At 14, Zachary Moskowitz, also known as “Chef Z,” has created his baking empire with an online café, cooking classes, and popular social media channels showcasing his culinary talents.
In December 2019, Zachary launched his @OfficialChefZ Instagram account, where he posted pictures of his culinary creations and made short videos of himself in the kitchen.
By March 2020, his account had 400 followers, but with the pandemic allowing him more time to be in the kitchen and film videos, Chef Z quickly exceeded 100,000 followers. He has more than 150,000 now.
“A lot of people began requesting that I sell my baking items, so I looked into pricing and materials and then just started my own online business,” he said. The Preston Hollow resident and former Alcuin School student is attending Hillcrest High School this year.
Chef Z’s Café features various appealing desserts, from cinnamon rolls to s’mores brownies to custom cakes. Within a year of his opening, Chez Z completed more than 250 orders in addition to teaching cooking classes and helping with catering events.
“Zachary is clever and savvy,” said his mom, Erika Moskowitz. “He’s driven to do well and please people, so with his baking, he is, of course, making people happy.”
Chef Z’s S’mores Brownies:
1 cup of butter + 2 tablespoons to grease 5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
1 1⁄4 cups of white sugar
1 1⁄4 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1 3⁄4 cups of AP flour
1⁄2 teaspoon of sea salt
9 graham crackers
2 cups of mini marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with butter.
Place butter and chocolates in a medium saucepan and melt. Once melted, remove it to cool for a few minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into that and whisk to combine. Switch to a spatula and use that to fold in the flour, salt, and graham crackers. Make sure you crush your graham crackers up before adding them.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Chef Z first discovered an interest in baking when his parents enrolled him in cooking classes at 8 years old. There, he met Meika Johnson, a private chef and caterer in Dallas who encouraged him to pursue his talent in cooking and go further with his skills.
“She taught me that in the kitchen, you can let your creativity run wild, and it’s your place to do whatever you want,” Chef Z said. “I started cooking and baking more at home and, soon thereafter, I began to write my own recipes.”
While many teenagers his age would rely on their parents to help establish a brand for themselves, Chef Z handles every aspect of his café himself. From advertising his products on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to managing his orders, Chef Z is self-motivated. When he is not actively finishing an order, he looks at cooking videos and books to help him further master the science of baking.
“One of the challenges I faced when starting my business and completing orders was dealing with supply and demand,” he said. “At first, my products were costing more to make than what I was selling them for, and I soon figured out that I needed to be buying 50-pound bags of flour instead of just 5-pound bags.”
However, the popularity of the café and its abundance of orders have not stopped Chef Z from spending time with his family, at school, and playing sports like a typical teenager.
“It’s all about time management,” he said. “I know that if I have a volleyball tournament in the morning, I need to communicate with my customers about their order being picked up in the evening so that I allow myself enough time to complete each order.”
Chef Z plans to continue his cooking career with more Café orders, teaching classes, and creating new brand deals and partnerships. One day, he dreams of opening a bakery in New York, Los Angeles, or Dallas and even having a baking show.
Juliana Blazek is a junior at The Hockaday School this fall.