Classically trained in the art of French Cuisine, with ventures into the wide array of New American Cuisine, Chef Mazi presents an organic, foraged, local, & imaginative experience in both global cuisine & dining.
Zachary Mazi started cooking at age five, helping his mother prepare dinner for his younger sister, and himself. Given the duties of grinding spices and meats in old cast iron counter-top grinders, and making everything from scratch, he quickly found himself drawn not only to the intoxicating flavors, but to the art of service, heart, and love that goes into food.
The service industry was an obvious match. In 1994, Zachary got his first job in the restaurant industry, at 15 years old. He has not looked back since... but that is not to say that singular focus has been a mainstay for Chef Mazi... after exploring in-depth the edible & medicinal plants of the pacific northwest, traveling to Australia in 2003 to learn Permaculture Farming & habitat restoration, he returned to Oregon attend culinary school. As a native of Oregon, he quickly developed report with local foragers, farmers and chefs & chef-instructors alike, and began to absorb as much as he could from everyone around him.
Let thy Food be thy Medicine
After working under a large number of chefs, from Paia (Maui), HI, to baking for a Jewish Delicatessen, working in numerous fine-dining catering operations, exploring Tuscan cuisine on a small 2-man line, to hunting for the delicious bounty of mushrooms that generous rains of Oregon provide, Zachary started to see a pattern in health and food. With the aid of Naturopathic Doctors, he began a health consulting business called Food Is Medicine, helping people with chronic ailments heal using food and the medicine within.
Drawing on the multitude of disciplines in his past, from soil health, to natural herbs, to proper cooking techniques, and a background in science that allowed proper analysis of health claims, Chef Mazi started seeing an even deeper underlying connection of food as medicine: medicine for health, medicine for culture, medicine for the earth, medicine for connection, medicine for community, medicine for the soul.
Santa Cruz, CA
Into the Deep End
In 2014, after moving from Oregon to Santa Cruz California, Chef Zachary took a seemingly simple step that exploded him on to the burgeoning culinary scene in an wakening sleepy beach town. Meeting local service sherpa Tighe Melville, the duo began the LionFish SupperClub. Beginning with a simple sit-down meal in the beachside backyard of Mr. Melville's house, LionFish soon expanded to monthly fine-dining PopUp meals creating a mystique & following that expanded rapidly.
In 2015, LionFish joined a new cooperative venture, The Santa Cruz Food Lounge, holding a PopUp counter service dinner every Tuesday, in which Chef Zachary would showcase cuisines from all over the world, with a completely new menu each week. Developing his penchant for Japanese (Ramen), Vietnamese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Italian, Portuguese, Malaysian, and more, Chef Zachary leapt from place to place by plate, earning a reputation of guaranteed good food at least once a week.
After a Ramen PopUp with lines lasting 2 hours, LionFish SupperClub assumed a new location in February 2016, and started a full service restaurant called Ulterior, atop the already popular MOTIV nightclub on busy Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. Utilizing the multitude of cuisines, the knowledge of mushrooms & foraged foods, sourcing organic, grass-fed & local products, utilizing modernist cuisine techniques, and employing his knowledge of special diets & allergy needs, Ulterior earned the esteemed award of BEST NEW RESTAURANT: RUNNER-UP in February of 2017 in the GoodTimes Weekly BEST OF SC Co. by popular vote.
Though the Ulterior Venture has come to a close, Chef Zachary Mazi now offers his latest incarnation The Food Bender, as the the summary of 35 years of food knowledge, cuisine curation, health, foodie-ism and everything in-between. Finding his love in cooking for high-powered coaching retreats, intimate gatherings, catering, and restaurant consulting, his expertise can be accessed at any time, and any where.