New York Magazine

“I don’t think anybody in New York City makes better hors d’oeuvres than David Ziff does.”
—Food guru, Eli Zabar of the Vinegar Factory and Eli’s Manhattan

Zagat NYC Marketplace Survey

“These guys are top-notch, cheer fans of chef David Ziff and co-owner Alan Bell’s high end catering outift, known for culinary craftsmanship applied to a fantasic, globe-spanning variety of cuisines; impressive menus aren’t all that’s cooking here, though, since the service staff is always on top of things and it’s a real value given the quality.”

Tom Wolfe

“Thanks again for the outstanding food and service. Many compliments were directed your way by the grateful assembly. Special praise went to Ziff Chinoise.”

New York Magazine – 45 Hottest Caterers


   AFFAIRS TO REMEMBER: Private parties for

Howard Stringer; all parties for the New York City Opera; Wendy Wasserstein’s Hanukkah get-togethers. Tom Wolfe is a fifteen-year client.

Last year, Ziff did a dinner for Steve Rattner and Maureen White, but they got stuck in Washington, D.C., because the weather turned nasty. Maureen called Ziff and asked him to play host. “Everybody had a ball,” he says.

TRAY CHIC: Ziff’s innovative menus run the gamut from Mexican to Caribbean to southwestern to Chinese. “I’ve had people ask me to do things I refuse to do,” he says. “The twelve-foot-hero people. You tap the phone and say, `I think you’ve got a wrong number.’ ” Ziff likes to roll seared tuna in tortillas (with wasabi mayo) and stand them on end, like totem poles, on a tray. At a fundraiser where pictures were to be auctioned, Ziff used framed pictures as trays. When one couple had a “burn the prenup” party, Ziff hauled in a Duraflame log to do the honors. As for the menu, “we did a lot of grilled stuff,” Ziff says, laughing.

THE DISH: “I don’t think anybody in New York City makes better hors d’oeuvre than David Ziff does,” says food guru Eli Zabar, of the Vinegar Factory and Eli’s. “My mother loves him,” says Wendy Wasserstein. “That’s a great little latke he’s got going.”

New York Magazine

“I’m a food nut,” says former lawyer David Ziff. He sure is. Mr. Ziff has studied Mexican cooking with Diana Kennedy, Chinese cooking with Virginia Lee, and Italian cooking with Marcella Hazan. He’ll make you an Italian, Mexican, or Chinese dinner, or any combination thereof. He also admires Simca Beck and uses some of her recipes too. Mr. Ziff has been a good student, judging by the dinner I sampled one evening last spring. He made a perfect mozzarella in carrozza, light and beautifully fried. A cold shrimp bisque was tantalizing because of a whiff of curry. The main course, called chicken escargot (a braised chicken which had been stuffed between skin and meat with shallots, garlic, chicken livers, and parsley and scented with cognac), was a little less successful, in my opinion, but I’m not especially fond of the dish. Sinfully good was his dacquoise, made with two butter creams, chocolate, and praline between ground nut layers of meringue. by Paula Wolf


Dear David and Alan,
I just wanted to thank you for such an outstanding reception that you guys set up for us yesterday. With all the honesty, I was very surprised and shocked how professional and prompt you were, and how delicious the food was, I cannot point out a single item, that was not good, everything was very very delicious and also creative. And of course desserts were just perfect, which is so rare. I was very impressed with the quality of work that you did for us, the team was amazing: very professional and very friendly. What impressed me the most, is the passion that you, David and Alan have for cooking and the work that you do. David, thanks for decorating the wedding cake, it was today’s most discussed topic for lunch (lunch from the left overs). Alan thanks for being patient with us, and tolerating us. And thank you for your honesty! You guys would definitely make customers feel safe catering for them! It will be my pleasure to recommend you to friends and acquaintances as the best cater in NYC. Please give my best regards to the team.
-Tamara and Aleksandra


Thanks SO much for everything last night – the food was impeccable as usual and despite the last minute changes with the weather and such, all went off very smoothly. I really do appreciate your professionalism and willingness to be flexible in the heat of the moment. You, David and your staff are a pleasure to work with.


Hi Alan,
[Your] team [was] great, food great and we so appreciate having [you] organize everything. Several people asked about David Ziff Cooking and I’ve emailed them with your info today.

Dear David & Alan,

[We] want to thank you both so much for the perfect party. The food was delicious, your staff could not have been better, they were all wonderful. David not only do you have a great business, you are charming good man. I could have hugged you 10 more times that night! Thank you, thank you, thank you, to both of you.
-Tom & Jo


Hi everyone!
I keep hearing how great the food was today at the Luncheon. Thank you so much for creating a great menu for us! It’s always a pleasure working with everyone on the David Ziff Cooking team. It’s fantastic to feel confident things will run smoothly, and to have such great interactions with all of you.


Hi Alan,
I just wanted to thank you and your team for doing such a magnificent job! The party was a great hit and terrific fun. The food was amazing — I am still getting emails raving about it. And [the staff] [was] beyond superb. They were delightful and charming and exuded such calm confidence that I relaxed as soon as they arrived. They took care of absolutely everything and everyone, and made the evening flow seemingly effortlessly (by dint of a great deal of work). Not to mention leaving virtually no clean up for me — lovely. Most importantly, my mother was just beaming all evening. It was I think her best birthday ever, and she still sounds happier than she has in ages. So thank you, very much.


To the Chef, the “Arranger”, the staff – all those who made last night so successful. Only complaint: there are not enough left-overs but we’ll forgive you for that. And indeed, [we] can’t thank you enough for all you did to make last night the success it was. The phone calls have been non-stop and indeed, it seemed to be a very happy occasion and so many really appreciated it.
Many hugs,


Hi David,
I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was for me to have such a professional team to help me. Every time I turned around to get something done during set up, it had already been accomplished. The food was fabulous and the staff always up beat, which is very important to us. They stayed till the very last glass was stacked. I too hope we will be able to work with you in the future and will happily pass along your name to all that ask. Many thanks to you and your team for helping to make it such a magical night.
Have a wonderful day.


Hi Alan (and David)
I just wanted to thank you and your crew for a really special evening. EVERYTHING was perfect, I would have changed nothing. You did the set up beautifully, everyone raved about the food (my plate of food, which I finally got to eat at 1 a.m., was absolutely delicious), the service was outstanding — efficient and friendly, you really did us proud. You were even so gracious about feeding the kids snacks before the service started — something I know was above and beyond the call of duty. I’m sure you were (deservedly) ready to shoot us at that point, but you hid it completely. I cannot thank you enough. I’m trying to come up with another reason to throw a big party soon so that we can hire you again! From the bottom of my heart, thanks to you both, and to all the crew that helped to make this a really perfect night for us.


Thanks Alan.
I want to let you know that we were very pleased with the outcome of all three events. The food was awesome and your staff were excellent. I attended two of the events and gained at least five pounds at each. We heard nothing but positive feedback on all of them. Many, many thanks to you and your wonderful staff for all of your hard work in making these events a success.


Dear David,
I did not get a chance to thank you before you left on Friday night. Your food and staff were truly amazing. As always, our guests were raving and asking for your information. You made the party.


Dear Alan and David,
I wanted to get a quick message to you before the formal note of thanks for the amazing food, wonderful staff and fabulous professionalism. The party could not have been more delicious and fun and well, great! It was fantastic. Your guys were the best! Perfect. Fun. Totally great! Tracey was 100% correct! And thank G-d I asked her for a caterer.