Chef Geoffrey Zakarian
Geoffrey Zakarian's taste, style and passion for fine cuisine have defined his career, which has spanned more than 20 years. An accomplished chef who has presided over some of the country's top kitchens, Zakarian travels the world on a never-ending quest for new ingredients, techniques and challenges to enhance the dining and hospitality experiences at his establishments.
Zakarian's rise to culinary prominence began at Le Cirque, where he took his first job in a kitchen. Over a period of 5 years, he worked his way up from Pastry Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine under Chef Alain Sailhac. During these formative years, Zakarian would travel and stage 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, restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow hired him to be the Executive Chef of 44 at the Royalton Hotel. Zakarian ushered in the era of the sexy hotel restaurant, turning 44 into an emblem of 1980's chic. In 1995, he opened the Blue Door at the Delano Hotel in Miami, helping to again successfully create a dining hot spot in a cultural mecca.
In 1997, Zakarian became Executive Chef of Patroon, re-enchanting its existing regulars as well as drawing a new clientele. In 2001, Zakarian added the title of owner to his résumé with the opening of his first restaurant Town, to which he brought his culinary and decorative vision to life. Both Patroon and Town were awarded Three Stars each from The New York Times. Following in the successful footsteps of Town, Zakarian opened Country, a restaurant that aptly showcased his passion for quality food and wine that was embued with his innate sense of distinguished hospitality, grace and elegance. Country was awarded a Michelin Star in its first year of operation 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 700-room hotel The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City. He brings his signature sense of hospitality to the room service, lounge, pool, spa and events menus and has earned much praise for his work “raising the bar” in this beach town.
In the Fall of 2010, Zakarian opened both The Lambs Club, at The Chatwal Hotel, featuring his signature Modern American cuisine in a resplendent Empire Deco setting, and The National, at The Benjamin Hotel, an American translation of the types of grand bistros that are found across Europe. In June 2011, Zakarian returned to Florida and opened Tudor House at Dream South Beach, a neighborhood Gastro-Cafe that was rated as 2012 Best Hotel Restaurant in Miami.
Outside of his work in the kitchen, Zakarian is also an accomplished writer. In 2006 he decided it was time to put his craft and techniques onto paper. His debut book, aptly named, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country, was published by Clarkson Potter. The cookbook has been chosen as an Editor's Choice by The New York Times “Book Review” and has been lauded as “…one of the best books of 2006,” by food critic Amanda Hesser.
Recently, Zakarian emerged victorious in the 4th Season of Food Network's The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs. He now appears regularly on Iron Chef America, demonstrating a razor-sharp knowledge of culinary techniques in this fast-paced cooking competition. When he's not battling in kitchen stadium, Zakarian stays busy filming CHOPPED, where he is featured as a recurring judge, and highlights his favorite dishes on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
For his next endeavour, Zakarian has partnered with Norwegian Cruise Lines in a three restaurant deal aboard their newest most luxurious ship, The Breakaway, that will set sail May 2013 and home port in New York City. On board, Zakarian will oversee Ocean Blue, a fine dining seafood concept, The Raw Bar, a walk-up bar featuring shellfish, crustaceans and wines by the glass and the more whimsical Ocean Blue on the Waterfront, serving up quick seaside favorites on Breakaway's "boardwalk".
Zakarian credits his staying power with a quest for timelessness and an enduring love of restaurants. “I still dream of techniques I can apply to pull intense and interesting flavors out of food,” he said. “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. As a chef, you have to be vigilant about every facet of the meal.” Fashion and design provide inspiration as well. He explains, “Food goes through similar style trends and redefinitions as fashion. You need to know that landscape to understand how to achieve something timeless.”