Dan’s ClambakeMTK Countdown: Hosts Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian

Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian
Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian

Dan’s ClambakeMTK is back for its second summer at Gurney’s Seawater Resort & Spa in Montauk. Come out to The End for a special seaside celebration full of surf and turf, hosted by husband and wife duo Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian. Geoffrey Zakarian is a star of Food Network’s Chopped, The Kitchen, Cooks vs. Cons, co-author of My Perfect Pantry, restaurateur behind The Lambs Club, The National in NYC, The National in Greenwich, Georgie and The Garden Bar at Montage Beverly Hills, Point Royal and Counter Point at The Diplomat Beach Resort and The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City and co-creator of Pro For Home food storage container system. Margaret Zakarian is President of Zakarian Hospitality, co-author of My Perfect Pantry and co-creator of Pro For Home food storage container system. ClambakeMTK will be the fourth Dan’s Taste of Summer event Geoffrey Zakarian has hosted, but this will be the first time his wife will be joining him. As she proudly says about Geoffrey, “He can make anything! Impossible to stump—he’s an Iron Chef!”

Geoffrey is “looking forward to hanging out at Gurney’s! The setting is so beautiful. Give me a view of the ocean, some clams and ice-cold rosé—and I’m a happy guy!”

What should one wear to a Hamptons event on the beach?
Margaret: Nothing too fancy or fussy. Simple colors and, of course, a sweater or wrap in case the breeze picks up.
Geoffrey: Just because it’s on the beach, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look pulled together. You can dress for the sand and still look quite stylish.

What’s your favorite thing about Montauk?
Geoffrey: Its rough-around-the-edge nature. Nothing is overly manicured and you can feel and smell how the sea air has shaped the landscape.

What seafood dishes do you like to prepare at home?
Margaret: The kids are going crazy for spaghetti with clams so we’re attempting to make it all together this week for dinner one night.

Geoffrey, you’ve been both a judge and contestant on Food Network shows—how has this informed your approach to cooking and presenting food?
Geoffrey: It’s HARD when you’re in the hot seat. But having been the contestant has helped me be a better judge. I can see the pitfalls before they happen. Sometimes I want to yell at them to stop before they get too far down the line with a mistake on their hands!

Geoffrey, you worked in France for a long time, what foods and wines transport you back there?
Geoffrey: I worked at the Negresco in Nice when Jacques Torres was the pastry chef. It was an incredible time. Two things that bring it right back to me are Côte de Provence rosé and summer tomatoes.

What’s the best part of working as a team?
Margaret: The trust. Knowing that your business partner has true alignment in overarching goals is a very powerful thing.

What’s the greatest challenge in opening a new restaurant today?
Geoffrey: The cost of doing business. It’s crushing. The increase in fees, labor and insurance has been astronomical to all small businesses, not just restaurants.

What’s next for Zakarian Hospitality?
Margaret: I’m expanding Zakarian Hospitality to include retail products. Our line, Pro For Home, brings professional grade sensibilities into the residential kitchen for a home cook. We have storage containers that truly have revolutionized how to store food at home and next up is a very exciting electric goods machine for the kitchen. Additionally, we started a production company, Corner Table Entertainment, with Jaret Keller and Tara Halper of Key Group. We’re creating unscripted shows in the food, home and travel categories!

What do you like to serve to drink in the summertime? And what do you like to drink?
Geoffrey: Other than rosé, which we already mentioned, we love an Aperol Spritz.  It’s colorful, a crowd pleaser and a good way to kick off a summertime party.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your enjoyment of the East End of Long Island in summer?
Margaret: Lobster rolls, local farm stands, beach days and big long homemade dinners with friends.

A portion of proceeds from MonTaco and ClambakeMTK benefits The Retreat, which provides safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse and works to break the cycle of family violence.

Get tickets to Dan’s ClambakeMTK and all Dan’s Taste of Summer events at DansTasteofSummer.com.

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