Sign in to comment!

Food & Drink

Donald Trump deposed in lawsuit against chef Geoffrey Zakarian


Donald Trump has sued Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian for pulling out of a restaurant deal at the real estate developer's new property in Washington. (AP File Photos)

On Thursday, Donald Trump was deposed in his lawsuit against Food Network star and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian

Protestors were seen awaiting the arrival of the presumptive GOP nominee outside the law offices of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, the attorneys representing Zakarian in Washington.

Food Network star Zakarian, who is Armenian-American, had planned to open a restaurant, The National, in Trump's latest hotel project-- a redevelopment of the Old Post Office building in the nation's capital. 

In July, the presidential hopeful made disparaging remarks about Mexicans during the campaign, including that Mexico was sending criminals and "rapists" to the U.S. Zarkanian then pulled out of his deal, citing a "potential drop in customer base and negative impact on their employees stemming from Trump’s comments," according to CNN.

"We share a different set of morals and values," Zakarian told Metro in March of his stance on Trump. "My whole life is spent with Mexican-Americans. Seventy-five percent of my staff is Mexican-American. They're my backbone. That's a family. ... I stand by what I did. I'm very happy I did it. I sleep very well at night."

Trump is also engaged in a similar lawsuit with Spanish-American chef Jose Andres. The ThinkFoodGroup co-founder was also set to open a restaurant in the Old Post Office Pavilion but after more than 2,600 people signed a petition calling on the chef to cancel the deal in the wake of Trump's comments, the chef cut ties with the project. 

Andres, who became a U.S. citizen in 2013, denounced Trump’s comments as “inflammatory.”

“As a proud Spanish immigrant and recently naturalized American citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status,” said the chef in July.

Many in the culinary world also saluted Andres decision to pull out of the potentially lucrative deal.

In August, Trump sued both Andres and Zakarian for breach of contract after pulling out of their respective restaurant projects. Both chefs have since filed counter claims.