Food network star Geoffrey Zacarian distills the entire hospitality industry

“I tell people what they’re doing wrong – don’t we all need that?”

Geoffrey Zacarian

Food Network star Geoffrey Zacarian is joking. Kind of. The legendary chef and restaurateur has spent decades perfecting his craft in the kitchen (already making thousands of diners happier and fatter) and his culinary talents applied to the best-selling cookbook, a restaurant consulting business and unforgettable turns at the show. Likes Cut, Iron Chef And The kitchen.

Now he’s got a new show, Big restaurant bet, Which combines its hospitality and business acumen into a competition that will depress food entrepreneurs everywhere. Zachary is giving eight chefs a chance to win a 250,000 investment in his assets to help them rise to prominence in the restaurant world. “We really put them through the ring,” Zachary said. “We put them in a real business restaurant relationship. We told them not just to cook, but to serve a purpose. And to get my wife and our company to help with all these things they still don’t know how to do. “

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As the competition airs on the Food Network (see new episodes here), Zachary takes a few minutes to sit down and talk to food and business. Get a real job Podcast Here are some excerpts from the conversation, edited for length and clarity. Hungry!

Owning a restaurant involves much more than cooking

“Being a great chef doesn’t mean you have to be a good restaurant owner. When you’re a great chef – and all these chefs on our show are really talented – you get a paycheck every week. And whenever your transfer is over, you check out and You are not responsible for pay, PNL, HR, staff problems, heat, electricity bills, rent management, furniture, broken refrigeration, cooling, stove and maintenance. Open the restaurant, you are responsible. It’s all for you. And you don’t get paid. So it’s like this kind of ridiculous equation that you have to swallow. ”

A chef never stops cooking

“I’ve been in the restaurant business for a long time, but my interest in cooking never waned. It’s like asking a musician if they don’t play the piano anymore. What I cook. The range is my piano. I stay there every day with my kids, and I cook for the family every day. I am always working to sell recipes and projects and retail items. Everything has to do with what is around the table and in the kitchen. My passion for food brings me to the forefront of this business. “

Why we need more restaurants than ever before

“Whether you’re a lawyer or you’re a coder, you want to go to the most popular restaurants and you want to have fun. You want to go out and have a drink. You want to go to a place where you can forget your stress and enjoy it. That’s my job. And when I want to go out, I’m the same. I want to have a good time, so I like to try to help these entrepreneurs. I came out and learned a lot of valuable lessons. So I want to give back as much as I can, and what a great way to do it with all these great American chefs. “

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His advice to young restaurant owners

“If I just started out as a restaurant, I’d go after a guy like Danny Meyer – a real Nut and Bolts guy who’s done it a million times before and can do it in his sleep.” I would say, ‘Listen, I want to open my own restaurant. I’ll take whatever agreement you want. Just everything that I don’t know how to do. And if the first one is successful, we will change the agreement of the next one. ‘ That’s what I used to do. I advise people to do this because, look, one hundred percent is much better than 10 percent wet dry. “

Build a place where people want to be

“Hire people who are self-respecting, who behave very well and who have urgent feelings. They are the best people. And you can’t teach it. Come to me and say, ‘I’ve never worked in a restaurant before. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I love this business. I want to commit suicide. ‘ It’s a much better statement to me than this, ‘I worked at Le Sarket, I worked at Daniel, I was the chef here, and blah, blah, blah.’ Anyone can learn this business, because hospitality is very basic. You learned it from your grandmother, didn’t you? Going to your grandmother’s house, do you doubt whether you will be well fed and taken care of? It’s going to be warm, you’re going to have a drink right now, and everything will be perfect and ready when you get there. No doubt. And that’s, in short, the restaurant business. “

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