‘Chopped’ judge Geoffrey Zakarian’s net worth is impressive a decade after filing for bankruptcy
Food Network Chopped has a simple premise: chefs must impress a panel of three judges, who are professional chefs themselves, for three consecutive meals to win $10,000.
The judges were one of the main attractions of the show and they became household names in America. Aarón Sánchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Amanda Freitag, Chris Santos, Geoffrey Zakarian and Maneet Chauhan are all series regulars and all successful in their own right.
Zakarian, in particular, overcame long struggles in his rise to fame.
Geoffrey Zakarian’s career took a boost on Food Network
Zakarian graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1983 after attending the academy in Hyde Park, New York. From there it was nowhere but up.
He did his apprenticeship at the Cirque under the direction of chef Alain Sailhac and chef Daniel Boulud, where he was appointed chef de cuisine. Next, Zakarian became executive chef at the 21 Club and Patroon in New York where he learned the art and science of running a restaurant. He opened his first restaurant, Town, in 2001 before expanding his culinary reach to another restaurant, Country.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Zakarian has served as culinary director at the Plaza Hotel, launched the Palm Court and served as executive chef at 44 at the Royalton Hotel. He also opened restaurant concepts in New York, California and Florida while developing culinary expertise on Norwegian Cruise Line ships to wow passengers.
It all happened as the chef was making a name for himself in American homes on the Food Network. As a challenger on Iron Chef AmericaZakarian lost to Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in 2010 before winning The next iron boss a year later when he defeated Elizabeth Falkner.
Other shows have benefited from Zakarian’s expertise, including The best thing I’ve ever done, chewingand Chopped, where he is a regular judge on the series. The celebrity chef suffered a controversial setback in 2011 as his fame grew.
Class action lawsuit sent Geoffrey Zakarian to personal bankruptcy
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Zakarian opened Country in 2005 and closed in 2008 after not being profitable. In 2011, even though the restaurant was closed, 152 employees filed a class action lawsuit against him, alleging he falsified payroll records, failed to pay overtime and made unauthorized deductions from their paychecks, according to Mashed.
Worse still, Zarkarian’s two former business partners corroborated the employees’ stories. The lawsuit sought $1 million in damages and $250,000 in penalties. Zakarian denied everything. But he filed for bankruptcy and settled out of court to avoid potential disaster if a jury awarded the plaintiffs even more money.
But, the celebrity chef has been doing very well since then. Celebrity Net Worth says her current net worth is around $6 million.
Geoffrey Zakarian is a very busy and successful chef now
The celebrity chef learned his lessons and emerged from bankruptcy to develop his business interests quite well. He celebrates life every day with his wife and three adorable children.
He owns The National Bar & Dining Rooms in New York as well as The National by Geoffrey Zakarian in Dubai, both of which offer American-style cuisine. He also consults high-end restaurants for hotels around the world.
He has published four cookbooks that explain how to cook with 50 simple ingredients and prepare delicious and nutritious family meals. The family cooking together was published by his daughters and features family recipes that the celebrity chef prepares at home with the help of his daughters.
He and his wife own Zakarian Hospitality, a consulting company and a line of kitchen products, cookware and tools designed to help home chefs achieve culinary bliss. It also has the Zakarian Collection, a line of ingredients that home cooks can use in everyday cooking.
Since 2014, Zakarian has served as president of the City Harvest Food Council, a food rescue organization dedicated to alleviating hunger in New York City to give back to the community that has supported his career for over 40 years. The Zakarian culinary empire shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
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