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."

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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." 

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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.

Season 1, Episode 1

You Can't Phone In a Chicken!

Eight chefs begin a grueling test to win chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian's support in opening their own restaurant. First, Geoffrey gets to know each chef through their food, asking them to make one bite that best represents their restaurant concept. One competitor is sent home based on their bite. Then Geoffrey tests the chefs' cooking ability by asking them to make a roast chicken and side dish in the style of their restaurant. The challenge is harder than it seems, and the chef who is bested by a basic chicken is eliminated.

Tuesday
Apr 5
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 1

You Can't Phone In a Chicken!

Eight chefs begin a grueling test to win chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian's support in opening their own restaurant. First, Geoffrey gets to know each chef through their food, asking them to make one bite that best represents their restaurant concept. One competitor is sent home based on their bite. Then Geoffrey tests the chefs' cooking ability by asking them to make a roast chicken and side dish in the style of their restaurant. The challenge is harder than it seems, and the chef who is bested by a basic chicken is eliminated.

Sunday
Apr 10
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 1

You Can't Phone In a Chicken!

Eight chefs begin a grueling test to win chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian's support in opening their own restaurant. First, Geoffrey gets to know each chef through their food, asking them to make one bite that best represents their restaurant concept. One competitor is sent home based on their bite. Then Geoffrey tests the chefs' cooking ability by asking them to make a roast chicken and side dish in the style of their restaurant. The challenge is harder than it seems, and the chef who is bested by a basic chicken is eliminated.

Monday
Apr 11
2am | 1c
Season 1, Episode 5

The Very Worst Possible Day!

The final three chefs tackle the front of the house, each taking a turn running their own restaurant. But what they don't know is that Geoffrey Zakarian has filled the restaurant with actors causing havoc, and he wants to see how the chefs react on their worst day. Which aspiring restaurateur can stand the heat, and who will get out of the kitchen?

Tuesday
May 3
10:04pm | 9:04c
Season 1, Episode 5

The Very Worst Possible Day!

The final three chefs tackle the front of the house, each taking a turn running their own restaurant. But what they don't know is that Geoffrey Zakarian has filled the restaurant with actors causing havoc, and he wants to see how the chefs react on their worst day. Which aspiring restaurateur can stand the heat, and who will get out of the kitchen?

Wednesday
May 4
1:04am | 12:04c
Season 1, Episode 6

It's Yours to Lose!

In the competition finale, Geoffrey Zakarian lets each of the final two chefs do a full restaurant takeover, setting up their restaurant with a full staff and real diners (including Geoffrey, of course). Both chefs may succeed in showing their stuff, but only one will earn Geoffrey's investment of time and energy. It's time to find out who is the next great restaurateur.

Tuesday
May 10
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 6

It's Yours to Lose!

In the competition finale, Geoffrey Zakarian lets each of the final two chefs do a full restaurant takeover, setting up their restaurant with a full staff and real diners (including Geoffrey, of course). Both chefs may succeed in showing their stuff, but only one will earn Geoffrey's investment of time and energy. It's time to find out who is the next great restaurateur.

Wednesday
May 11
1am | 12c

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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