Before pursuing a career as a chef, Zak Pelaccio held a number of positions in the food industry. He ran his own food software business, trained as a manager with the Myriad Restaurant Group (owners of Tribeca Grill, Montrachet, and Nobu) and was a field producer for the Food Network. Finally in 1997, after working for six months as a cook in Malaysia and Thailand, he enrolled in the International Culinary Center.

After stints at The French Laundry, Daniel and executive chef turns in at 5 Ninth and Chickenbone Café (known for bringing local and sustainable cooking to Brooklyn), Zak opened Fatty Crab. An instant hit, the “funky Southeast Asian spot” not only received massive critical acclaim for the food, but also quickly garnered a loyal cult following for the overall experience. Fatty ‘Cue, an exotic take on traditional smoky Southern barbecue, soon followed. With the 2012 publication of Eat with Your Hands, he enabled home cooks to recreate the vibrant flavors of the now-closed restaurants.

In 2011, Zak Pelaccio founded The Cooking Room, an elementary school program that promotes food literacy to kindergarten through 5th grade students. With the generous help of the International Culinary Center, The Cooking Room created a 16-lesson curriculum that ties in with the Common Core and lessons already taught in the classroom, reinforcing students’ academic standards while also introducing a whole new world of flavors, cooking techniques and nutrition.

Now found in pastoral settings, Zak Pelaccio has taken his talents to the fertile Hudson Valley. He and his wife and partner, Jori Jayne, combine farming and cooking at their property in Old Chatham and their restaurant, Fish & Game, in Hudson, an area he calls a cozy urban oasis framed by farmland.


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