How a celebrity chef really celebrates New Year's Eve

Constructed from 2,688 Waterford crystals


Ready for 2017?

You might be a little tired from the winter holiday party scene but when it comes to celebrating New Year's, Food Network's Geoffrey Zakarian recommends ringing in a brand new season with a bang.

Zakarain wears many hats-- Iron Chef, restaurateur of The Lambs Club, Georgie and The National, Chopped judge-– but in his personal life, he is known for entertaining. So how do you put together an unforgettable bash? First, you need to set the scene. 


“It really comes from the lighting, the music and setting the ambience,” Zakarian tells But beyond the big picture, it's also essential to create signature touches that make your party stand out. 

“My wife insists on silver cowbells at each place. We all thought she was crazy the first year but now it is our signature. A few times before midnight, everyone starts ringing them - it's a great and unexpected thing to be part of. This giant flurry of noise and energy, just like New Year's itself.”

Once the scene is set and the decorations are ready, prepare the food. Zakarian believes the tone of the entire evening is set by the first bite.

“Start with making a few hors d'oeuvres in front of your guests to bring everyone around the kitchen island or into the kitchen.”

He points out that it shouldn’t just be beautiful to look at, but also smell great.  “Items with bacon, or a flat bread in the oven always does the trick. It gets people talking with each other, helping and engaged.” 

Special items are always welcome at a party but Zakarian advises not to get too crazy the night of. “Never make something for the first time on a special occasion night like this. Make a staple - no one else knows that you make it all the time.” He is adamant on this point because, “it will keep it low stress for you and you will be able to enjoy the party more.”


And while Zakarian might advise hosts to play it safe on the food, he has the opposite idea for the champagne-- what he considers to be the real star of New Year's Eve night. He is an advocate for magnums, those super size bottles that hold two full bottles of wine. “Immediately, the size of the bottle makes it festive and celebratory,” he says. If the magnums are too much to handle, his other favorite champagne tip is to have a variety of types.

“This gets the conversation going and often the guests learn something too. Find a nice wine shop nearby and ask for some "grower" champagnes. These will be from smaller producers and you will certainly find some new gems that you can enjoy seeking out for years to come.” Instead of breaking the bank on a few "designer" bottles, you might find some unique options guests will enjoy more.

So how is Zakarian ringing in 2017? The celebrity chef will be celebrating at his own restaurant, The Lambs Club in Times Square, which will, says Zakarian, have tons of champagne, an awesome DJ, a peek at the ball drop-- and then a late night of dancing.