Chef, restaurateur, and Food Network personality Geoffrey Zakarian is working hard -- and playing hard at this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Zakarian, who makes the trip to Miami each year with his wife, Margaret, is appearing at multiple festival events, hosting a magnificent A-list invitation-only Rose brunch, and taping his new Sirius radio show, Food Talk.
The show, which could crown the dapper chef and restaurateur the "Culinary King of All Media," will be taped Friday, February 22, at 3 p.m. at the James Royal Palm Hotel. Zakarian is a frequent judge on Food Network's Chopped, prevailed on The Next Iron Chef, is a successful author, and owns two of New York City's hottest restaurants (the Lambs Club and the National). He was also chef/owner of Miami Beach's Tudor House.
Joining Zakarian at the broadcast will be some heavy hitters in the culinary and entertainment world, including Anne Burrell, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, Lee Schrager, Andrew Zimmern, Al Roker, Marc Murphy, and Scott Conant. They'll dish about the festival and the culinary world during the show, which will be aired on the satellite radio network in the near future.
The celebrity chef will also host the sold-out Thrillist's BBQ & the Blues at the Eden Roc Saturday, February 23. We caught up with the chef to chat about Miami, the festival, and opening another restaurant here.
New Times: You're hosting BBQ & the Blues this year. Are you a fan of the blues?
Geoffrey Zakarian: What could go better with barbecue than a side of blues? I am a fan of anything that is expertly done.
What is your favorite style of barbecue?
Personally, I like meats that are prepared with a dry rub rather than a sauce then smoked. This is typical of some Memphis and Kentucky barbecues.
At the event, which chef's barbecue are you most looking forward to eating?
Well, this event will be a great opportunity to taste test the absolute best that Miami has to offer. Don't worry, I won't be putting anyone on the chopping block.
You're also demoing at the GTV on Sunday. That's been known to get a little out of control. We've seen partial nudity, drinking, cursing. And you, Geoffrey, any tricks up your sleeve? Getting on the crazy train this year or taking the high road?
As the festival is unofficially known as spring break for the food industry, I am having Jerry Springer MC the demo. OK, not really. I will, however, have my Iron Chef sous-chefs, Eric Haugen and Paul Corsentino (both from my restaurants in NYC, the Lambs Club and the National, respectively), onstage with me. We will be doing some serious cooking up there Team Zakarian-style.
If you could host any new Food Network show, what would it be?
I would love to help out on Next Food Network Star . It's great discovering young and emerging culinary talent.
Everyone in Miami misses Tudor House. Will you try another endeavor in Miami? Absolutely! I love this town and think of it as my second home. Looking at spaces and have an exciting announcement coming soon.
What are your favorite restaurants to go while you're in Miami?
Mandolin, Scarpetta, and Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.
What are you looking forward to most at SoBeWFF this year?
I am hosting a radio show on Friday from the festival for Sirus XM called Food Talk -- I love the nature of radio broadcasting and looking forward to interviewing my friends. How exceptional to be able to bring the SoBe Wine & Food fest to 20 million listeners across the U.S.! Lee Schrager, founder of the festival, will lead off the show with many other amazing chefs and personalities including Anne Burrell, Bobby Flay, Al Roker, Guy Fieri, and Curtis Stone to follow.
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Geoffrey Zakarian will serve barbeque at Moët Hennessy's the Q tonight, Thursday, February 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. ($300, sold out); hosting Thrillist's BBQ & the Blues presented by Creekstone Farms on Saturday, February 23, from 7 - 10 p.m. ($115 -- sold out); and demo'ing at Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village on Sunday, February 24, from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. ($125-225). He will also participate in a panel discussion, Tough as Knives: What it Takes to be an Iron Chef, on Friday, February 22, at 11 a.m. (Trade only).