Rising Star Chef Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s - Biography

New Orleans, LA

April 2012

Chef Sue Zemanick began her foray into cooking at just 15 years old in her hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. A young—and obvious—natural, Zemanick later enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. Not only did she graduate at the top of her class, Zemanick even stayed on to become a chef-instructor for the prestigious New York culinary school's seafood program.

She might have been a talented instructor, but teaching wasn't enough for Zemanick. She wanted to cook. So in 2003, she moved to New Orleans—she jokes it was for all the plentiful crab meat in the area. She first took a job at local legend Commander's Palace, later joining the brigade at the famous Gautreau's. Zemanick worked her way through the kitchen, becoming executive chef in 2005—just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit. The storm shut down the restaurant for a year and a half.

When Zemanick returned to the restaurant, she became a culinary force to be reckoned with, gaining three James Beard nominations and a spot on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" (which she has described as a surreal experience). Since her ascension to the top of the ranks, the menu at Gautreau's changes more frequently and is more heavily focused on seafood with an emphasis on contemporary American flavor profiles. Accolades—including awards for 2008 Food & Wine "Top 10 Best New Chef," 2008 New Orleans Magazine "Chef of the Year," 2012 James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Nominee, and StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef—attest to the chef's natural talents, and clear affinity for the people and food of New Orleans.