Alan Zeman was born and raised in Chicago and moved to Arizona to study political science in 1975. He returned briefly to Chicago to try his hand at cooking. After working around various kitchens in both Chicago and Arizona, he entered the Culinary Institute, seven years after his initial acceptance. After graduation, he returned to his adoptive city.
In 1986, as executive chef at the Tucson Country Club, Great Chefs taped him preparing Sonoran Seafood Stew, and Escargot Sombreros in Saffron Cream Sauce for their PBS television series “Great Chefs of the West”, the beginning of the Southwestern Cooking Craze.
Chef Zeman moved to the Sheraton El Conquistador in 1993 and opened his own restaurant, Fuegol, for the next 11 years (1996-2007) and in 1998 it was named the Best New Restaurant in Arizona. After selling the restaurant in 2007, Chef Alan continued selling his privately labeled “Chef Z’s Prickly Pear BBQ Glaze” and consulting for Rational Cooking Systems, where he continues today.