Geoffrey Zakarian

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Geoffrey Zakarian
Zakarian at the 2012 New York Comic Con.
Born July 25, 1959 (age 56)
Worcester, Massachusetts
Occupation Restaurateur
television personality
Years active 1982 – present
Spouse(s) Margaret Anne Williams (2005)
Children George Harris Zakarian

Geoffrey Zakarian (born July 25, 1959) is an American[1] Iron Chef, restaurateur, television personality and author. He is the executive chef of several restaurants in New York City, Atlantic City and Miami.[2] He is featured on several television programs on the Food Network, including Chopped and in 2011, The Next Iron Chef, where he won the right to join Iron Chef America.[2]


Zakarian was born in 1959 and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts.[2] He began his culinary career with an associate's degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.[3][4] 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.[5]

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. Previously, in 1992, 44 had received only 2 stars from The New York Times columnist Bryan Miller.[4]

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.[6] In 1998, he became the executive chef at Patroon in Manhattan, which was awarded 3 stars (excellent) by NY 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.[4]

His style is described as "modern" with roots in French cuisine, or as he describes, "dynamic American." Zakarian owned two restaurants, Town and Country, both of which are in Manhattan. They have been rated with 3 stars by The New York Times.[4] His restaurant Town was located in the East Side of Midtown Manhattan in the Chambers Hotel and opened in Spring 2001 but had closed in 2009.[7] Country is located in the Carlton Hotel near Madison Square Park and opened in 2005. The restaurant has earned a Michelin Star.[8] Zakarian is now a consultant and executive chef at the Water Club in Atlantic City and the Lamb's Club in New York City, respectively.[7]

In the spring of 2006, Zakarian released his first book, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country. It had been named as " of the best of 2006" by The New York Times columnist Amanda Hesser.[9] The book features 150 recipes for family, friends and "Life Around the Table."[10]

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 allege he engaged in repeated and gross violation of labor laws and are suing for back pay. Two of Zakarian's partners in the related restaurant support the workers' claims, but Zakarian's publicist denied the claims.[11]

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 Mexican 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."[12] Zakarian was expected to lose a $500,000 lease deposit.[13] Trump sued Zakarian in August 2015 for a sum "in excess of $10 million" for lost rent and other damages.[14]


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, Marc Murphy and Alexandra 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.[5] Zakarian has also competed as a challenger on Iron Chef America in May 2010 where he faced Masaharu Morimoto and lost with a score of 57 to 43.[15] 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.[16] Zakarian has also appeared on Cutthroat Kitchen as a judge ("Well, Hot Clam!") and contestant ("Judging Judges").

Personal life[edit]

Zakarian married Margaret Anne Williams, a marketing executive, in 2005. They have two daughters and one son. He was previously married to Heather Karaman for approximately 10 years.[3]

Zakarian is a "long-time subscriber to Reason and a self-described libertarian."[2]


  1. ^ "Star Salvation Ep. 4, Part 1". Star Salvation. June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ 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,
  3. ^ a b "Margaret Williams, Geoffrey Zakarian". The New York Times. 31 July 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Bruni, Frank (2010). "Geoffrey Zakarian". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "ICA Morimoto vs. Zakarian". Wannabe a TV Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Geoffrey Zakarian, Chef/Proprietor, TOWN". 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Geoffrey Zakarian". ChefDB. 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Rossant, Juliette (3 May 2006). "Geoffrey Zakarian: Town Country". Super Chef. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "The Chefs". 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table". 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  11. ^ Fox, Nick (26 April 2011). "Star Chef, Facing a Suit, Files for Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Bennett, Kate (July 9, 2015). "Another top chef dumps Donald Trump". Politico. Retrieved August 20, 2015. 
  13. ^ Bennett, Kate; Strauss, Daniel (July 31, 2015). "Donald Trump delivers on promise to sue chef José Andrés". Politico. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ Sidman, Jessica (August 5, 2015). "Trump Sues Celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian For Backing Out of Hotel Restaurant Deal". Washington City Paper. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  15. ^ Brion, Raphael (3 May 2010). "Geoffrey Zakarian Bites Off Mor(imoto) Than He Can Chew on Iron Chef America". Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  16. ^ Food Network Gossip: Food Network's 'The Kitchen' - More Information About The Show

External links[edit]