As the executive chef of the Departure Restaurant and Lounge in Denver and Portland, Ore., Gregory Gourdet has created a menu filled with bold and delicious flavors, drawing on tradition and techniques from across Asia. His skill at the stove nearly led him to the Top Chef title in season 12 (He was edged out in the final by our travel correspondent Mei Lin), and his appearance on the show let the rest of America see how he incorporates influences from Korea, Japan, Thailand, and China for his modern take on Asian cuisine.
In this video produced by ChefSteps, fans of Gourdet’s cooking can go even deeper into the process of how he creates dishes by watching him make Ssamjang Steak, Char Siu-Style Pork Tenderloin, and a Thai barbecue-inspired Black Pepper Chicken.
Gourdet starts these grilled dishes with a protein as the star, building sauces from scratch around them to highlight umami, sweet, sour, spicy flavors, or all of those qualities at the same time. Then he combines the sauce with the meat in a bag so he can cook them sous vide, in which a temperature-controlled water bath ensures even cooking throughout. Making the protein this way allows the sauce to more deeply flavor the meat, as opposed to just brushing it on while searing or roasting. After it’s done in the water bath, he moves it to the grill to add one more layer of flavor, imparting the meat with char and smoke.