Chef’s Corner With Chef Zakarian of The National NYC

Photo credit: Ron Cadiz

You read the reviews, listen to the praises from friends and colleagues, or happen to catch one of your favorite celebrities exiting that very spot you’ve been meaning to check out.

You know what the folks on the outside are saying, but have you ever gotten the story from someone on the inside?

journeyPod goes behind-the-scenes in Chef’s Corner with some of the country’s most esteemed, critically-acclaimed, award-winning (and naturally, our favorite) culinary masterminds to get the real scoop!

Iron Chef winner Chef Zakarian, of The National at the The Benjamin, invites us into his kitchen….

What is special about the cuisine at The National?

Well it’s really a neighborhood place with amazing product that is sourced from the best producers.

How has traveling influenced your flavors & recipes?

It always freshens up your perspective and invites playfulness. It definitely gets me out of my comfort zone.

Congratulations on winning Iron Chef, tell us about your experience, how did you celebrate?

It was amazing and rigorous -very physical and very gratifying! I celebrated with a party at The Lambs Club for all my close friends and family. Lots of champagne!

What are 3 things you can’t cook without?

Seal salt, vinegar, confidence

What would we find in your refrigerator at home?

Fresca, Greek yogurt, fresh berries, pecorino cheese, eggs, veggies, coconut water, homemade bolognese sauce, Sam Smith beer and Fiji water.

Do your friends call you for cooking advice? What comfort food of yours do they request?

Well not really. But anyone who knows me always enjoys my wine box full of Domaine Ott rose.

On your night off, where do you like to dine/drink in the city?

I enjoy going to Bond Street, Scarpetta and Buvette.

What advice would you give a cooking enthusiast?

Cook for the best chef you can for as long as you can, do not rush the process.

Would you kindly share one of your signature recipes with us?

Sure, one of the signature dishes from The National is our Ugly Burger:

Photo credit: Zagat

Burger (1 bun)

· 8oz Ground Beef Patty (preferably chuck, brisket, short rib blend)

· 1 thinly Sliced Tomato

· 2 leafs of Bib lettuce

* 1 slice of pickled Red Onion

* 5 pieces pickled Jalapenos

* 5 pieces pickled Kirby cucumber

· 1 Slice Gruyere cheese

* 1 Tablespoon NTL Burger Sauce

* 1 Onions Roll Bun Slice in Half

On a grill or hot sauté pan cook the patty until desired temperature (preferably Medium Rare), and place slice cheese on the top of the patty until it melts.

To assemble the burger:

Toast the bun and place one piece of lettuce on the bottom of the bun and the top of the bun. Next place the burger on the bottom followed by all the pickles, the sauce, the tomato and the top of the bun.

Check out the dinner menu at National!

Read our review of The Benjamin Hotel!


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