If you have culinary aspirations of being a great chef, it would be wise to look to the Food Network to find appropriate foodie mentors.

Zakarian at the 2012 New York Comic Con

The Food Network has an abundance of culinary talents, there is no doubt; however, one that springs to mind, especially considering it is his birthday, is the wonderful Geoffrey Zakarian.

Zakarian, born on July 25, 1959 in Worcester, Massachusetts, proved his culinary calibre when, in 2011, the restaurateur, television personality and author, joined the ranks of the Iron Chefs when he won the rigorous competition “The Next Iron Chef.”

Further to being known as an Iron Chef, Zakarian is a regular judge on the Food Network’s popular culinary series “Chopped.”

With talents apparent in the online series “Chopped: After Hours,” the Worcester born Iron Chef is the executive chef of several restaurants. These restaurants Zakarian works for are in New York, Atlantic City and Miami.

Every great journey begins with a single step. The step Zakarian took towards culinary greatness came after he graduated from Worcester State University with a degree in economics. He took a well-earned trip to France. This is when Zakarian arrived at the decision to become a chef.

Not long thereafter, Zakarian attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he worked on and graduated with an associate’s degree. This was the beginning of his culinary career.

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Shain E. Thomas, recently graduated with an M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Texas, is currently working on an M.Sc. in Library Science. Shain, the senior editor of "Harsh Light," is also the U.S. Correspondent for "The Welshman" and a regular contributor to the "North Texas Daily."