Rising Star Restaurateur Jeff Zalaznick of Major Food Group - Biography

New York, NY

February 2015

Jeff Zalaznick was born and raised in New York, and always had a strong love of food. But he didn’t get into the industry right away. Instead, the Cornell grad went the route of investment baking for J.P. Morgan, later taking a job in guest relations at the Mandarin Oriental. But a creeping passion for food eventually asserted itself, and Zalaznick struck out on his own.

His first forays into food were web-based, AlwaysHungryNY.com and DinePrivate.com, the latter in collaboration with Joe Bastianich. But in 2010, just 27, Zalaznick met the guys who’d become his future collaborators: Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, hot off the opening of Torrisi Italian Specialties. The trio formed Major Food Group, building on Torrisi’s success with Parm (the first sandwich-focused concept to get two stars from The New York Times), and renovating Torrisi as a boutique tasting room.

The trio clearly had some productive chemistry, with Parm locations multiplying and fine-dining concept Carbone coming into fruition. And the hits didn’t stop coming. Next came Carbone in Hong Kong and ZZ’s Clam Bar,  Dirty French, and the Lobby Barback in New York. And they’re not finished. Coastal Italian Santina opened on the High Line, and upcoming projects span a bagel-centric bakery/restaurant to a further expansion of Parm—all while plaudits, and James Beard nominations, keep pouring in. In 2015, Zalaznick earned a StarChefs Rising Star Restaurateur Award for his work with Major Food Group.