All of chef Gregory Gourdet‘s meals is private, a narrative, a journey. And Kann, his wood-fired Haitian dinner home—probably the most anticipated Portland restaurant in 2022—will probably be no exception.
The venture has been gestating over 4 years, with test-drives at pop-ups and the epic yurt dinners at Kann Winter Village final 12 months.
However many essential particulars have been below wraps, together with the look and placement. Now, as Portland Month-to-month has discovered, Kann will open mid-July at 548 SE Ash St, with 80 seats and an eight-foot fireside on the middle of a wide-open kitchen that can occupy almost half of the house.
At Kann, Gourdet goals to place his household’s Haitian meals tradition on equal footing with a world that has largely ignored it. Do not count on a thumping bar scene or kooky Portland food-geist (although who would not kill to see Gregory Gourdet tackle both one?). Kann will skew high-end Portland with a serene vibe, a gold-brushed ceiling, and a menu that’s pure Gourdet—large, vibrant, and herbaceous, without delay conventional and unique, celebrating what grows in Oregon with flavors that may shock and hang-out you, all backed by intriguing desserts like soursop shaved ice with contemporary berries or charred banana tarts.
Anticipate new twists on signature dishes that helped make Gourdet a Prime Chef fan favourite and a star chef, together with grilled entire fish enveloped in citrus, herbs, pepper confit, and chiles. Additionally look ahead to Pekin duck, a cult dish at Departure that tapped strategies gleaned from cooks at New York’s trendy Chinese language restaurant 66, which he headed up early in his profession below famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. At Kann, Gourdet will take the duck right into a Caribbean house, lacquering it in cane syrup with spikes of pineapple and tamarind, a variation he is been pondering for a while.
Slightly again story: Gourdet, a primary era Haitian-American born in Brooklyn, arrived in Portland in 2008 along with his swanky Jean-Georges resume, an enormous mohawk, and a drug behavior in tow. He rehabbed himself right into a chef not like another in Portland—a sober, homosexual, Black, marathon-running cook dinner fronting a glam lodge kitchen, Departure, the place he flaunted his personal model of Asian-fusion cooking, freed from gluten and dairy. Ignored for years, Gourdet emerged as a bold, singular voice and an advocate for sobriety, wholesome consuming, and racial equality.
For years, we questioned: When will Gourdet open his personal restaurant? What wouldn’t it appear to be if he known as all of the pictures? Now we all know.
A sneak peek on the renderings reveals a modern, white-mod, naturalistic house framed in white oak flooring, pillar-climbing tropical crops, metallic accents, and a quartzite stone counter set with fabric-padded, pointy-legged chairs. I need these primitive-futuristic pottery plates in cobalt blues and pinks. The kitchen, a reside fireplace cooking island, would be the major present, with a row of seats in entrance of the motion. A non-public eating room, equally good-looking, can have seats for 34.
The design doesn’t overtly reference Haiti—it is meant to be extra of a canvas to showcase Haitian meals. “The meals is so textural, so dynamic and layered, we did not need it to compete with the décor,” says Gourdet. “The purpose is to create a comfortable house that feels luxe however lets the meals pop and converse for itself.”
The origins of barbecue have been traced to Haiti by some culinary historians. Gourdet is a believer, which is one purpose an open fireplace is the linchpin of Kann’s menu. Flames will ignite or at the very least kiss most dishes together with desserts, amongst them a pineapple upside-down cake.
A charred notice may shimmy into cocktails, too. Kann goals to rethink classics, not simply incorporate Haitian and Caribbean fruits and components, however, as Gourdet places it, to “break free from how conventional cocktails are made, to maintain it enjoyable and fascinating.” The sport plan features a sturdy zero-proof program, in step with Gourdet’s sobriety.
The primary-draft menu, about 20 dishes, subdivides into starters, plates from the fireplace, traditional aspect dishes, and desserts—every thing dairy and gluten free. I am curious concerning the spicy salt cod pate in flaky pastry and the problem of making buttery, flaky dough with out butter, although Gourdet says he is discovered a very good plant-based possibility. A Gourdet salad is all the time a should, with combos and dressings not like another. At Kann, meaning younger coconut, summer season berries galore, cherries, and little gem lettuce dressed with smoked peanut and coconut vinegar—an analogous salad turned up at a Kann pop-up, and it was implausible.
A couple of greens soar out from the fireplace part, together with a complete head of jerk-spiced cauliflower in addition to grilled carrots paired with smoked herring, a Haitian breakfast favourite, and African-inspired pepper sauce. For his smoked beef ribs, Gourdet will merge the gradual cook dinner of Texas barbecue with Haitian spices, all garnished with Ti-Malice, a sizzling Haitian condiment vibrant with crimson pearl onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, and lime.
Humble aspect dishes may very well be the sleeper stars right here. Powerfully earthy Haitian black mushroom rice, fats with lima beans, almost stole the present at Kann Winter Village.
Kann’s philosophy features a “deep dedication to range and a range of genders,” says Gourdet. For his chef de delicacies, he employed Bangkok native Varanya Geyoonsawat, one in all his Departure cooks that he stayed in shut contact with by way of the beginning of the restaurant.
Earlier than Kann, Geyoonsawat by no means cooked Haitian meals, however the two bonded over a shared tropical meals cupboard—the pineapples, tamarinds, and chiles native to Haiti and Thailand. Gourdet calls her “a complete bad-ass, with a implausible palate and superb drive.” Chatting with Geyoonsawat, she calls her gig at Kann, her first time operating a kitchen, “a dream come true.”
In the course of the pandemic, Gourdet had a revelation: he has every thing he desires in life. Now, he tells me, he desires to provide alternatives to his employees—the form of development and door openers he had working for Jean-Georges, who set New York afire with high-end new French cooking within the 2000s. “I look again now and need Kann to supply that. I need it to be much less about me, and extra concerning the group and our collaborative efforts.”
For his half, Gourdet may very well be doing something, wherever proper now. He is entered the nationwide superstar chef dialog. Final December, Oprah employed him to cook dinner for her vacation festivities with three different star cooks. In January, he popped up shirtless in Google feeds as his path to shedding 40 stress-eating pandemic kilos went viral.
However Portland is his place. At 47, he is prepared to gamble every thing on an bold venture in a battered meals scene and unsure world.
“We’re honored and excited to do our half to assist rebuild the town,” says Gourdet. “I consider in Portland. As somebody who has lived right here for 15 years, I simply designed the restaurant I all the time needed. I need it to be a spot that brings individuals from all around the world again to Portland.”
Perhaps he ought to be operating for metropolis council?
For extra data on Kann’s summer season opening: kannrestaurant.com