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.
Zakarian's rise to culinary prominence began at Le Cirque, where he took his first job in a professional 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 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, ushering 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 transitioning landscape.
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 paired his passion for quality food and wine with his innate sense of distinguished hospitality, grace and old world 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 Water Club at Borgata, in Atlantic City. At this 700-room casino property, he brings his distinct sensibility to the room service, lounge, pool, spa and events menus and has earned much praise for his work of “raising the bar” in this storied 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 bistro meant for anytime, day or night. In June 2011, Zakarian returned to Florida to open Tudor House at Dream South Beach, a neighborhood Gastro-Cafe that was rated as 2012’s Best Hotel Restaurant in Miami.
Outside of his work in the kitchen, Zakarian is also an accomplished writer. In 2006, he penned his debut book, published by Clarkson Potter and aptly named, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country. Immediately, the cookbook earned Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review and was noted as “...one of the best cookbooks of 2006.” Zakarian’s second cookbook will be published by Clarkson Potter in Fall 2014.
Already established as America’s favorite judge on Food Network’s Chopped, Zakarian emerged victorious in the 4th Season of The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs earning the title Iron Chef. Currently, he is featured regularly on Iron Chef America, on both The Best Thing I Ever Ate and The Best Thing I Ever Made, and as a judge on the 5th Season of The Next Iron Chef.
For his next endeavor, Zakarian has partnered with Norwegian Cruise Lines in a three restaurant deal aboard their newest most luxurious ship, Norwegian 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".
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.” Zakarian 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. “Still 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.”
For more on Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, his restaurants and television shows, please visit: www.geoffreyzakarian.com