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.
David is currently a partner in Cafe Clover, The Skylark, JIMMY at the James and of course, The Lambs Club, having been in the restaurant and nightlife industry for over 20 years. David was a partner in the nightclub and restaurant Lotus, which in many ways pioneered (along with Pastis) the development of The Meatpacking District. He co-founded The Double Seven in the same neighborhood, and 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 took over the food and beverage operations at The Plaza Hotel, including a complete renovation of the iconic Palm Court in 2014. In June of 2016, Margaret and Geoffrey opened two concepts, Georgie and The Garden Bar, within Montage Beverly Hills.
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.
Executive Pastry chef
Johana Langi, Executive Pastry Chef of The Lambs Club, has worked all over New York pastry kitchens for the last six years. A graduate of Baruch College with a degree in English Literature, Art History and Sociology, Johana discovered a love of pastry while exploring the city’s bakeries and restaurants on her days off.
Johana made the decision to turn her love of pastry into a career by studying under the talented people she aspired to emulate, beginning with Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller. Under the Pastry and Sous Chefs, she quickly learned the fundamental skills required of a Pastry Chef, and was ready to take on additional responsibility.
Over the next two years, she would work her way up through Ciano and the famed Eleven Madison Park. In 2012, Johana joined The Lambs Club as an integral party of the Pastry Team, working on special projects like special order cakes, private dining and pop-up events.
From 2013 to 2016, Johana worked as a Pastry Chef for Heidi, Saul Restaurant at the Brooklyn Museum, Barclays Bank Executive Dining Room and Junoon Restaurant. She took a lead in developing and standardizing recipes, creating desserts, menu writing, and managing a staff of pastry cooks. She returned to The Lambs Club in September 2016 as Executive Pastry Chef, managing every aspect of the pastry department and expanding and creating new programs.
In her free time, she enjoys reading books, practicing food photography for her blog, and shopping at vintage stores.
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.