Eric Ziebold is a current darling of Washington, DC, which is only fitting given his refreshingly patriotic approach to fine dining. Born in Ames, Iowa, Ziebold grew up in a household where his mother made corned beef tongue in the basement and pickled her own green tomatoes. His restaurant CityZen in DC riffs on Midwestern classics such as Parker House rolls and a griddled sweet corn cake, a mainstay on the dessert menu with white corn ice cream and blueberry compote.
Ziebold dropped out of college to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America, externing at the New York location of Spago (which no longer exists) before working at Vidalia, a Southern-American restaurant in DC. He then moved to the West Coast to work with Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, moving up to become chef de cuisine after only three years in the kitchen.
Ziebold returned to DC in 2004 as executive chef at CityZen, where the menu features American ingredients executed with a light French touch, and a farm-to table approach. He was named one of 2005's Best New Chefs by Food & Wine, and won a James Beard Award in 2008. CityZen was also named one of Gayot's top 40 restaurants in 2011. Along with CityZen, Ziebold runs its sister restaurant Sou'Wester in the Mandarin Oriental.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ziebold wrestled in high school, and before matches he would wander the grocery store the night, making lists of everything he would be able to eat after the weigh-in.