After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Zakarian headed straight for the famed Le Cirque, where he knocked on the kitchen door to ask for a job, telling the executive chef he would work for free. He started the next day and worked his way up over 4 years to be Chef de Cuisine under Chef Alain Sailhac.
During these formative professional years and while the restaurant closed for summer break, Zakarian staged at places such as Au Quai des Ormes in Paris, Aubèrge de l’Ill in Alsace, The Dorchester in London, Le Chantecler with Jacques Maximin in Nice, and Pierre Orsay in Lyon. In 1987, Zakarian moved with Sailhac to the legendary 21 Club, and then two years later as executive chef, he opened 44 at The Royalton hotel with Ian Schrager, an instant hot spot.
This led him to a second project with Schrager - the Blue Door at the iconic Delano Hotel in Miami Beach in 1994, the hotel and restaurant that spurred the regeneration of South Beach.
In 1998, Zakarian became Executive Chef at Patroon, earning a coveted Three Star review from the New York Times, making it the first steak house to receive such accolades in New York City. Three years later, Zakarian took on his first Chef/ Owner role, opening Town at the Chambers Hotel earning him countless awards, month long wait times for reservations and another Three Star review from the New York Times. Adding to his growing restaurant business in 2005, he went on to be Chef/ Owner of his second restaurant Country, at the Carlton Hotel, which surpassed all previous success earning Zakarian another Three Star review from the New York Times and the gold standard of a Michelin Star.
With his deep knowledge of running restaurants in hotels and a signature style of hospitality , Zakarian was tapped for many exciting projects including revamping the food and beverage program at The Water Club at Borgata Hotel, creating 3 different dining concepts for Norwegian Cruise Lines, renovating and relaunching the Iconic Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel, opening a restaurant in Miami called Tudor House at The Dream South Beach, partnering with the Montage to reimagine their hotel bar and restaurant in Beverly Hills and worked with The Diplomat Hotel in Ft Lauderdale to bring them a coffee shop and a seafood restaurant called Point Royale.
In 2010 Zakarian added two more restaurants to his list as Chef/ Owner - The Lambs Club at The Chatwal Hotel and The National at The Benjamin Hotel. The Lambs Club quickly became a power dining room for Broadway and silver screen stars, politicians, and media executives, whereas The National's "Ugly Burger" topped the New York Times' list of 50 best things to eat in NYC.
In June 2011, Zakarian opened Tudor House at Dream South Beach, a neighborhood Gastro-Cafe rated as 2012's Best Hotel Restaurant in Miami.
Having been a recurring judge on the hit show Chopped on Food Network since 2009, Zakarian competed in The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs in 2011, winning the series and earning the title of Iron Chef, which from then on placed him regularly competing on Iron Chef America.
Working previously with City Harvest, a food rescue organization that fights hunger in New York, Zakarian is appointed as Chairman of the Food Council, a committed group of chefs that help to steer and support the needs and initiatives of the organization. In 2020, Zakarian's daughters, Madeline and Anna, help to start a Junior Food Council and co-host the annual Winter Family Carnival.
Also in 2014, Geoffrey added to his Food Network slate the role of co-hosting the emmy-nominated daytime series, The Kitchen . With a large foundation in TV, he formed Corner Table Entertainment, a multimedia production company with media executive Jaret Keller, which include projects such as podcasts for Sirius and IHeart Media, Food Network's 2021 prime time show Big Restaurant Bet, Fox's Great American Food-a-Thon and Turning Tables, a documentary focused on the restaurant industry amidst the pandemic.
In 2016, with his wife Margaret, President of Zakarian Hospitality, they launched a line of kitchen products called Zakarian Pro For Home. The innovative line applies professional kitchen expertise to over 100 tools and cookware items for home kitchens. Also in the retail arena, Zakarian has a line of food products, Zakarian Collection, that offer premier ingredients and distinct flavors to the home cook. The products and food items are available both online and in stores across the U.S.
In this #1 National Best Seller, Madeline and Anna Zakarian use their experience growing up with a professional chef for a dad to bring some of their favorite recipes to the world. Alongside vibrant photographs and easy to follow instructions, the Zakarian Sisters share their tricks of the trade on a variety of 85 tasty recipes.
As Executive Producer and Host, Zakarian brings Big Restaurant Bet to prime time on the Food Network. Eight emerging chefs are invited to GZ’s home base in Florida to see who has what it takes to run their own dream restaurant and compete for the grand prize: $250,000 investment of time and expertise from Zakarian Hospitality.
With the tremendous success of his revolutionary cookware and innovative tools, Geoffrey launches his branded shop on Amazon. Featuring the most coveted items from the Zakarian by Dash Collection, Amazon Prime Members can now access the latest products to make their cooking more efficient and more enjoyable.
Fashion, design, media, and the arts are also valuable sources of inspiration. He credits his staying power with this quest for timelessness and an enduring love of restaurants. As his portfolio of projects continues to grow, everything that bears Zakarian’s name reflects his unwavering commitment to authenticity, quality, and his passion for life around the table.