NEW YORK (Total Food Service) — Geoffrey Zakarian could never be accused of having idle hands or resting on his laurels.
He trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York before working under Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque in the 1980s. Fast forward 30 years and Zakarian is a published author, owner of six restaurants and a hospitality company in addition to his TV appearances as a judge on “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America.”
The Massachusetts native’s latest endeavor is the Broadway Jazz Fest, a brunch series where attendees can enjoy a great meal at the Lambs Club in Manhattan while watching some of Broadway’s brightest stars perform show tunes and jazz standards. The series consists of six Sunday performances that kicked off with Tony Yazbeck from the Broadway show “Neverland.”
Where did this idea come from? What was the inspiration behind it?
Since opening The Lambs Club has been a supporter of the Broadway community in part because of our location but also because of the history of the building. We have worked with many shows throughout the years and because of our existing live music programming we felt that combing the two was a perfect fit.
Why is a series like this important to you?
It is always important to me to be a part of the communities that my restaurants are in, and as a New Yorker the arts have always played an important role in my life.
How did you come to decide on a charity to donate funds to?
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS does such great work. It has always been a charity The Lambs Club supports and is a near and dear charity to the entire Broadway community. It was a natural fit.
Did you decide on who you wanted for Broadway musicians or did you have someone finding top talent?
We collaborated with the advertising, marketing and branding agency Spotco, who represent many of the leading Broadway shows.
What makes the Lambs Club an ideal place for this sort of event series?
Since its inception six years ago The Lambs Club has supported up and coming New York City artists through events, hosting them post-show and weekly music nights. The arts community feels endeared to the restaurant and bar as it is a place that they often call “home” when they are away from their own home.
When you say you are curating, to what point are you involved in things like menus and drinks?
As chef partner, I oversee every aspect of the food and beverage, as well as guest experience. I have a great team in the kitchen and front that makes it all come to life. It is just like a Broadway show every day. We all work together to get ready for “curtain!”
Is this the first year of the event? If so, what are the plans for the future?
This is the inaugural year of what we hope will be an annual series for the Broadway community and enthusiasts to enjoy.