There’s no question that in most homes, the kitchen is the warmest room in the house, the place where memories are made and stories are shared — not to mention where family meals are prepared day after day. And beginning this winter, five of your favorite Food Network stars will celebrate these aspects and more of the kitchen on an all-new series.
Jeff Mauro, Geoffrey Zakarian, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson will come together on The Kitchen, premiering Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at 11am/10c, in a weekly morning show to not just cook some of their signature recipes together, but to dish on current food trends, chat about their families’ strategies for easy weeknight meals, swap money-saving tips and help you get the most out of your favorite kitchen gadgets. As these stars will gather around the kitchen table week after week, each will lend a unique perspective to the conversation, among them Katie’s often-healthy point of view, Marcela’s flair for Mexican cuisine and Geoffrey’s penchants for crafted cocktails.
Given the chilly weather, shorter days and darker nights, comfort food season is at the top of everyone’s mind lately, and while many look to mac ‘n’ cheese or casseroles for hearty satisfaction, most forget that risotto is every bit as rich and decadent as those classic picks. This creamy, cheesy, Italian rice-based dish has been given a bad rap — some claim it’s too tedious to prepare at home — but Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is on a mission to dispel that culinary rumor once and for all.
Catching up with fans at the 2013 New York City Wine & Food Festival last month, Geoffrey assuaged fears of cooking risotto from scratch — something he’s deemed “the final frontier” — explaining, “It’s nothing more than rice …. It’s not that much work …. It’s just a technique.” He broke down that technique during his live culinary demonstration preparing a mushroom-lobster risotto, and he noted that the payoff promises versatile recipes and can-do results. Read on below to hear from Geoffrey and learn his top tips for mastering risotto at home.
10. If you’re new to cooking risotto, stick with a basic recipe featuring chicken stock, cheese and olive oil.
9. Opt for a pan that offers enough surface area to cook the rice. Whether you use a large skillet or deep pot, just be sure there’s ample space for the rice to meet the heat.
Get the top-eight tips
You’ve surely seen him on television as a Chopped judge and as an Iron Chef America superstar in Kitchen Stadium, and you may have even seen him in person at some of his restaurants. But come tomorrow you can hear from Geoffrey Zakarian in one of the most unlikely of places: the radio. For only the third time ever, Geoffrey is teaming up with SiriusXM radio to host a Food Talk broadcast, and the latest show premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7am EST on Stars Channel 106.
This past weekend brought together the most renowned names in the culinary industry at the sixth annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, and Geoffrey kicked off the celebration last Friday by bringing together some of your favorite Food Network stars, including Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson and Jeff Mauro, plus his fellow members on the Chopped panel, for relaxed chats — and plenty of laughs. Huddled in a studio at the SiriusXM headquarters high atop Manhattan, Geoffrey and his guests munched on sweet and savory bites from his restaurant The National, and dished about some of the most-talked-about topics in the food industry today.
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As the chef at New York’s The Lambs Club and The National restaurants and the leader of dining services at The Water Club in Atlantic City, N.J., and Ocean Blue aboard The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship, Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is surely not one to sit still. This Kitchen Stadium superstar works best when his plate is full of projects, and it’s a good thing he does, because just this week he earned another title: the Culinary Director at The Plaza hotel in New York City.
One of Manhattan’s most iconic hotels, The Plaza boasts a prime location in the heart of the city, a 100-plus-year tradition of luxury and a reputation for culinary excellence that Geoffrey will only serve to improve upon in his new role. He’ll be in charge of the hotel’s Palm Court and Oak Room restaurants, plus the Oak Bar, The Champagne Bar and The Rose Club, in addition to its in-room dining menus. The Palm Court will likely be the first to see modifications, but they’ll be subtle. “I want to leave as much as we can in place, the way they do with the great old restaurants in Paris,” he told The New York Times.
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Chopped judge, Iron Chef and owner/chef of The Lambs Club and The National restaurants in New York City Geoffrey Zakarian had a busy schedule at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. In between hosting his Sirius XM Radio show, Food Talk, and catching up with friends at Ajax Tavern, the Iron Chef took the time to give Dish readers an exclusive look at this action-packed visit to Colorado. Read his journal and browse photos from his weekend below.
by Geoffrey Zakarian
I arrived in Aspen from Chicago because I absolutely hate flying into Denver airport — I prefer to break the trip into two flights. It’s great to stop in Chicago because it’s rarely delayed, and I can watch exactly one movie on each flight! I arrived at Aspen airport at 8:45pm and grabbed a taxi to my first stop, The St. Regis Hotel. I dropped off my bags, had a quick shave, ironed a shirt for dinner and tried my best to look un-rumpled.
Both on and off camera, celebrity chefs are saying goodbye to aprons and hello to chic style. Four Food Network chefs — Alton, Giada, Geoffrey and Marcus — made Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed Chefs list. We all know their food and/or restaurants are worthy of praise, but their individual styles earned applause from the fashion world.
Bad fashion is on the chopping block for Geoffrey Zakarian. His slick New York City style includes tortoiseshell glasses (he actually has 12 pairs) and pastel button-downs. Geoffrey seamlessly trades his chef’s jacket for a crisp gingham shirt and sport coat.
Alton Brown’s come a long way from his quirky Good Eats costumes. Now he can be spotted with his trademark modern vintage style including dapper bow ties, hipster spectacles and tweed blazers. On this season of Food Network Star, you’ll find him rocking plaid button-downs, retro fedoras and well-tailored suits.
More chefs named best-dressed
You’ve seen them judge the competition, battle for the title of All-Stars champion and compete in a friendly game with colleagues on After Hours, but there’s a lot you don’t know about the judges of Chopped. Here’s your chance to get to know the nine people behind the Chopping Block.
Geoffrey Zakarian is the chef of The Lambs Club and The National, both in New York City. His former New York City restaurants, Town and Country, both received three stars from The New York Times. Besides his judging duties on Chopped, you’ll also find Geoffrey on Iron Chef America. He won the title of Iron Chef in the third season of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. One thing you might not have known about Geoffrey is that if he hadn’t become a chef, he might have been a concert pianist.
Read Geoffrey’s Q&A
Earlier this week, FN Dish caught up with Geoffrey Zakarian for a Facebook chat about Season 3 of Chopped All-Stars. Geoffrey answered questions about the current season, what it’s like to judge a wide array of dishes and how his experience as an Iron Chef informs his judging. He also chatted about what he’s up to next in his career.
Read highlights from Geoffrey’s chat
One of the very great pleasures of the last few years has been getting to know Geoffrey Zakarian better, both personally and professionally.
While we may disagree a lot on the show, I have always been hugely impressed with his culinary talents and can now state, for a fact, there is no more-entertaining person on the planet with whom to break bread off set.
As Iron Chef Zakarian prepares for another season of battles in Kitchen Stadium, I caught up with him (over a martini, of course) and demanded responses to these 10 probing questions.
Read the full interview
Week after week, Chopped fans tune in to watch four eager chef competitors take their places in the kitchen for a chance to outcook the chopping block and score the coveted title of Chopped Champion. Not only facing off against each other, the contestants battle baskets full of mystery ingredients like shad roe sacks, black garlic, pig ears and duck hearts — products and produce that are so unusual that some chefs have neither seen nor tasted them before in their career.
Working with such oddball selects surely invites a host of unique problems, including overcooked proteins and underdone grains, but the most-common mistake made among chefs isn’t one resulting from obscure ingredients. Instead, it’s something that trips up even home cooks as they prepare everyday meals for their families.
Speaking to a crowd at the Borgata Hotel Spa & Casino in Atlantic City, longtime Chopped judge Geoffrey Zakarian said that the most-prominent error in competitors’ dishes is seasoning. No stranger to the highs and lows in the Chopped kitchen, he’s tasted his share of meals that have proved to be near disasters simply because chefs used too little of two of the most-basic ingredients found in restaurant and home kitchens alike: salt and pepper. “Nobody puts salt and pepper in their food,” he said. “Amazing. Shocking.”
What cooking conundrums do you struggle with in the kitchen? Tell FN Dish in the comments below.