Q&A: Next Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian

We won't hold it against last night's Next Iron Chef winner Geoffrey Zakarian that he won the honor at the expense of Food Republic co-founder Marcus Samuelsson. In fact, we may even head over to the Lamb's Club in Manhattan later to toast his victory.

What's the first thing you did after learning you were the next Iron Chef?

Had a glass of champagne!

Part of what helped you win was your grace under pressure—how do you stay so calm?

I have the tremendous support of my family. They have my back. So all I have to do is cook!

What do you think home cooks can learn from watching your performance on Iron Chef?

Never be afraid to fail. Embrace it when it comes and learn.

It seems like being an Iron Chef comes with some responsibility; how do you plan on handling your role as one of the few Americans to obtain the honor?

Practice practice practice! Now the hard part comes.

How do you feel about the fact that you'll now be much more recognizable in the streets—and in your restaurants?

It's really delightful that more guests will visit my restaurants The Lambs Club and The National in New York and Tudor House in Miami. I am flattered.

Speaking of Zakarian's restaurants, if you happen to be in NYC or Miami tonite and want to get in on the Iron Chef action, he's offering the following deals:

The National Bar & Dining Rooms* is celebrating the victory with specials drawn from Zakarian's "Next Iron Chef" creations. These include Salmon Tartare with Lemon Aioli, Chinese Long Bean and Cucumber ($15), Avocado One Eyed Susie with Shrimp, Grits and Lobster Sauce ($17) and Filet Provençal with Olives, Capers and Red Wine Reduction ($35). All of these dishes will be available on December 20 through December 31. In addition, all dinner guests on Monday, December 19 will receive a complimentary glass of champagne. (*Website is down; info is 557 Lexington Ave., 212.715.2400).

The Lambs Club is celebrating Zakarian's victory by adding his Mad Man Cosmopolitan from the finale to the menu from December 19 through December 31.

Tudor House in Miami is celebrating the victory with specials drawn from Zakarian's "Next Iron Chef" creations. These include an amuse bouche of Halibut Crudo with Coconut, Lime and Olive Oil, Truffle Scramble Eggs ($28) and Caramel Pork Belly with Artichokes Bariguole ($24). All of these dishes will be available through December 31.