Westchester at Work

Find out what an executive chef earns at a fancy French restaurant.


The Gig           Chef de Cuisine

Name              Eric Krupnick

Employer        La Crémaillère, Bedford Hometown

Hometown      Mamaroneck




How much does a chef earn?

Eric Krupnick makes approximately $55,000 annually—which is at the top of the average salary range for Westchester restaurant chefs (from $45,000 to $55,000 a year).


The career path

Krupnick, who “co-chefs” with Alverto Astudillo, always loved to cook but concedes, “it was tough to get a job cooking.” So after graduating high school, he attended trade school to learn all about heating and air conditioning systems, and spent the next 15 years installing and repairing them. He then moved to Mamaroneck from Rochester to become his infant nephew’s babysitter—and attended evening classes for nine months (paying $33,750 in tuition) at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. After receiving his Classic Culinary Arts certificate in September of 2003, he was hired by La Crémaillère as a line cook (the first skilled kitchen-worker position on the path to becoming the top chef) that November, and was promoted to his current position in September of 2005. 


What’s the chef’s recipe for culinary inspiration?

“The restaurant has a library of about one hundred cookbooks,” Krupnick says. “We’ll go through the cookbooks, and sometimes it will trigger something. For instance, I saw a Champagne truffle vinaigrette and thought, ‘What if we add buerre blanc and make it a sauce?’ And that’s how we came up with grouper in Champagne-truffle sauce.”


Favorite restaurants?

“I really like Daniel in Manhattan.”


Um...what about, um, the weight thing?

“I am constantly trying to diet,” admits Krupnick, who, at 6-feet, weighs 250 pounds.


What’s the cooking pro’s favorite kitchen implement?

“The fork, because I can use it for just about everything. I can cut and pick up food with it, and sometimes, when I don’t have a whip available, I use two forks instead.”


What ingredients can’t a fancy French chef cook without?

“Salt and pepper. They bring out the flavor on just about everything.”


Any chef idols?

“I like Gordon Ramsay from the TV show Hell’s Kitchen. He doesn’t get around the fact that what’s important is the taste, then the presentation.”



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