Go Behind the Scenes 3 Videos

GZ previews what's to come this season and shares his thoughts on what it takes to succeed in the restaurant industry today.

GZ's Guide to Cooking Like a Pro

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Stock Your Kitchen — But Don't Go Overboard

"A professional chef needs to always have the best of the best, not the most of the average. If you have 500 things, you don’t need them. You need one hundred things," Geoffrey says.

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Invest in Quality Ingredients

Take it from Geoffrey: "You need to have the proper salt, pepper, vinegars, olive oils and the base ingredients to do your cooking proud." 

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Don't Be Afraid to Season Heavily

"You can always tell a con or a home cook because they underuse salt and pepper," explains Geoffrey. "They don’t have it next to them cooking, and they are very shy with salt and pepper."

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Cook Within Your Comfort Zone

Geoffrey says that his advice for Cooks vs. Cons competitors is simple, "Do what you can do. Season it well. Don’t try to impress us. We are very impressed by your well-cooked egg. We are not impressed by your messed-up chicken." Those lessons work well for home cooks too — straightforward dishes are often the best bet.

Make Sure You've Mastered the Basics

"Start with breakfast, go to lunch, go to dinner," notes Geoffrey of how to grow as a cook. "Eggs, salads, roasts."

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Hone Your Skills

"If you’re going to cook in the kitchen two to three times a day, which is a lot, you need to know how to boil, fry, saute, roast, braise and make a great vinaigrette," explains Geoffrey. "If you can do that, you can feed the family very easily and with a very reasonable budget." 

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Remember the Souffle Mantra: Room-Temp Eggs Are Key

"Souffles expand as they bake, and, if you have a cold egg, the egg whites won’t expand," Geoffrey says. Also, he notes the importance of using salt, vinegar or cream of tartar to help that process along.

There Are 3 Secrets to Succulent Steak

Not only should the beef be at room temperature before you start cooking, but the grill should be very hot, he explains. And afterwards, let the steak rest for 10 minutes before you cut it. That will ensure the juices redistribute, which will result in a moist, tender steak. 

Photo By: Emile Wamsteker ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Want More Cooks vs. Cons?

Check out Food Network's Cooks vs. Cons headquarters for more expert tips from Geoffrey and to test your culinary chops in brand-new quizzes.

About the show

Chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian is looking for the next rising star in the restaurant world. He invites eight emerging chefs to his home base in Florida to see who has what it takes to run their own dream restaurant, and there's a $250,000 investment of his time and expertise on the line. With the help of his wife and business partner, Margaret Zakarian, and his former executive chef Eric Haugen, Geoffrey puts the competing chefs through increasingly grueling challenges, from making their "moneymaker dish" to presenting their restaurant concepts to dealing with unruly customers. He also gets to know each chef on a personal level to choose the right fit for him and his team.

About the Host

Geoffrey Zakarian

Geoffrey Zakarian, a master of modern American cuisine, has presided over some of the country’s top kitchens in the past 25 years. Currently, Geoffrey is chef/partner at The Lambs Club and The National in New York City as well as at Point Royal and Counter Point at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL.

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