Geoffrey Zakarian the star chef at TCC’s Cleaver and Cork

by Tallahassee Table

Tallahassee Table talked with the famed chef for an exclusive interview about his passion for the craft, his advice for young people — and most of all, his family. The full interview appears in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Renowned chef Geoffrey Zakarian — chef, author, TV host and judge, restaurateur, philanthropist, businessman and James Beard Award winner — will be the headliner at the 2021 Clever and Cork, the premier culinary event sponsored by the Tallahassee Community College TCC Foundation in March 2021. This year, proceeds will benefit TCC’s athletic program.

“Chef Zakarian has been at the top of my list since the very beginning,” said Heather Mitchell, executive director of the TCC Foundation, making the announcement today. “With each new year, we look to up the star power, and I think we’ve accomplished just that – and then some.”

Zakarian, who had been a judge on Chopped for 12 years, will be the latest Food Network superstar to visit the capital city for the annual fundraiser. Previous Cleaver and Cork dinners have drawn Chefs Amanda Frietag, Marcus Samuelsson and Alex Guarnaschelli.

Zakarian’s current restaurant empire includes restaurants in New York City and Point Royal and County Point in the The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood. His restaurants are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, but the man is still “crazy busy.”

Zakarian is known for his television career on Food Network, including his ongoing role as co-host of “The Kitchen” and his 46-season tenure as a judge on “Chopped”. He also has a growing line of gourmet foods and culinary tools for the home cook and serves as Chairman of the City Harvest Food Council, a food rescue organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City.

Cleaver and Cork will include a virtual cooking demonstration if you don’t want to attend in person, limits to class size, and social distancing, said Mitchell.

I had a chance to talk with Zakarian, who has just finished a family cookbook with his kids. Here’s more about the chef and all the events planned for Cleaver and Cork in the Democrat. Photo credit: Geoffrey Zakarian

Here are the Cleaver and Cork event

Progressive Cocktail Party

Sunday, February 28 | 1:00 –5:00 PM

The Progressive Cocktail Party will kick off the four-part experience in advance of welcoming Chef Zakarian to Tallahassee. On Sunday, February 28, five local restaurants will host a private party, each offering a different course and wine pairing that includes their own unique spin on Zakarian’s recipes. 

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian

Here are the Cleaver and Cork events

  • Cooking Demonstration

Thursday, March 4 | 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Turner Auditorium at Tallahassee Community College

444 Appleyard Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32304

On Thursday, March 4, Geoffrey Zakarian will be live in action at the Cooking Demonstration sharing his tips and tricks featuring recipes from his cookbooks including “The Family that Cooks Together”, “Cast Iron Cooking: The Dutch Oven”, “My Perfect Pantry” and “Town | Country”.

  • Signature Dinner

Friday, March 5 | 6:00 – 9:30 PM

TCC Lifetime Sports Complex at Tallahassee Community College

444 Appleyard Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32304

The Signature Dinner is the premier culinary experience, which will take place on Friday, March 5. The exclusive dinner with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian will feature a four-course meal curated specifically for the event with each course paired with sommelier-selected wines from around the world.

  • Food and Wine Festival

Saturday, March 6 | 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

306 S Duval St, Tallahassee, FL 32301

New to this year’s lineup, the Food and Wine Festival will take place on Saturday, March 6 on Kleman Plaza. The festival will include local food vendors and wine tastings, as well as feature cooking demonstrations by Chef Zakarian and other talented local chefs. 

From the Cleaver and Cork release:

This year’s events are sponsored by Moore, Capital City Bank and Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

“At the TCC Foundation, the health and safety of our guests is our top priority,” shared Mitchell. All events will adhere to State of Florida event guidelines and CDC health guidelines.

All proceeds from Cleaver and Cork will benefit the Tallahassee Community College Foundation’s Athletics Program. 

“The funds from Cleaver and Cork provide us the opportunity to further elevate educational program opportunities, scholarships, and teaching and learning facilities,” explained Mitchell. “I’m so proud of the work we’ve been able to do but the truth is, we’re just getting started.”

For more information on Cleaver and Cork or to purchase tickets, visit

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