Just when Cooks vs. Cons competitors think they’re set to cook the assigned dish in Round 1, host Geoffrey Zakarian is on hand to change their plans with the announcement of a mandatory surprise ingredient that must be showcased. And again in Round 2, though competitors can prepare any dish they’d like, their freedom goes only as far as yet another surprise ingredient. Cereal, soda, pickles, mushrooms and chocolate — all of these sweet, savory, tangy eats and drinks, and others, have made appearances, though not all the uses of them were wholly successful. When we checked in with Geoffrey recently, he told us about another ingredient he’d like to see revealed in the future. When we checked in with Geoffrey recently, he told us about another ingredient he’d like to see revealed in the future: “I think … another protein, like a chicken that they have to butcher or something they have to butcher — that would wipe me right out.” Browse photos to see how both professional chefs and amateurs approached the surprises.
Tag: Geoffrey Zakarian
Fresh off a hit first season, Cooks vs. Cons — the game that asks if a professional chef can be outcooked by an amateur home cook — is set to return for Season 2 on Sunday, July 10 at 10|9c. Recently we caught up with Geoffrey Zakarian, the host of this culinary whodunit, to get his take on the success of Season 1 and what to expect from upcoming battles. Read on below to hear from him in an exclusive interview, and find out the pro-or-joe hunches he develops while watching each contest unfold.
Fans really gravitated toward the first season. Why do you think this is such a craveable game?
It’s on everybody’s mind that they all want to be a chef. So it’s very fun for people to imagine trying to trick someone like myself and two judges into [believing they’re] a chef, so I think it really sets up their interest first. And then the premise is great. It’s very quick. It’s easy to understand. You get it right away. And you’re just hooked because the chefs and the amateurs are both very interesting people. Pros are interesting, and the amateurs are interesting. It’s really great casting.
The Perfect Culinary Collaboration Between Farmer and Chef at Geoffrey Zakarian’s Greenmarket Brunchby Joseph Erdos in Events, October 18th, 2015
Anyone who heads to Union Square’s Greenmarket three or more times per week, like I do, will often see chefs geared up with carts and bins, buying some of the best produce from the farmers who’ve set up stands in the square. Without tracking down all of the restaurants that frequent the market, one’s left imagining what dishes those items might end up being turned into. But at the New York City Wine & Food Festival‘s Greenmarket Brunch hosted by Chopped‘s own Geoffrey Zakarian, farm-to-table enthusiasts can experience all of the fruits of the chefs’ labors. It’s a unique collaboration, yielding some flavorful bites.
“You have eight amazing farms and eight amazing chefs,” said Geoffrey about the eighth season of the event held in The Standard High Line Hotel’s Biergarten, a rustic, open-air terrace underneath the High Line Park. He explained that each chef had the opportunity to pick the produce from the farms to feature in his or her dish. “It really is very special,” he said of the pairings, also pointing out the smaller size of the event, which offers festivalgoers the chance to get to know the chefs and farmers, who are also on hand.
Much like a classic roast chicken or towering chocolate cake, pasta Bolognese (pasta with a hearty meat sauce) is one of those recipes we keep in our back pockets for when we need a little comfort. It’s something many have made before — and successfully so — but that doesn’t mean there’s no need to improve upon the most-basic recipe. That’s where Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian comes in. At a recent demo at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he offered eager fans a few expert tips on elevating this staple Italian sauce to the next level of craveworthy satisfaction. Read on below to learn what he does to guarantee a rich and savory sauce, and find out his choice of noodles, then get his top-rated and simple-to-prepare recipe.
1. Bolognese is all about the meat, and for Geoffrey, that means a blend of four varieties: He opts for equal parts pancetta, pork, pork sausage and veal.
Geoffrey Zakarian may be a co-host on The Kitchen, a no-nonsense Chopped judge, the chef and partner at New York’s The Lambs Club, and the culinary director of The Plaza hotel, but on Father’s Day, this famed Iron Chef revels in another title: Dad. Geoffrey’s a father to three young children, two daughters plus a newborn baby boy, which means this year’s holiday is sure to be extra special. Read on below to get an exclusive with Geoffrey and learn his family’s plans for Sunday’s celebration, and find out what dishes he enjoys cooking alongside his young sous chefs.
What kinds of Father’s Day traditions do you have now and did you have as a child?
Geoffrey Zakarian: Well, not surprisingly, all centered around food. Usually we tried to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway, and if not, we would watch and chow down on simply grilled hot dogs. Delicious!
How will you and your family celebrate this year?
GZ: We are all going to our family’s place in upstate New York. A large buffet will be developed over the weekend and it will be an eat-a-thon. Lots of rosé will be poured.
Brunch and farmers markets: When it comes to weekend events, they’re right up there with sleeping in. FN Dish recently caught up with the chef/owner of The Lambs Club and The National, both in New York City, and asked about his strategies for shopping farmers markets and hosting a weekend brunch.
FN Dish: What are your top tips for navigating a farmers market?
Geoffrey Zakarian: First things first: Don’t buy anything for the first half-hour. See what you see. Ask for samples of everything. Then sit down for a minute and have a coffee and write down what you’re going to buy. Don’t be manic — everybody buys way too much. They get excited, they buy this and then say: “Why did I do that? This chocolate looks better, but I just bought this chocolate!” Just take a deep breath.
FN Dish: You’re hosting a brunch at your house. What do you make?
GZ: I make a roast with a bunch of vegetable side dishes that are all cooked together in one pan. Then I make a garden salad and maybe some cheese and salumi — done.
FN Dish: What’s your go-to brunch drink?
GZ: At brunch, I like rosé champagne. Bloody Marys are great, but if you start on Bloody Marys and then you want to have wine or champagne later, you’re just going to get trashed. So it’s best to start with rosé champagne; you can do champagne for the rest of the evening.
When you imagine brunch at an Iron Chef’s house, you might picture a lavish affair complete with an overflowing spread of all manner of croissants, made-to-order omelets, thick-cut French toast and the bubbliest Bellinis. But according to Geoffrey Zakarian, “less is more” when it comes to this midmorning meal, and it can be surprisingly easy to execute. As he explained, “Everything at brunch is done the day before.” FN Dish recently caught up with Geoffrey in Miami as he hosted his own brunch event, and we chatted with him about what it takes to pull off the ultimate crowd-pleasing meal. Read on below to learn his top tips for entertaining and thoughts on classic brunch picks like eggs, waffles and mimosas.
What’s a go-to rule of thumb to remember when preparing brunch?
Geoffrey Zakarian: I always say less is more. What people do with brunch is they overwhelm you with too much stuff that’s, like, throwaway. They pile breads and pastries and all this stuff, and no one eats it anyways. You end up throwing it away. So I say just be very focused and really edit what you’re going to do. Do seven, eight things maximum. Make people just eat those things, and make them really delicious and different, and it’ll be a very successful brunch.
Given chefs’ notoriously long hours at their restaurants, plus the efforts they devote to filming television shows, making personal appearances and authoring cookbooks, it’s no surprise that Food Network stars are rarely in one place for long — and hardly ever in the same place at the same time. That all changes, however, when it comes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival; for one weekend every winter, nearly all of your favorite chefs converge upon the sunny, sandy shores of Miami for the ultimate weekend-long celebration of the best and the latest in eats and drinks.
The 13th annual festival just wrapped up in South Beach on Sunday, but while the cooking demonstrations, seminars, dinners and late-night parties were in full swing, The Kitchen host and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian found time to catch up with some of his closest friends and colleagues in the business. He recorded a SiriusXM Food Talk radio show (airing on SiriusXM Stars Channel 106 on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 8|9c) one afternoon near the pool deck at The James Royal Palm, and he welcomed fellow Chopped judge Marc Murphy, a few co-hosts from The Kitchen, including Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee, plus Anne Burrell, Robert Irvine and more food folks to dish on all things from competition television to the ever-changing restaurant industry and memorable work projects from days gone by.
It’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.
Although he’s a relatively new addition to Kitchen Stadium and recently launched a brand-new series, The Kitchen, with four other co-hosts, Geoffrey Zakarian is a longtime Chopped judge, having been part of the panel since the show’s premiere season in 2009. Now recognized equally for his dapper ensembles and his harsh critiques at the Chopping Block, Geoffrey is a no-nonsense judge, able to note the intricacies of a competitor’s dish and offer constructive reviews on how to better it in the future.
A pillar of the restaurant industry, Geoffrey has two eateries in Manhattan, serves as the culinary director for The Plaza Hotel in New York City, and has ventures in Miami and at The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City. Despite these commitments, however, and his dedication to serving only the finest cuisine at his restaurants, Geoffrey connects to viewers with ease and shares quick-fix, crave-worthy recipes that home cooks can surely replicate. His Caesar Salad with Red Romaine is a hearty, simple salad that can be on the table in a quick 20 minutes, and just this month on The Kitchen, Geoffrey offered a recipe for Italian Chicken Pasta Salad that takes advantage of store-bought rotisserie chicken.
You know Geoffrey, Jeff, Katie, Marcela and Sunny from their other adventures on Food Network and FoodNetwork.com, but for the first time last Saturday, you watched them come together on their brand-new series, The Kitchen (airing Saturdays at 11am/10c). Katie and Geoffrey cooked alongside each other, Sunny showed off her version of crepes, and the group dished about the latest trends and topics in everyone’s favorite room of the house: the kitchen. Before the season gets too far underway, however, FN Dish wants fans to get to know each of the co-hosts a bit better, so we’ll be sharing exclusive interviews with all five chefs every day this week. Read on below to learn more about Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian today, and keep checking back to hear from Jeff, Katie, Marcela and Sunny.
Tell us your culinary point of view in the kitchen in a few sentences.
Geoffrey Zakarian: Classically rooted with a modern edge
Why did you want to get involved in The Kitchen?
GZ: I just love working with Food Network, but I love the composition of the show, and that we talk about all kinds of things …. The kitchen is where everything happens, basically.