it was his exposure to fine dining restaurants in Manhattan that opened his mind to the world of wines. A.J has worked with some of the best restaurants in New York and recently earned The Lambs Club the prestigious Two Glass award from Wine Spectator, noting The Lambs Club as having one of the best wine lists in the United States. As well as Two Stars on the World’s Best Wine List from The World Of Fine Wine.