January 2, 2020
Raised in an Irish-Italian family that loved food, Chef Laurie Gershgorn always enjoyed cooking but never planned to make it her life’s work. She began her career as an administrative assistant with MTV Networks in 1981 and worked her way up the ladder. Years later, she met the man who would be her future husband while tech managing Nickelodeon’s game show “Make the Grade.” The two married and had a baby. In 1994, when their son was 18 months old, Laurie left her position as Director of Technical Operations to raise her family.
In the years that followed, Laurie had two more boys and discovered an interest in alternative medicine and sustainable agriculture. She studied alternative healing, developed connections at food coops, and becoming involved in school food initiatives. She learned more about the benefits of meat-free eating and started following a diet that she describes as “pesce-octo vegetarian.” Four years later, she stopped eating seafood and became a vegan.
When her youngest son was seven, Laurie started to wonder what was next and decided to enroll in NYC’s renowned National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. “I have cooked since I was a little girl,” she explains. “And for me, there is nothing quite like caring for people through the love of preparing food that is so satisfying and good for them.”
After graduating in 2007, Laurie began advertising her services as a personal chef, nutritional consultant, and food educator. For the next ten years, she worked during the days, seeing clients while her kids were in school. In February 2017, she made the leap and opened Good Choice Kitchen: Vegan Café & Culinary Center in Ossining, New York.
The café, which offers dine-in and take-out, meal plans, classes, and catering, has become something of a mecca for vegan and plant-based eaters. “There are absolutely no animal products used in any of our dishes,” says Laurie. “I use whole food and minimally processed ingredients, and do not use processed meat-like alternatives.”
The extensive menu includes Lentil Loaf with gold mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, Protein Power Hot Cereal made with quinoa, millet, and amaranth, and Avocado Toast topped with either hummus or nut cheese. In addition to the regular offerings, Laurie likes to rotate in new, seasonal dishes, all of which are dependent on local produce. GCK also offers a wide array of fresh juices, smoothies, and baked goods.
Over the years, Good Choice Kitchen has become a gathering space for the community: hosting live music events, dinners spotlighting local farms, and private catered parties. Laurie also offers cooking classes by appointment and runs a weekly meal plan delivery service called the Green Plate Club. In addition, GCK is now four-star certified by the Green Restaurant Association and a proud member of the Good Food 100 Restaurants.
Looking back, Laurie believes that her past life at MTV prepared her for her current work. “The television production experience definitely got me used to long days and long nights working on my feet. Schedules, equipment, budgets, crews, preparation, production, showtime, clean-up, wrap–it’s just like the food industry! ”
If you’re in the Westchester area, we strongly suggest stopping by Good Choice Kitchen or ordering their food online. Thanks so much, Laurie!