Meet The Winner Of Geoffrey Zakarian's Big Restaurant Bet

"Big Restaurant Bet" just chose its first winner, and it certainly seems like it was a difficult decision. Geoffrey Zakarian serves as a judge, mentor, and investor on the show — ultimately granting the winner a grand prize of $250,000 to start their own restaurant.

Zakarian has extensive knowledge in the restaurant business — being the owner of The National Bar & Dining Rooms in New York City and The National by Geoffrey Zakarian in Dubai, UAE, according to his website. Furthermore, he runs his own restaurant consulting group, called Zakarian Hospitality Consulting, which has helped launch three eateries in the MacArthur Hotel in Sonoma, California.

To say the least, Zakarian can provide a wealth of resources to anyone who is interested in entering and building a business within the food industry. And one lucky entrepreneur, the winner of the "Big Restaurant Bet," now has Zakarian as one of her biggest supporters.

And the winner is: Alicia Watson

Alicia Watson, of Little Rock, Arkansas, has emerged as the 2022 "Big Restaurant Bet" champion, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The chef, who focuses on plant-based cooking, competed against Chef T in a final round, where they had to design a mockup of their "dream restaurant," (via Guilty Eats).

Watson designed a menu of plant-based crab cakes, mushroom scallops, panzanella, mushroom "chicken" satay, and sweet potato lentil bliss, which definitely impressed judges Eric and Margaret, along with Zakarian himself. She had previously worked as an occupational therapist, which sparked her interest in culinary wellness and plant-based cooking, according to Arkansas Online. Her Instagram bio, @vitoandvera, reads, "Chef, Entrepreneur & Winner #BigRestaurantBet @foodnetwork ... Culinary wellness brand redefining what it means to be plant based. #surprisinglyplantbased."

Watson had said in the past that her goal was to open up a deli-style bar that was plant-based (via Arkansas Times). Now, with Zakarian's financial backing and support, Watson can work towards making this dream come true.