Geoffrey Zakarian

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Geoffrey Zakarian
Zakarian at the 2012 New York Comic Con
Born (1959-07-25) July 25, 1959 (age 64)
EducationWorcester State University
Margaret Anne Williams
(m. 2005)
Culinary career
Television show(s)

Geoffrey Zakarian (born July 25, 1959) is an American chef, restaurateur, television personality and author. He is the executive chef of several restaurants in New York City, Atlantic City and Miami.[1] He is featured on several television programs on the Food Network, including Chopped and The Next Iron Chef on which, in 2011, he won the right to join Iron Chef America.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Zakarian was born July 25, 1959, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to an Armenian-American father, musician George Zakarian, and a Polish-American mother, Viola (née Hekowicz).[1][2][3] He has a sister, Virginia, and brother, George.[4] He graduated from Burncoat High School in 1977.[5] He earned a degree in economics from Worcester State University, and then went to France, where he decided to be a chef.[1]

He began his culinary career with an associate degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.[6][7] As an apprentice chef, he began his work under chef Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque, where he was named "Chef de Cuisine" from 1982 to 1987.[8]


In 1990, he became the executive chef at 44, a restaurant described by The New York Times as "trendy" and "chic", located at the Royalton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. William Grimes, also of The New York Times, described Zakarian as "the reason that 44 in the Royalton Hotel was always a lot better than it needed to be" in 2001.[9] Previously, in 1992, 44 had received only two stars from The New York Times columnist Bryan Miller.[7]

In 1996, he was hired to oversee Old Navy's ill-fated coffee bar and coffee cart division with David Brody of Z100 WHTZ. He then went on to work for the Blue Door of the Delano Hotel in South Beach, Miami.[10] In 1998, he became the executive chef at Patroon in Manhattan, which was awarded three stars (excellent) by New York Times critic Ruth Reichl. In the spring of 2000, Zakarian worked with Alain Passard, a renowned French chef at the three-Michelin star restaurant Arpège in Paris.[7]

His style is described as "modern" with roots in French cuisine, or as he describes it, "dynamic American". Zakarian owned two restaurants, Town and Country, both of which are in Manhattan. They have been rated with three stars by The New York Times.[7] His restaurant Town was located on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan in the Chambers Hotel and opened in Spring 2001 but closed in 2009.[11] Country is located in the Carlton Hotel near Madison Square Park and opened in 2005. The restaurant has earned a Michelin Star. Zakarian is now a consultant at the Water Club in Atlantic City and executive chef at the Lamb's Club in New York City.[11] The Lambs Club restaurant is not connected in any way to the historical theatre club The Lambs (known as The Lambs Club since 1874).

In the spring of 2006, Zakarian released his first book, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country. It was quoted as being "one of the best of 2006" by The New York Times columnist Amanda Hesser.[12] The book features 150 recipes for family, friends and "Life Around the Table".[13]

He is Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council, a food rescue organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City.

Legal issues[edit]

In spring 2011, Zakarian filed for personal bankruptcy in response to a class action lawsuit against him by his former employees. The employees alleged he violated labor laws and sued for back pay. Two of Zakarian's partners in the related restaurant supported the workers' claims, but Zakarian's publicist denied the claims.[14] The matter was settled out of court.

In July 2015, Zakarian withdrew from a planned American-style concept restaurant called The National in the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. in the wake of controversial comments made by Donald Trump about undocumented immigrants. Trump's statements "do not in any way align with my personal core values", Zakarian said. "We are a nation built from immigrants, my family included."[15] Zakarian was expected to lose a $500,000 lease deposit.[16] Trump sued Zakarian in August 2015 for a sum "in excess of $10 million" for lost rent and other damages.[17] The matter was settled out of court in April 2017.


He has appeared numerous times on Food Network's Chopped series as a judge with fellow restaurateurs Scott Conant, Chris Santos, Aarón Sánchez, Amanda Freitag, Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy, Maneet Chauhan and Alex Guarnaschelli since the show began, and has also appeared in the Food Network's series 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, also as a judge. He has also been on Top Chef as a judge and has appeared in Hell's Kitchen.[8] Zakarian competed as well as a challenger on Iron Chef America in May 2010 where he faced Masaharu Morimoto and lost with a score of 57 to 43.[18] Zakarian was named the winner of The Next Iron Chef in December 2011, defeating Elizabeth Falkner in the season finale. In January 2014, Zakarian became a co-host on the Food Network's series The Kitchen along with Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson.[19] Zakarian has also appeared on Cutthroat Kitchen as a judge ("Well, Hot Clam!") and contestant ("Judging Judges"). In 2016, he began hosting the Food Network series Cooks vs. Cons, where judges try to determine if a winning dish was done by a professional chef or a home cook.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Zakarian married Margaret Anne Williams, a marketing executive, in 2005.[6] They have three children. He was previously married to Heather Karaman for approximately ten years.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Gillespie, Nick and Amanda Winkler (2013-11-25) Iron Chef Geoff Zakarian Talks Food, Freedom, and the Future of American Cuisine,
  2. ^ "Why Chef Geoffrey Zakarian Wears a Tailored Tom Ford Suit When He's in the Kitchen". People. 7 July 2016.
  3. ^ Fabricant, Florence (9 July 2015). "Geoffrey Zakarian Drops Out of Donald Trump's New Hotel". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  4. ^ "George H. Zakarian - Obituary -". Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  5. ^ "1977 Burncoat High School yearbook". Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Margaret Williams, Geoffrey Zakarian". The New York Times. July 31, 2005. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Bruni, Frank (2010). "Geoffrey Zakarian". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  8. ^ a b "ICA Morimoto vs. Zakarian". Wannabe a TV Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  9. ^ Grimes, William (2001-05-02). "Midtown Elegance, One Floor Down". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  10. ^ "Geoffrey Zakarian, Chef/Proprietor, TOWN". 2007. Archived from the original on 6 May 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Geoffrey Zakarian". ChefDB. 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  12. ^ "The Chefs". 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  13. ^ Zakarian, Geoffrey (2010). Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table. ISBN 978-1400054688.
  14. ^ Fox, Nick (26 April 2011). "Star Chef, Facing a Suit, Files for Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  15. ^ Bennett, Kate (July 9, 2015). "Another top chef dumps Donald Trump". Politico. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  16. ^ Bennett, Kate; Strauss, Daniel (July 31, 2015). "Donald Trump delivers on promise to sue chef José Andrés". Politico. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  17. ^ Sidman, Jessica (August 5, 2015). "Trump Sues Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian For Backing Out of Hotel Restaurant Deal". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  18. ^ Brion, Raphael (3 May 2010). "Geoffrey Zakarian Bites Off Mor(imoto) Than He Can Chew on Iron Chef America". Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  19. ^ Food Network Gossip: Food Network's 'The Kitchen' - More Information About The Show
  20. ^ "Television Show: Cooks vs. Cons". IMDb. 2016.

External links[edit]