He’s no stranger to being the host, as his resume includes the title on the Food Network’s Chopped, The Kitchen and Cooks vs Cons. This weekend, chef restauranteur Geoffrey Zakarian is out of the kitchen and on the East End. Zakrian will be on the North Fork at McCall Vineyard & Ranch for the annual Harvest East End celebration. Dedicated to showcasing Long Island wine country and the area’s local food purveyors, entrance for the evening includes food and wine with presiding Chef Geoffrey. Before his hosting duties commence, Zakarian took some time to tell us what he’s most looking forward to and offer advice to this year’s participating chefs.
This is your second year hosting Dan’s Harvest East End. Now that you know a little of what to expect, what are you most looking forward to for the evening?
I loved spending time with the winemakers and local chefs. It’s incredible how the area has become a hot spot for not only wine, but food too. Meeting the people who made that happen is really what this event is celebrating after all.
With this being a celebration of Long Island wine country, what type of dishes do you think best complement the vinters’ work?
The produce and seafood is remarkable out here, especially this time of year. Anything that speaks to summer will naturally speak to the wines being served alongside it.
As an acclaimed chef yourself, if you were experiencing the festivities in that role, what would your approach be?
I would make something that’s easy to eat. Simple is best, especially when you only have one bite to experience someone’s food.
You’re the master of ceremonies for the night but if you were attending as a guest, what would your strategy be to make sure you got to enjoy all of the dishes and drinks presented?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint! It’s all about pace with these kinds of events. You don’t want to be so full in the first 20 minutes that you can’t enjoy the rest of the evening.
However friendly it may be there is an underlying sense of competition amongst the winemakers and chefs. That’s something you have some experience with after your time on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs and Chopped. What advice would you give to them?
Don’t worry about the others – if you focus on yourself, and you’re putting out the best product you possibly can, that’s all you or anyone else can ask for.
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