Why Geoffrey Zakarian Doesn't Mind Bad Reviews

Remember that episode of "Friends" where Monica gets a bad restaurant review, confronts the critic in person, and forces him to re-taste her bouillabaisse? Well, you'd never catch Geoffrey Zakarian doing such a thing, because he doesn't mind bad reviews. The reason, he explained on "Late Night With Seth Meyers," is that he actually finds them helpful. The celebrity chef and restaurateur shared that he tends to remember bad reviews more than the good ones, not because they're offensive, but because they allow him to learn and to improve the quality of food that he serves in his restaurants.

As a well loved TV personality and respected chef, it may not seem like there would be any negative things to say about his cooking, but it hasn't always been well-received. He started off working as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant, and managed to work his way up to a chef spot at New York City restaurant Le Cirque, where for five years he'd clock in a hundred hours a week. Being reviewed on an "off-day" happened more than he liked, but Zakarian's approach to criticism has always been the same. "It's a very hard business, and I love it because you're alive every day. It's problem solving at the highest level," he shared with Harry & David.

Geoffrey Zakarian is friends with the person who wrote his worst review

Not only does Geoffrey Zakarian learn from his bad reviews, he also thanks the people behind them. Zakarian revealed to "Late Night" host Seth Meyers that he even wrote a whole letter to the critic responsible for writing the worst review he'd ever received. "He said to me, 'I've never gotten such a kind letter of such a bad review in my life,' Zakarian recalled of their exchange. "And we're friends to this day because he was right. All the stuff he said was right."

This approach to criticism is something Zakarian hopes to pass on to his restaurant staff too. Back in 2011, after getting a one-star review in The New York Times for his restaurant The National, Zakarian shared with Harry & David that he had to handle it strategically in order to keep morale up. "I went in and acted like we just got four Michelin stars. Like, 'Guys, this is fantastic!' I said that because it showed us exactly what we needed to work at and what we had to do to get to the performance level that we constantly strive for," Zakarian said in the interview. 

As it would seem, bad reviews aren't really that bad at all, at least according to Geoffrey Zakarian.