Eric Gabrynowicz

Eric Gabrynowicz

Executive Chef and VP of Culinary
Tupelo Honey Café
Ashville, NC (18 Locations)

“If you let ingredients stand on their own and execute them properly, they're going to taste good.”

Cracklin Good Potatoes

I was inspired by my grandfather, a professional waiter and the best cook that I’ve ever been around. When I was 14, I got a job washing dishes and fell in love with the business. After finding success in New York, I met with Tupelo Honey Café management our visions aligned. I learned that the recipe and seasoning changes I could make on a whim in an independent restaurant wouldn’t bring success in the multi-unit environment. Here, I must be intentional and specific. A recipe needs to be tested and tried before it’s delivered to the entire team.

We take our cue from Appalachian cooking ‒ greens, preserves, pickled vegetables and pork. The Potato Cracklins are inspired by crispy, crunchy and flavorful pork cracklins. Although they're vegetarian, Potato Cracklins give your mouth the sensation of a pork crackling. Salty, fatty, crispy, crunchy dishes will always win.

I believe if you let ingredients stand on their own and execute them properly, they're going to taste good. For the Cracklins, we roast Idaho® Russet potatoes in their skins. The starch content helps hold them together. When you rest the potatoes before frying, you get a creamier, crispier potato. Some pieces will be super crunchy while others will be crispy with a creamy center. They’re not supposed to look perfect; they’re supposed to be delicious.

Eric Gabrynowicz is a four-time James Beard Foundation (JBF) semifinalist who excelled at Union Square Café and Restaurant North before joining Tupelo Honey Café in 2016. Currently, he manages 16 executive chefs located at Tupelo Honey Cafes around the United States.