A new season of Top Chef: All Stars is on the way, and Bravo is bringing back some fan-favorite contestants and finalists from previous years. Gregory Gourdet is one of the All-Stars. The chef plans to open his own restaurant in 2021.
Because of his background, Gourdet spends a lot of time cooking Haitian food. When he was growing up, his mother would spend most of the weekend cooking, and Gourdet told Eater that that’s one of the reasons he began cooking in the first place.
“I didn’t start cooking until I left home, but when I trace back to my beginning, where food and memories start, it comes back to Haitian food,” he said.
The Restaurant Will Have Global Influences
As reported by Portland Monthly, Gourdet’s restaurant will feature wood-fired cooking, global influences and that traditional Haitian cooking that he’s been known for.
“It’s gonna be signature Gregory,” he told the outlet. “Lots of influences from around the world, big flavors and cultural references. Lots of birds, whole fish, and marinades from around the world, finished on fire. Lots of balanced heat, herbaceousness, and funk.”
Later, he emphasized that Haiti is the centerpiece of the whole idea, since that’s what he grew up eating. He said he wanted “to bring the Haitian Narrative to the table.”
The Restaurant Will Be Dinner-Only
According to the report, Gourdet’s idea for the restaurant is that it will be dinner-service only and feature around 60 seats plus a bar. He has not secured a location yet, but he has been searching for the space for a period of time.
“In a perfect world, it’d be a freestanding building, something old Portland,” Gourdet says. “A lot of these new restaurants are in mixed-use buildings, and considering what happened with Mama Bird, that’s something to consider, unfortunately.”
Mama Bird is a restaurant in Portland that specializes in grilled chicken. The restaurant had to close temporarily because they were receiving smoke-related complaints; they installed a $100,000 smoke “scrubber,” which would, in theory, mitigate the smoke from the grills. The restaurant was shut down for a period of three weeks.
The dinner menu will include a whole duck in smoked chili marinade with plantain flour crepes, classic chicken legs stewed in Creole sauce, braised oxtails with Haitian mushroom cornmeal, wood-fired yucca with garlic, lime and black pepper and a wood-fired banana tart with guava jelly, peanuts and habaneros.
Though his ideal timeframe included the restaurant opening in late 2020, it’s much more likely that it will be open to diners sometime in early 2021. There is no set name for the restaurant yet.
Prior to opening his own restaurant, Gourdet worked at Departure where he was the executive chef. Now, he works as the culinary director for the restaurant. He also has a cookbook being released in 2021.
Tune in to Top Chef on Bravo at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday nights to see how far Gourdet makes it in the All-Star competition.