David Ziff chef/owner

David Ziff studied with Marcella Hazan, Diana Kennedy, Lydie Marshall and Virginia Lee, followed by intensive training at La Varenne in Paris.

Alan Bell partner

Alan met David at Syracuse University in 1964. They were involved in a few ventures, including selling cosmetics from their dormitory as well as selling Cutco knives during the riots in New York City in 1968. This has been their most successful venture to date.


DAVID ZIFF COOKING INC. was established in 1978 and, to date, has catered over 11,000 parties. We cater a wide range of events, including cocktail parties, buffets and seated dinners, for just about any occasion or number of guests.

We have an eclectic mix of private, corporate and non-profit clients. Our menu, also eclectic, includes Asian, Indian, Northern Italian, French, Mexican, Caribbean and American (including Southwestern and Cajun) cuisines. Our clients consistently praise us for our easy-going nature, our efficiency and our service. They rave about our food!

We have received the highest rating of any caterer in the Zagat NYC Marketplace Survey.

David enters NYU Law School
David passes bar exam
David takes his first cooking course (and finally puts down his law books)
May 1977
Alan secretly places ad in NYTimes for “David’s Dinners”
June 1977
Party #1: David caters first party
September 1977
Alan enters Columbia Business School
David’s Dinners becomes David Ziff Cooking Inc. and gets a rave review in New York Magazine
Party #681: DZC’s first Big Apple Circus Gala
Party #806 & Performance #3389: “A Chorus Line” becomes Broadway’s longest running musical, and DZC’s biggest bash to date
Party #1564: New York City Ballet Gala
Party #2056: Fall Antiques Show – Tribute to Ralph Lauren
Party #5000: DZC begins third decade with a celebration to thank clients and friends
Party #7000: DZC turns 25
Party #7628: New York City Ballet Nutcracker Family Benefit
Tenth annual Publicolor Benefit
Party #8676: Central Park Conservancy Halloween Ball
Party #9000: New York Times Neediest Cases
Party #9134: Citizens Committee for Children benefit for 1,000 guests at the MoMA
Wedding bells ring for David and Alan
Party #10,000: Valentine’s Day


Excerpt from Alan’s interview in New York Magazine’s New York Weddings, Spring 2005:
Tips: How Not to Drive Your Caterer, and Yourself, Crazy
Caterers can suffer the brunt of a couples’ wedding frustrations. You want a million tastings, but can’t narrow down your choices. Money is tight, but your heart is set on a full-course, sit-down meal. Alan Bell, partner in David Ziff Cooking, offers these tips on how to get the best out of your caterer.
Be Up-Front
Come with an idea of what you’re looking for. Don’t start by saying, “It’s up to you,” only to complain later that your wishes weren’t met.
Be Flexible
There are many factors that affect caterers, and sometimes a couple has to compromise because of price and/or location. Get over it, your wedding will be fantastic.
Be Reasonable
It’s a menu, not a magic wand. If you’re on a strict budget, a caterer can help you cut some corners, but if you want the meal of your dreams, you’ll have to sacrifice in other places. Order folding chairs instead of ballroom chairs; bring your own alcohol; forget about hand-blown glasses. There are ways to keep costs down, but don’t hope for the impossible.