You can find chef Geoffrey Zakarian at the supermarket at least once a day.
“I tend not to put too much in the fridge. But it’s all fresh,” he says. “I shop twice a day, sometimes once a day, but usually twice a day. I keep the basics: whole milk, whole yogurt, good wine, fresh juices, a lot of herbs, tons of mustards.”
“You buy for two days and that’s it,” he adds. “Then you get off your ass and you go to the store and you get the next days.”
So when the Chopped judge is home cooking dinner in his New York City apartment for his wife Margaret and their three kids, Madeline, 9, Anna, 7, and George, 2, you better believe he’s using the freshest, high-quality ingredients.
For our exclusive video series What I Really Cook for Dinner, Zakarian gives PEOPLE a tour of his Midtown space and whips up a “very simple recipe” perfect for a weeknight meal. All you need for his tomato gazpacho is a blender and a few simple ingredients.
“Basically it’s called a dump and stir,” says the restaurateur, who recently opened his latest restaurant Georgie and the Garden Bar at the Montage Beverly Hills. “We’re going to dump everything into this blender, turn on the button and stir it together.”
Zakarian pairs the cold soup with a deliciously melty brioche grilled cheese — which he calls “the mother of all sandwiches.”
“Real cheese, real butter, real bread,” he says, “real love.”
Geoffrey Zakarian’s Tomato Gazpacho with Brioche Grilled Cheese
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes
1 cup English cucumber, peeled
½ cup red onion chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 clove garlic
½ tsp. cumin
4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
½ tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
Brioche grilled cheese (recipe follows)
1. Combine the peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Puree on high and emulsify the oil into the soup by pouring in slowly.
2. Season the soup with red wine vinegar and adjust the consistency with the tomato juice.
3. Season the soup and chill.
4. Serve the soup in a bowl with the grilled cheese sandwich.
Brioche Grilled Cheese
Makes: 1 sandwich
2 slices brioche
2 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 oz. gruyere cheese (shredded or 1 slice)
1 oz. sharp cheddar (shredded or 1 slice)
1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
2. Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread.
3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the buttered bread, dry side up. Place the cheeses on one slice of bread only.
4. When the toast begins to brown, place the pan in the oven until the cheese has melted.
5. Remove the pan from the oven, and take out the slices. Flip one slice onto the other. Slice in half and serve.
For more on Zakarian—including an exclusive recipe from his new restaurant Georgie—pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.