Geoffrey Zakarian says everyone always thinks his wife (and business partner) Margaret dresses him—but the chef insists there’s “not a chance” he’d let her.
“She won’t dare buy me anything because I return everything she buys me,” he says with a laugh in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday. “I’ve been like this my whole life.”
Early in his career, he says, “I would show up to events and I would be the only guy in a suit and tie and people were like, ‘What are you doing?’ I would get all this attention for dressing up and I’m like you know what, I’m going to stay dressed up.”
“So I’m the stylish guy now,” says the star of Food Network’s Chopped, The Kitchen and Cooks vs. Cons, adding the only downside—aside from a packed (yet highly organized) closet full of his favorite Tom Ford designs—is now people except a certain level of attire from him.
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Zakarian, 56—who recently opened his latest restaurant Georgie and the Garden Bar at the Montage Beverly Hills—says his fashion-forward nature was largely influenced by his late father, George, an orchestra trombonist.
“My father was in a suit and tie everyday, so it rubbed off,” he says. “You wouldn’t think of coming to the dinner table underdressed. It was unthinkable.”
Growing up in an Armenian-American household that smelled “perpetually like garlic,” an emphasis on food and family also rubbed off on Zakarian. Now, every morning the restaurateur makes an “extravagant” breakfast for his three kids, Madeline, 9, Anna, 7, and George, 2. “That’s our family time,” he says.
“I like the kids to understand the noise and the smell of the kitchen while they’re hanging around or playing on a game,” he says, “because it really gets into your body then that’s the memory. Basically, we just create memories for them.”
For more on Zakarian—including an exclusive recipe from his new restaurant Georgie—pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.