Born and raised in Los Angeles, Pollack’s culinary curiosity began over 6,000 miles away in Florence, Italy while studying abroad to pursue a degree in architecture from Brown University. Pollack credits the Florentine central market for instilling in him a passion for food so profound, it deflected his career trajectory straight into the kitchen. He returned to L.A. to work for celebrated chef Neal Fraser at GRACE, a temple of New American cuisine. Though Grace’s globally inspired menu and French technique intrigued Pollack, they also confirmed for him that his deepest culinary ambitions lay in Italian cuisine specifically.
Pollack’s newfound focus brought him back to Italy where he landed jobs and apprenticeships that ran the gamut from Michelin-starred ristoranti to a diminutive salumeria in Umbria and a lamb and pig farm in rural Sardegna. After nearly two years working and eating in each of Italy’s twenty regions, Pollack went back to his native Los Angeles and began working with chef David Myers at the venerable Sona restaurant. Pollack was both challenged and inspired by Sona’s avant-garde cuisine, and heavily influenced by Myers’ precision and clean style of cooking.
In 2011, Pollack partnered with chef Steve Samson to open Sotto, focusing on the regional cuisines of Southern Italy. Pollack played an integral role in authoring every aspect of the restaurant’s concept, from designing the space to executing its ever-evolving menu. Sotto garnered tremendous popular and critical acclaim including a spot on Esquire magazine’s ‘Best Restaurants in America’ list and earning the #1 honor in Los Angeles magazine’s ‘Best New Restaurants’ awards and has been featured in renowned national publications including Food + Wine magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, and the New York Times.
In 2014, he struck out on his own to open Alimento in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Pollack has been honored by esteemed publications, including as a ‘Rising Star’ by StarChefs and Restaurant Hospitality and on the prestigious ‘30 Under 30’ list by Forbes magazine, as well as Los Angeles Magazine’s “top 10 Best New Restaurants” and GQ’s “25 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2015.” In addition, Zach was nominated as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award in 2015.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award