This Is Geoffrey Zakarian's Ultimate Secret Ingredient

Celebrity chef, restaurateur, television host, and cookbook author Geoffrey Zakarian is nothing short of an icon in the celebrity food world. And it's not just because of the snazzy suits he wears in the kitchen. A student of classic French cuisine (he worked under the famous Alain Sailhac at Le Cirque in New York City), Zakarian is admired by fans and fellow chefs for his refined palette and expertise (via Montage Magazine). As a host of "The Kitchen" and a judge on "Chopped," he's always eager to share his wealth of culinary knowledge with others, frequently offering tips on how to make even the most ordinary of dishes taste like pure luxury. 

While Zakarian always emphasizes using high-quality ingredients in every dish (via Insider), the celebrity chef told Food Network there's one ingredient, in particular, that he considers his ultimate secret weapon: French salted butter. In fact, "The Kitchen" host is such a big fan of the stuff he reportedly always has it on hand in his fridge — alongside other classically French ingredients, of course, like whole grain mustard and savory herbs (via AOL). "It's my go-to in finishing sauces, mostly fish," he told Food Network. 

Zakarian says a good quality French salted butter can transform a dish

Using salted butter can enhance other flavors in a dish in ways unsalted butters and oils cannot, so it makes sense that Zakarian is a fan. But that still leaves us with another important question: Why French salted butter specifically? Well, it turns out his preference isn't just because he's trying to sound fancy. "French salted butter is so creamy and amazing, and the salt adds such a luxurious richness to any sauce," he explained to Food Network

Geoffrey Zakarian is definitely not imagining things. As The New York Times pointed out, butter produced in France completely different than the stuff made in the USA. This is because in France, butter is required to contain a minimum of 82% fat, which is slightly higher than the 80% fat requirement for butters produced in the U.S. Even though on paper that 2% difference seems trivial, it makes all the difference when it comes to taste. Sample some French salted butter and you'll immediately recognize it's more flavorful than the stuff you can buy in your local grocery store dairy section. Should you get your hands on some, follow Zakarian's advice and use it in the sauce for seafood dishes, like his Dover sole Meuniere (via Food Network) or top it over a ribeye steak (via Food Network) for a meal that you'll be talking about for months to come.