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Armonk Chef Judging National Cook-Off In New Orleans

Armonk's Restaurant North is sending Executive Chef Eric Gabrynowicz (front) to help judge the National Seafood Cook-Off this weekend in New Orleans.
Armonk's Restaurant North is sending Executive Chef Eric Gabrynowicz (front) to help judge the National Seafood Cook-Off this weekend in New Orleans. Photo Credit: Courtesy Eric Isaac Photography

ARMONK, N.Y. -- Acclaimed Armonk Chef Eric Gabrynowicz is New Orleans-bound for the 10th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off.

Gabrynowicz, the executive chef at Restaurant North in Armonk, will help judge the competition on Saturday that features some of the best chefs from around the country vying for the title of "King" or "Queen" of American Seafood. Restaurant North won Food & Wine Magazine's Best Sous Chef of New York award thanks to Gabrynowicz and the rest of the staff. Gabrynowicz said the national recognition for the restaurant led the New Orleans-based group to contact him to be a judge in this weekend's competition.

"I am very humbled and excited to be part of such an amazing restaurant and be asked to do this really great competition," he said. "They told me that they loved the restaurant and what we're about and they wanted me to come represent the Northeast."

The Armonk restaurant focuses on farm fresh and sustainable cooking, something that was important to the competition, Gabrynowicz said, and the the seafood aspect of the competition is what caught his eye about the competition.

"I eat more than my fair share of seafood and I think it's a little bit more of a blank canvas than a pork chop or a steak," he said. "It's one of those natural mediums where a chef can accentuate the flavor profile of the fish and marry ingredients that to make that even better is the true mark of a great chef in my opinion."

Gabrynowicz said it will be tough to resist the New Orleans cooking while at the competition.

"New Orleans is a wonderful place and I eat my face off anytime I'm down there," he said. "I'm really looking forward to this competition because I would love to see what other chefs are able to bring to the table."

Richard Shea, a publicist for the event in New Orleans and former Chappaqua resident, said the competition is lucky to have a chef from Restaurant North.

"North is one of those rare special restaurants where, whether you're eating at the bar with a buddy or having a romantic dinner with your wife, you know the food and mood are going to be perfect," Shea said. "North's fish dishes are what I always order, and I know Chef Eric makes an effort to source all his products locally, like within an hour's drive. That's the spirit of every chef competing in the Seafood Cook Off so it's clear he'll have a fun, if difficult, time judging the event."

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