Photo: Trevor Smith

A New York Story

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 techinques.

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.”

Timeline

1982
Begins Career at Le Cirque. Develops technical foundation under French master chef Alain Sailhac.
1987
Rises to first Executive Chef position at the legendary “21” Club.
1988
Hired by hotel impresario Jeffrey Chodorow to be Executive Chef of 44 at the Royalton Hotel. 44 becomes an icon of 80's chic and heralds a new era of glamor in hotel restaurants.
1995
Opens the Blue Door at The Delano Hotel, Miami, one of South Beach's first boutique hotels. Blue Door becomes an instant hit and a symbol of South Beach's late 90's revitalization.
1997
Executive Chef at Patroon, NY. Awarded Three Stars by The New York Times.
2001
Opens first restaurant, TOWN, to critical acclaim and a Three Star review by The New York Times.
2005
Opens Country. Awarded Three Stars by New York Times, making Geoffrey the first NY chef to receive 3 straight Three Star reviews.
2006
Debut book, Town/Country published by Clarkson Potter. Earns “Editor's Choice” and is described as “…one of the best of the year” by New York Times food editor Amanda Hesser.
2010
Opens third restaurant, The Lambs Club at the Chatwal Hotel in New York. Described in the New York Times as “…an amazing collection of flavors and textures that is worth traveling some distance to try.”
2010
Opens The National at The Benjamin Hotel in New York. Named to the “Sifty 50” – New York Times food critic Sam Sifton's list of top restaurants.
2011
Opens Tudor House in Miami. “Chef Zakarian's fare is exceptional” raves Miami's The Sun Post. Awarded 3.5 stars by the Miami Herald.
2011
Wins the 4th season of Food Network's The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs to become the newest Iron Chef to battle in Kitchen Stadium.
2013
Launches Ocean Blue, The Raw Bar and Ocean Blue on the Waterfront on Norwegian Breakaway, the largest luxury vessel to port in New York City.
2014
Assumes Role as Chairman of the food rescue organization City Harvest to lead its Food Council in fighting hunger in NYC.
2014
Boards the Norwegian Getaway for her Caribbean Inaugural Sailing in February.

Experience

44 at Royalton
Blue Door at Delano
Country
Patroon
The Lambs Club
The National Bar & Dining Rooms
The Water Club
TOWN
Tudor House

Recognition

  • Iron Chef
  • Wine Enthusiast “Top 100 Wine Lists” for The Lambs Club
  • James Beard Award for “Chopped”
  • “Sifty 50” for The National
  • Awarded Michelin Star for Country
  • 3 Star Rating by NY Times for Patroon, Town and Country