The Borgata’s Geoffrey Zakarian won the distinctive Food Network honor on the final episode of the show’s fourth season earlier this month.
Atlantic City’s culinary rep got even more credibility last week with the announcement of Chef Geoffrey Zakarian having won the finale of the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs competition.
All hyperbole aside, the field of contenders read like a Who’s Who of modern American cuisine.
With a lineup of Anne Burrell, Michael Chiarello, Elizabeth Faulkner, Alex Guarnaschelli, Chuck Hughes, Robert Irvine (another chef with long-time local experience) Spike Mendelsohn, Beau McMillian. Marcus Samuelsson and Geoffrey Zakarian, there wasn’t an easy out to be found anywhere.
And yet, when the head-to-head closing aired, it was Zakarian — The Borgata’s Water Club’s culinary lifestyle consultant — versus San Francisco-based dessert wizard Faulkner.
(In addition to his Water Club duties, Zakarian also currently serves as exec chef/partner in NYC eateries The Lambs Club and The National.)
Stylistically, the pair was about as Yin/Yang as one could imagine.
Faulkner is perceived as an inventive, free-form, risk-taking persona while Zakarian is a master technician with his approach firmly rooted in traditional French fashion.
The challenge: to create a classic, three-course holiday feast from an array of traditional items.
But as all good Iron Chef fans know, there had to be added twists and surprises along the way.
They began work with a cornucopia that included crown roast of beef, squash and parsnips.
First, at about 20 minutes in, cranberries were added to that list of ingredients as a mandatory item.
And the chefs were given the opportunity to pick one of their former “cheftestants” to briefly assist.
Zakarian successfully lobbied for his Chopped colleague Guarnashelli, and Faulkner agreed.
Next, a few minutes later, ice cream makers were revealed and chefs were asked to also prepare a frozen dessert.
Finally, with just over 10 minutes of that precious hour remaining, martini glasses got the reveal with Faulkner and Zakarian asked to provide a holiday libation.
As most of America is now already undoubtedly aware, NYC-based Chef Geoffrey Zakarian — culinary lifestyle consultant of Borgata’s sister property The Water Club — was recently named the winner of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs competition. Beating out a field of cheftestants that included a Murderer’s Row of prestigious personas like Michael Chiarello, Marcus Samuelsson, Zakarian’s Chopped co-host Alex Guarnaschelli and eventually, Elizabeth Faulkner, Zakarian becomes the fourth Iron Chef installed by virtue of an arduous, trial-by-fire system of judgment. (Previous winners were Michael Symon, Marc...
From its inception, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and its younger sister property, The Water Club, have been the vanguard for cutting-edge cuisine in the southern New Jersey region and the local casino industry. On Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7pm they will celebrate that commitment to excellence in food and wine with their second annual Savor Borgata event.
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