Super Chef Journals: Geoffrey Zakarian

Get an inside look at the top-secret journal of the Next Iron Chef winner, Geoffrey Zakarian.
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Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

The Next Iron Chef

New York chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian prevailed in an intense holiday battle, earning himself a permanent spot among the Iron Chef greats.

Back to Day One

In the very first challenge, Chef Zakarian's talent and technique were apparent as he cooked in the wilderness. He and teammate Beau MacMillan took home the season's first win.

Wilderness Win

The judges especially raved over the artichoke barigoule served with one of their pork dishes, which Chef Zakarian outlined here in his journal.

Movie Madness

Chef Zakarian was not thrilled when Alton revealed movie candy as the key ingredient for a challenge: "The Chairman is getting very evil," he said.

Cinnamon Candy

With spicy cinnamon candies as his assigned ingredient, Chef Zakarian wrote out detailed prep lists for his two dishes: one sweet, one savory. His results were delicious: "It's like asking Mozart to play a kazoo in a marching band. Boy can you play a kazoo, because it's fantastic," said Simon Majumdar.

Improvise With Octopus

Another wacky challenge gave the crowd at a comedy club free reign to call out ingredients for the chefs to work with. They ended up with octopus, tortillas, kumquats and marshmallows. "I had a funny feeling that this was just another cruel joke," said Chef Zakarian.

Rare Miss

"This is the hardest challenge so far. Whatever the Chairman wants me to do, I'll give it my best," said Chef Zakarian. He made a breakfast dish that landed him in the bottom two.

To the Showdown

Chef Zakarian faced Chef MacMillan in Battle Coconut. His competitor was intimidated: "He's a little older than me and has a vast knowledge of technique. Bottom line is, it's him or me, and I'm going to have to come up with something big," said Chef MacMillan.

Battle Coconut

Although he'd been advised multiple times against doing two dishes, Chef Zakarian decided to supplement his hot dish with a cold crudo. Here, he outlines his prep for both dishes.

Coconut Clincher

It was a good thing that Chef Zakarian took the risk of making a second dish, because the crudo was the judges' favorite bite and it gave him the win and a chance to cook another day.

Back to New York

For the second leg of the competition, the chefs moved on to Chef Zakarian's hometown of New York City. For their first challenge, they cooked in Grand Central Station.

Times Square on a Plate

Each chef was assigned an iconic New York location to create a dish around. Chef Zakarian drew Times Square and created a New Year's Eve-inspired menu with not one but five different dishes.

Overreaching

Fortunately, Chef Zakarian's food was good enough to keep him in the competition despite his disregard for the rules. "The best and worst thing about Chef Zakarian is his inability to follow the rules," said Chef Guarnaschelli. "He never colored inside the lines and he never will."

Bidding on Wagyu

Next the chefs were presented with a culinary auction, and Chef Zakarian bid on luxury Wagyu beef. Although the judges loved the beef dish he outlined here in his journal, Chef Burrell's advantage allowed her to send a chef to the Secret Ingredient Showdown, and she selected him.

Karma

Chef Burrell herself ended up having the judges' least-favorite dish, so she faced Chef Zakarian in the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Panko and Ponzu

Chef Zakarian and Chef Burrell faced the toughest showdown yet: a battle of panko and ponzu that required them to make a dessert. With years of souffle-making under his belt, Chef Zakarian had a plan immediately. It saved him once again.

Welcome to Montauk

Chef Zakarian lived to cook another day and traveled with the final four chefs to Montauk, where a tough day awaited them. They had $500 to shop and cook a seafood tasting for 20 people.

Shopping List

Watching his budget carefully, Chef Zakarian made a list for the grocery store, the farm stand and the fish market. He discovered that $500 did not go far in the Hamptons.

Racing the Clock

"My head is exploding, I just want to finish," said Chef Zakarian as he hustled to complete his three complex seafood dishes as the clock ticked down behind him.

Intense Prep

Chef Zakarian's seafood tasting was inspired by some of his favorite destinations: Chilled Sea Bass Salad from St. Bart's, Grilled Black Fish Minute Steak from Mykonos and Warm Scallop Sausage Sandwich from Brittany. He sketched the trio here in his journal.

Finished Plate

The judges deemed it all "sensational" and Chef Zakarian took home his biggest win yet: a ticket to the Kitchen Stadium finale.

In the Finals

Chef Zakarian secured his place in the final battle, so he got to watch the last Secret Ingredient Showdown unfold to see who his competitor would be. Chef Falkner ended up winning the slot.

The Winning Moment

"I don't know what to say," said the newly crowned Iron Chef. "I'm so thrilled. I'm so proud of myself right now. It's a culmination of everything I've done in the last 30 years working hard as a chef."

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The Next Iron Chef