How nice! If you’re a Food Network fan, you know there are a myriad of role models in the industry. But The Kitchen star Geoffrey Zakarian looks up to one in particular: Alton Brown

Closer Weekly caught up with Geoffrey, 59, at an event on Tuesday, Sept. 25 for the Zakarian Pro For Home Non-Stick Cast Iron Cookware collection — out Oct. 28 on QVC — at his Midtown NYC restaurant, The Lambs Club, where he gushed over who he looks up to in the “food world.”

“It has to be some of the people who have really lasted, and lasted in a good way. Alton Brown is so smart. He’s so creative and he’s so interesting. Alton is like the king. He’s so much fun in person,” Geoffrey — who is a chef/partner of Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort — gushed. “When we do Iron Chef and we’re on a set in LA and we’re out and about all of us….,” he added, insinuating that Alton is super fun to be around.

Alton, 56, is known for shows including Good Eats (he was most notably the host from 1999 until 2012), Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America, and more. 

During our sit-down with Geoffrey, the proud dad-of-three also gave shout-outs to Marc Summers, 66, (best known for Unwrapped) and Bobby Flay, 53, (known for, well, everything, but most recently Beat Bobby Flay) as people he admires.

On top of that, Geoffrey is a big fan of his The Kitchen co-stars Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, and Marcella Valladolid. “I tell my wife ‘Oh I’m going to the set,’ and she said you’re always so happy and I’m like it’s like going to camp for three days with your best friends. We just hang out all week and it’s pranks all the time. Jeff is like my son,” Geoffrey confessed. Excuse us — we’ll be looking for ways to get into this Food Network crew!