Industry Insiders: Geoffrey Zakarian, Pressure Chop

Geoffrey Zakarian is in for a busy summer, but he’s used to the pressure. The chef, restaurateur, author, and TV personality has been a flurry of activity in and out of the kitchen since he began his career at New York’s legendary Le Cirque in 1981. Since then, he has, among other things, been an executive chef at 44, opened the Blue Door at the Delano in Miami Beach, and owned critically acclaimed restaurants Town and Country (both now closed). In addition to his work as the executive chef of New York’s white-hot Lambs Club and as a judge on the Food Network series Chopped, he’s been preparing his latest restaurant, Miami’s Tudor House, a “gastro cafe” at the newly-opened Dream South Beach hotel.

“In keeping with the Miami theme, it’s slightly more art deco than a cafe, serving cafe food at a higher level than normal,” he says. While the French-influenced American cuisine in which he specializes has modern elements, Zakarian says he’s reaching back in history more than ever, digging into 100- and 200-year-old cookbooks for inspiration. “The more I go forward, the more I go backward,” he says. “It always leads me to simpler times.”