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
In just a few short weeks (on Sunday, May 5 at 10pm/9c), the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions will begin — pitting Iron Chefs against Iron Chefs. In preparation for such a challenge, I thought it’d be a good idea to sit down with the Iron Chefs and ask them questions that will help readers and fans get to know them a little better. We start off with Iron Chef Zakarian, but check back every Thursday for an inside look at the remaining roster of Iron Chefs.
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 his second 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.
May Madness hits Food Network this spring as Iron Chefs battle it out — one-on-one — in the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions
. With five episodes and a panel of revolving judges, the tournament features high-stakes, bracket-style battles between the best of the best in the culinary world. The tournament begins Sunday, May 5 at 10pm/9c
with a face-off between the two newest Iron Chefs, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian.
Get the full schedule
When it comes to building the ultimate hamburger, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is doing things a little differently. Forget about everything you know to be true about barbecuing, seasoning and flipping the meat. Chef Zakarian is introducing an all-new method that will wow you with its simplicity and tried-and-true results, so much so that you won’t be tempted to return to the dry, flavorless patties of burgers past. Chatting with fans at a recent event at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, he demonstrated his flawless technique and shared can’t-miss tips that are easy enough for the home cook to master — and you don’t even have to wait until grilling season to try them.
10. Cook hamburgers on a cast-iron skillet indoors, instead of on an outdoor grill.
9. Opt for corn-fed ground meat that features about 25 percent to 30 percent fat.
8. The ideal blend of freshly ground meat includes equal parts chuck, rib eye and either flank steak or brisket.
7. Let meat come to room temperature before you cook with it.
6. Preheat the skillet until it’s screaming hot — only then should the meat be added.
Get Chef Zakarian’s top 5 tips
Having already conquered the professional kitchen as the chef-owner of two New York City restaurants — The Lamb’s Club and The National — and Kitchen Stadium as a member of the Chairman’s elite team of Iron Chefs, Geoffrey Zakarian is setting out to take over the radio airwaves, if only for just one night.
From 8pm-9pm EST tomorrow evening, Friday, March 15, Geoffrey can be heard on the SiriusXM Satellite Radio Stars Channel 107 chatting with an impressive roster of chefs, including Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, Sunny Anderson, Andrew Zimmern, fellow Chopped judges Scott Conant and Marc Murphy, and more. These industry A-listers came together in Miami, Fla., during last month’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and FN Dish was on hand as the show was recorded live, poolside from The James Royal Palm Hotel.
Instead of fighting the crowds of couples at hot spot restaurants on Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to an extra-special dinner and dessert at home on Thursday. Food Network’s one-stop Valentine’s Day destination has everything you need to plan a savory meal for two, while Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has the ultimate confection for an unforgettable supper — a showstopping dessert that’s by far more impressive looking than it is difficult to prepare, even for the most novice bakers among us.
FN Dish caught up with Geoffrey during a live cooking demonstration at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., and he shared his tried-and-true Flourless Raspberry Souffle recipe from his cookbook, Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table. He’s the first to admit that most people are “freaked out by souffles,” but he promises that there’s no reason to be. A master of souffles himself, Geoffrey first began making them in his earliest days as a chef at New York City’s Le Cirque restaurant. “That was my first job in the kitchen,” he told us. “I was a souffle chef.” There he’d prepare nearly 150 souffles every day, and he quickly picked up “all the tricks of the trade.”
Whether you’ve dabbled in from-scratch souffles before or are new to making them, Geoffrey explains that there are a few must-know secrets to pulling off this dessert successfully. Check out his top-five tips for baking up light, fluffy souffles every time, then read on to find his can-do recipe.
Geoffrey’s souffle tips and recipe
When it comes to judging The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, boasting a discerning palate, a keen sense of smell and a lifetime of experience in professional cooking and eating isn’t enough; you need to look the part as well. For judge Geoffrey Zakarian, completing his ensemble requires two pieces: an Iron Chef’s jacket and a pair of knockout glasses. Unlike the jacket, which comes in just one classic shade and style, his eyewear can be changed for every episode, and throughout this season, we’ve seen just how much Iron Chef Zakarian takes advantage of that by switching between royal-blue rims, leopard-print specs and fashion-forward see-through frames week after week. He told us in this video that he brought with him more than 12 pairs of glasses to film The Next Iron Chef and after seven episodes, he’s only repeated pairs a few times.
Flip through this photo gallery to see some of the best pieces from Iron Chef Zakarian’s vast collection of eyewear, then tell us in the comments: Which of his pairs of glasses is your favorite?
Don’t miss the finale of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption on Sunday at 9pm/8c.
Get an extended preview of next week’s final episode
Eating lots of great food and spending time with family and friends are some of the things to look forward to when it comes to the holidays. And cooking together is a great way to catch up on old times and make new memories whether it involves a bit of family drama or not.
So what happens when four Food Network chefs are each paired with a family member in a cooking challenge? It’s a competition to see which family cooks the best. Watch Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, Robert Irvine and Geoffrey Zakarian battle it out to win a cash donation to their charity of choice. Bobby Deen hosts this Food Network special, which eliminates teams round by round until only one family is left standing.
Tune in: Sunday, November 18 at 10pm/9pm c
A little friendly competition never hurt anyone and the newest season of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption is sure to have plenty of it.
With just eight days until the premiere (Sunday, November 4 at 9pm/8c), FN Dish decided to heat things up and start the competition early. Starting today and continuing each week, editors will present two chefs with their corresponding dishes in what’s called Rival Recipes. Fans will then pick their favorite dish in a poll: the winner gets bragging rights and fans get two delicious recipes (it’s a win-win situation for the reader).
First up are the two newest Iron Chefs: Chef Marc Forgione (Season 3 winner) and Chef Geoffrey Zakarian (Season 4 winner), who is also a judge this season. Both chefs have mastered and revolutionized American-style cooking and here they offer two classic Italian dishes.
We’re pitting Chef Forgione’s Gnocchi With Brown Butter and Sage (from Food Network Magazine) against Chef Zakarian’s Perciatelli With Bolognese. Dumplings versus spaghetti. White sauce versus red sauce. Which will you choose? Vote below.
VOTE NOW: Which Iron Chef’s dish gets your vote?