The Career Geoffrey Zakarian Would Have Pursued If He Wasn't A Chef

Geoffrey Zakarian has been an important fixture in the American culinary world for more than 30 years. Though many know him only through his appearances on shows like "The Kitchen," "Chopped," and "Iron Chef," he has been influencing food and dining since 1987 when he became executive chef of the iconic 21 Club in New York and other influential restaurants, including 44 and Patroon (via Serendipity Social).

Zakarian, a "master of modern American cuisine, hit it big in 2001 with his first restaurant, Town, which earned three stars from the New York Times (via Food Network). He then struck gold for a second time with Country, earning himself another three-star review and a Michelin star (via Serendipity Social). Zakarian also served as culinary director at The Plaza Hotel and opened a couple more restaurants, including The Lambs Club and The National in New York City.

What even Zakarian's biggest fans might not know, though, is that his creative talents stretch beyond the kitchen. The author of several cookbooks (per Goodreads) said that his musical abilities almost led him to an entirely different career. When the Food Network asked Zakarian what he would be if he hadn't pursued a career in food, his answer was concert pianist.

Geoffrey Zakarian would have pursued a career in music

Classically trained pianist Geoffrey Zakarian shared his piano talent on Twitter recently and still enjoys playing in his downtime (per Bespoke Concierge). The way Zakarian describes a restaurant experience has a musical quality to it. "I knew I had a little bit of talent with the cooking, but I loved seeing the drama unfold in the front of the house with diners coming in, the ambience, the experience. That is really what I fell in love with," he told the magazine.

In April of 2020, when a locked-down New York City was losing hundreds of people every day to COVID-19 (per New York Times), Zakarian played the piano in a Facebook post he dedicated to the city. "My love for New York and my love for music go hand in hand. In difficult times like these, my heart is with New Yorkers," he wrote in the caption. "Each neighborhood just means something. It resonates in a different way, and I hear it musically. Whether it's jazz in the Village or Upper West Side classical." He went on to perform a piece by Bach, which he described as "a bit sad" but "okay."

Also in 2020, Zakarian told Us Weekly that he sometimes thinks of his kitchen as his piano. He said, "It's where everything happens. I play my music, which is food."