All of chef Gregory Gourdet’s foods is personal, a tale, a journey. And Kann, his wood-fired Haitian dinner house—the most predicted Portland restaurant in 2022—will be no exception.
The venture has been gestating in excess of four yrs, with examination-drives at pop-ups and the epic yurt dinners at Kann Wintertime Village last calendar year.
But quite a few important specifics have been beneath wraps, which includes the glance and place. Now, as Portland Monthly has figured out, Kann will open mid-July at 548 SE Ash St, with 80 seats and an 8-foot hearth at the center of a extensive-open up kitchen that will occupy just about 50 percent of the room.
At Kann, Gourdet aims to place his family’s Haitian food tradition on equivalent footing with a earth that has mostly disregarded it. Never expect a thumping bar scene or kooky Portland meals-geist (while who would not destroy to see Gregory Gourdet consider on possibly just one?). Kann will skew higher-conclude Portland with a serene vibe, a gold-brushed ceiling, and a menu that is pure Gourdet—big, vivid, and herbaceous, at once conventional and first, celebrating what grows in Oregon with flavors that can surprise and haunt you, all backed by intriguing desserts like soursop shaved ice with fresh berries or charred banana tarts.
Count on new twists on signature dishes that helped make Gourdet a Best Chef admirer favorite and a star chef, which includes grilled total fish enveloped in citrus, herbs, pepper confit, and chiles. Also view for Pekin duck, a cult dish at Departure that tapped methods gleaned from cooks at New York’s modern Chinese cafe 66, which he headed up early in his vocation below famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. At Kann, Gourdet will acquire the duck into a Caribbean area, lacquering it in cane syrup with spikes of pineapple and tamarind, a variation he’s been pondering for some time.
A minimal back tale: Gourdet, a very first era Haitian-American born in Brooklyn, arrived in Portland in 2008 with his swanky Jean-Georges resume, a large mohawk, and a drug routine in tow. He rehabbed himself into a chef compared with any other in Portland—a sober, gay, Black, marathon-working cook fronting a glam hotel kitchen, Departure, in which he flaunted his have model of Asian-fusion cooking, cost-free of gluten and dairy. Disregarded for a long time, Gourdet emerged as a daring, singular voice and an advocate for sobriety, wholesome taking in, and racial equality.
For years, we questioned: When will Gourdet open up his possess restaurant? What would it glance like if he termed all the photographs? Now we know.
A sneak peek at the renderings reveals a smooth, white-mod, naturalistic space framed in white oak flooring, pillar-climbing tropical plants, metallic accents, and a quartzite stone counter established with cloth-padded, pointy-legged chairs. I want those people primitive-futuristic pottery plates in cobalt blues and pinks. The kitchen area, a reside hearth cooking island, will be the principal clearly show, with a row of seats in entrance of the action. A personal eating home, equally handsome, will have seats for 34.
The layout does not overtly reference Haiti—it’s intended to be a lot more of a canvas to showcase Haitian foodstuff. “The food stuff is so textural, so dynamic and layered, we did not want it to contend with the décor,” claims Gourdet. “The intention is to build a cozy area that feels luxe but lets the meals pop and talk for itself.”
The origins of barbecue have been traced to Haiti by some culinary historians. Gourdet is a believer, which is a single cause an open fireplace is the linchpin of Kann’s menu. Flames will ignite or at the very least kiss most dishes such as desserts, between them a pineapple upside-down cake.
A charred be aware may possibly shimmy into cocktails, much too. Kann aims to rethink classics, not just incorporate Haitian and Caribbean fruits and substances, but, as Gourdet puts it, to “break absent from how standard cocktails are designed, to preserve it entertaining and fascinating.” The match system incorporates a strong zero-proof system, in holding with Gourdet’s sobriety.
The first-draft menu, about 20 dishes, subdivides into starters, plates from the fireside, common side dishes, and desserts—everything dairy and gluten no cost. I’m curious about the spicy salt cod pate in flaky pastry and the challenge of generating buttery, flaky dough with out butter, though Gourdet states he is discovered a great plant-based solution. A Gourdet salad is often a need to, with mixtures and dressings in contrast to any other. At Kann, that usually means younger coconut, summer time berries galore, cherries, and minimal gem lettuce dressed with smoked peanut and coconut vinegar—a equivalent salad turned up at a Kann pop-up, and it was fantastic.
A few veggies leap out from the fireside area, together with a entire head of jerk-spiced cauliflower as perfectly as grilled carrots paired with smoked herring, a Haitian breakfast beloved, and African-inspired pepper sauce. For his smoked beef ribs, Gourdet will merge the sluggish cook of Texas barbecue with Haitian spices, all garnished with Ti-Malice, a warm Haitian condiment bright with red pearl onions, Scotch bonnet peppers, and lime.
Humble side dishes could be the sleeper stars in this article. Powerfully earthy Haitian black mushroom rice, fat with lima beans, approximately stole the present at Kann Wintertime Village.
Kann’s philosophy includes a “deep commitment to diversity and a range of genders,” states Gourdet. For his chef de delicacies, he employed Bangkok native Varanya Geyoonsawat, one particular of his Departure cooks that he stayed in near speak to with through the delivery of the restaurant.
Before Kann, Geyoonsawat by no means cooked Haitian foodstuff, but the two bonded more than a shared tropical food items cabinet—the pineapples, tamarinds, and chiles native to Haiti and Thailand. Gourdet phone calls her “a complete undesirable-ass, with a wonderful palate and incredible drive.” Chatting with Geyoonsawat, she calls her gig at Kann, her initial time running a kitchen, “a desire arrive true.”
All through the pandemic, Gourdet had a revelation: he has every thing he desires in life. Now, he tells me, he needs to give chances to his staff—the form of growth and door openers he experienced operating for Jean-Georges, who set New York afire with superior-conclude new French cooking in the 2000s. “I glance back now and want Kann to offer you that. I want it to be significantly less about me, and far more about the staff and our collaborative endeavours.”
For his part, Gourdet could be doing anything, anywhere appropriate now. He’s entered the national celeb chef dialogue. Last December, Oprah hired him to prepare dinner for her holiday festivities with three other star cooks. In January, he popped up shirtless in Google feeds as his route to shedding 40 pressure-ingesting pandemic kilos went viral.
But Portland is his location. At 47, he’s keen to gamble every thing on an ambitious undertaking in a battered food scene and unsure earth.
“We’re honored and thrilled to do our component to help rebuild the town,” says Gourdet. “I believe that in Portland. As an individual who has lived below for 15 many years, I just developed the cafe I always wanted. I want it to be a place that delivers men and women from all more than the world again to Portland.”
Possibly he should be functioning for city council?
For extra information on Kann’s summer opening: kannrestaurant.com