High Chef’s Gregory Gourdet on sourcing, sobriety and equity

In June, Portland chef and High Chef star Gregory Gourdet’s luxurious new cookbook received a James Beard Award, and it is simple to see why. All people’s Desk: International Recipes for Trendy Well being, Co-authored with JJ Goode, he presents a dizzying array of dishes, from Haitian “legim” (a country vegetable stew with thyme, scallions, and sizzling, fruity chilies) to a wealthy Vietnamese duck curry and a basic French roast rooster recipe. (The latter got here from his time working for Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York Metropolis.)

Gourdet follows a paleo weight loss program, and the e-book is written with that weight loss program in thoughts, but it surely’s so plant-focused that you just may suppose it is written for vegans at first look. Beautiful pictures of Brussels sprouts with chiles, lime, and mint observe photographs of a “summer time salad” (tomatoes, berries, and nectarines) with coconut dressing, and a uncooked pumpkin salad with smoked chiles, pomegranate, and seeds.

Gourdet, who opened his personal Haitian restaurant, Kann, in Portland’s Central Eastside neighborhood in early August, is a fan of supporting native farms. Civil Eats requested him concerning the farms he comes from, his sobriety and his hope to construct an inclusive and equitable enterprise the place each worker can shine.

Inform us about your new restaurant. How lengthy has it been within the works? What does kann imply?

Means “cane” in Haitian Creole, like sugarcane. I began planning it 4 and a half years in the past. Truthfully, I used to be blissful at my previous job. [executive chef at Departures] and was there for 10 years. However eight and a half years later, I spotted it was time to do my factor.

In 2020, I had plans to journey and go to Haiti and do a bunch of analysis across the nation. Then I obtained caught at dwelling like everybody else, so these plans fell by means of. However I used to be in a position to end my cookbook! And I used to be in a position to give attention to that.

Throughout the [early days of the] pandemic, we have been in a position to do some popups and experiment with some strategies and content material, however we did not discover our area till final summer time. It took all that point for issues to be the place we are actually. All the things occurs for a cause.

It has lengthy been dedicated to sourcing from native farmers. What farms do you get produce from in Kann?

A lot of the delicacies relies on conventional Haitian flavors, strategies, and dishes.

As a chef dwelling in Oregon, I’m one hundred pc in love with our merchandise and elements; that is one of many explanation why being a chef right here is so incredible. Summer time is my favourite season. The berries, the cherries, the stone fruit, the melons, the chiles, these are all of the issues I really like, love, love about Oregon!

We will probably be ordering berries from Gathering Collectively Farms, Groundwork Organics, and Maryhill. It is a mixture of a few farms making deliveries after which clearly journeys to the Wednesday and Saturday markets like everybody else.

“One of many nice items of taking a break through the pandemic has been with the ability to hear what modifications have to occur in our business to make workplaces higher and safer for everybody.”

are you working with any farms to plant specific greens or spices generally utilized in Haitian delicacies, comparable to okra or taro root?

That’s positively one thing we’ll work on subsequent 12 months. For now, we’ve a hydroponic backyard that we’re engaged on in our non-public eating room, in a small area, I might say 16 ft by 8 ft. Farmer Evan Gregoire helps us. We will develop Scotch Bonnet peppers, that is the normal Haitian pepper, they usually’re laborious to search out in Oregon. After which we’ll have 5 extra “library items” [vertical shelving units] the place we’re going to develop lettuce, microherbs and edible flowers.

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