Zack Ghidotti, from Tucson, Arizona, started cooking early in his life. Tucson is one of two UNESCO cities of gastronomy in the United States, and this rich food culture influenced him greatly. Beginning his cooking career at the age of 15 in a pizza joint, he was able to realize his natural ability and passion for the craft. He worked in Tucson, learning various cuisines, until he was 24 years old.
In 2011, Zack felt he needed to experience more in his field than Tucson could provide and bought himself a one-way ticket to San Francisco to move to Sonoma. In Wine Country he worked at multiple Michelin Guide recommended Farm-to-Table restaurants, including a Michelin Bib Gourmand winning restaurant, Backyard. There he worked closely with Daniel Kedan, who was on the opening team of Thomas Keller’s, Adhoc.
It was in Sonoma that Zack’s culinary passions also became side projects. He spent his free time working on the side, hand-farming organic produce at a local farm and helping raise livestock for restaurant distribution. This, coupled with his work as a chef, embedded him within the local culinary community.
It was during this season of his career that he received much of the pivotal hands-on training that would shape it. Learning the reality of farming, whole animal butchery, and culinary technique showed him how much work goes into just one diner’s plate. Being in such a rich agricultural area shaped his ethos around a deep appreciation for community farmers, fishermen, and clean local ingredients.
Five years later, Zack moved back to Tucson to share his knowledge and expertise. He spent a few years working as an Executive Chef and wanted to push himself in a different way. In 2018 he took a position as a Culinary Manager with Wholefoods where he was hand-selected to open multiple new stores and wine bars within the company all along the West Coast and Hawaii. After a year of traveling with the company, Zack longed to be back in a kitchen working for an Independent Restaurant again.
In 2019, he became the Chef and partner of a small culinary-focused microbrewery known as TenFiftyFive. While he was there, he was able to execute many of his culinary visions and passions. He also developed abilities to lead a team and unify community members. There he partnered with many farms and local artisans, including James Beard winning baker Don Guerra. It was with Guerra that Zack developed a bread program using spent grains from the brewery.
Unfortunately, the pandemic brought an end to TenFiftyFive’s acceleration in the culinary scene and in 2022, Zack and his wife made a plan to start over in a new city. They longed to be in a city with a heavy culinary focus, so they moved to Asheville. Upon arriving, Zack landed a position as a Sous Chef at James Beard winning Curate where he worked until June of 2023 where he joined as Sous of Avenue M.
Since Zack’s first day at Avenue M he has shown his creativity, passion, and leadership. Zack’s ethos is evident in each plate of food he produces as he focuses them around produce from small farms, NC & SC sustainably caught seafood, and local proteins. His background and experience from the West Coast is shown in small touches on the plate that help accentuate his dishes. In October of 2023, due to his leadership skills and expertise Zak was promoted to Executive Chef of Avenue M. We look forward to the future with Zack, as he spearheads a team and innovates his own dishes around the local fare that continues to be so important to him.