Gregory Gourdet’s Compass Dinner Series is Back

The Top Chef star sets course for a summer of intimate, globetrotting meals.

By Benjamin Tepler April 15, 2015

Top Chef star and Departure chef Gregory Gourdet

After a major boost from his impressive performance on Top Chef: Boston, Departure’s Gregory Gourdet is riding a new wave of international creativity. This summer, Gourdet plans to take his Compass Dinner Series from Mexico to Thailand, including a pair of special collaboration dinners with Portland Monthly Restaurant of the Year 2014, Langbaan.

First up, Gourdet will explore the flavors of Mexico—the battleground where he was narrowly defeated as a Top Chef frontrunner.

“We had six weeks between Boston and Mexico,” Gourdet told Eat Beat in an earlier interview. “I travelled to New York and California, ate mole, ate ants, ate cactus. I went to every Mexican market in Portland.” This is your chance to catch Gourdet’s red mole with short ribs, a dish food TV star Hugh Acheson called “spectacular.”

Check out the menu below, with tasting notes from the Top Chef phenom himself.  


When: June 25, 6:30 pm
Where: Departure (525 SW Morrison St.)
How Much: $75. Call 503-802-5370 for reservations.

Tuna Tostada: Grilled Avocado, Dried Lime, Ginger, Serrano, Caterpillar Salt—“I’ve had my share of bugs studying [the cuisines of] Mexico and Thailand (cockroach fish sauce is delicious, major umami). The caterpillar salt is made from crispy agave caterpillars and adds a funky floral note to the dish.”

Red Snapper, Dungeness Crab, Shrimp: Pickled Cactus, Jicama, Fermented Green Chili Juice

Smoked Turkey Leg Confit Tamale: Arbol Chili, Oregano, Cumin

Duck Carnitas: Ramp Escabeche, Habanero-Dried Peach Salsa, Smoked Pecan Salsa, 3 Sisters Tortillas—“The duck carnitas are inspired by the ones made by Enrique Olvera (a Top Chef:  Season 12 judge) at Cosme in NYC. Its a whole, skin on, boneless duck.”

Beef Short Ribs in Mole: Candied Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Seeds—“The short ribs are a dish from my final meal on Top Chef. I learned how to make mole from local spice queen Kusuma Rao (of the local Indian-fusion pop-up, Ruchikala) last year in preparation.” 

Mexican Chocolate Tart: Salted Peanut Crust, Smoked Chili Caramel, Corn Ice Cream


July 12, 6:30pm at Departure (503-802-5370 for reservations)  and July 13, 6:30 at Langbaan 
(971-344-2564 for reservations)

Inspired by a recent trip to Thailand, and in collaboration with Southeast Portland’s breakout hit, Langbaan, Gourdet will be exploring both authentic Thai dishes and playing on inspirational riffs. The Langbaan crew will take turns, mixing and matching plates like grilled sour sausage with runny eggs and sticky rice and a dish of grilled mussels in watermelon curry.

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