Throughout a career spanning 30 years, Geoffrey Zakarian has made his mark as a chef restaurateur known for his sophisticated taste and signature style. An accomplished chef, host and culinary consultant, Zakarian has presided over some of the country’s top kitchens, traveling the world for new inspiration to marry with his classical training and techniques in a lifelong effort to deliver paramount hospitality experiences.
Zakarian's rise to culinary prominence began at Le Cirque, where he first worked in a professional kitchen. In five years, he worked his way up from Pastry Sous to 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, before opening the Blue Door at the Delano Hotel in Miami in 1995. In 1997, Zakarian became Executive Chef of Patroon.
In 2001, Zakarian opened his first restaurant, Town, to which he brought his culinary and decorative vision to life. Both Patroon and Town were awarded Three Stars from The New York Times. Zakarian next opened Country, a restaurant that paired his passion for food and wine with his innate sense of hospitality, grace and old world elegance. Country was awarded a Michelin Star 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.
In the Fall of 2010, Zakarian opened both The Lambs Club, at The Chatwal Hotel, reimagining midtown Manhattan dining, and The National, at The Benjamin Hotel in New York City, putting the beloved Ugly Burger on the map. In June 2011, Zakarian returned to Florida to open Tudor House at Dream South Beach, a neighborhood Gastro-Cafe rated as 2012’s Best Hotel Restaurant in Miami.
In May 2013, Zakarian partnered with Norwegian Cruise Lines in a three-restaurant deal aboard their vessels, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway and that same year, Zakarian was brought on by the iconic Plaza Hotel to redesign and reconcept The Palm Court.
In February 2017, Zakarian launched one of his most exciting projects yet, Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL, a Coastal American restaurant complete with an impressive raw bar, along with a cheeky quick-serve coffee and juice bar called Counter Point that anchors the hotel lobby.
Outside of the kitchen, Zakarian is an accomplished author, philanthropist and notable television personality. In 2006, Clarkson Potter published his debut book, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country, which was named Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review and was celebrated as “...one of the best cookbooks of 2006.” His second cookbook, My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients hit shelves on October 7, 2014. He also assumed the role of Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council, a food rescue organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City. Together with his wife, Margaret, Zakarian launched a line of kitchen products called Pro For Home, which apply professional kitchen expertise to create tools and cookware for home kitchens. The line currently includes a sous vide circulator, crepe maker, grater, food storage containers and revolutionary non-stick cast iron cookware. Also in the retail arena, Zakarian has a line of food products, Zakarian Collection, that offers premier ingredients and distinct flavors to a home cook.
In addition to his status as a longtime favorite judge on Food Network’s Chopped, and as an Iron Chef, Zakarian is a co-host on Food Network’s Emmy-nominated daytime series, The Kitchen, which premiered in January 2014. Zakarian also hosts Sirius XM Radio’s Food Talk, which premiered at the 2013 South Beach Wine and Food Festival and is broadcasted annually from the various food festivals in America.
Fashion, design, media and the arts are also valuable sources of inspiration for the chef. “Food goes through similar style cycles and redefinitions as in these other industries. You need to know that landscape to understand how to achieve something timeless.” He 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. “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.”