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Eating Elevated.

Discover the higher standard in Portland dining at Departure – Downtown’s Pan Asian kitchen from Sage Restaurant Group. Floating atop the landmark Meier & Frank Building, Departure’s ambitious menu captivates diners with its’ masterful remix of authentic coastal cuisines. From street food-styled starters to meal-sized classics, rice and noodle specialties to market-fresh sushi, Departure embraces the bounty of the Pacific Northwest to deliver the fiery flavors of the Far East. Whether steamed or stir-fried, smoked or sautéed, each dish leads diners to another stage along Departure’s culinary adventure. In a space whose design is as daring as its cuisine, Departure is Portland’s sky-high retreat for both quick bites and leisurely dining. Step beyond its iconic façade into a world of cutting-edge interiors that seamlessly blend Portland’s pioneering past with its progressive future. With a relaxed, refined atmosphere, Departure is the ultimate location encounters of every taste and style. Settle into your seat at Departure’s coolly elegant lounge or claim your perch on our panoramic deck and toast to the spirit of exploration with its menu of global cocktails – sipped high above the city center from Portland’s best downtown destination. That’s Departure – where the vibe is as sensational as the views.

Departure

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Executive Chef

Gregory Gourdet

Before pursuing his culinary career, Departure Restaurant Chef de Cuisine Gregory Gourdet was a dreadlocked vegetarian and pre-med student, who ended up earning a degree in French. Years later, he’s a Bikram yoga devotee. Cyclist. Marathon runner — and now, aspiring triathlete. These aren’t necessarily the traits one might expect from a native New Yorker from Queens who honed his culinary skills within celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s famed New York restaurant dynasty. But once you meet Gourdet in person, it all starts to make perfect sense. Adorned by a mohawk hair style and his signature oversized glasses, Chef Gourdet is an exciting rising star who embraces complexity as much as he does simple preparations, and someone who enjoys layering Oregon’s bounty and farm-to-table ingredients with the flavors and traditions from Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea to create the restaurant’s signature modern Asian fare.

Born to parents who both work in the medical field, Gourdet grew up enjoying traditional Haitian cuisine emphasizing fish, rice and beans, roasted pork, pickled chiles, coconut and plenty of herbs. One family dish made a particularly strong impression on him: conch meat made tender by slow braising with tomatoes, tons of lime juice and, as he says, lots of scotch bonnet peppers — among the world’s hottest. It’s a labor intensive dish that Gourdet says offers a bright and spicy flavor profile he still treasures today.

Gourdet discovered his culinary passion while rooming with an avid cook and studying at the University of Montana. Inspired, Gourdet took a job as a dishwasher at a Missoula deli that emphasized vegetarian fare. Almost immediately, he began making plans to attend culinary school after completing his undergraduate studies.

After graduating from Montana, Gourdet returned to New York to work in the restaurant industry before entering the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Working at a small East Village bistro, he was named Sous-Chef before even beginning his studies at CIA. Once at CIA, he became the school’s first student to land a highly coveted internship with the Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant empire. The experience there proved invaluable; he trained on a wide variety of stations and ultimately earned a Chef de Partie (line cook) position after graduation. For the next six years, Gourdet worked his way through the ranks, eventually becoming Sous-Chef at Jean-Georges, the group’s flagship restaurant — and then as Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant 66, Vongerichten’s modern Chinese eatery. It was here that Gourdet cultivated his affinity for Asian cuisine’s flavors and traditions.

Gourdet left the Vongerichten group in 2007 to join two Jean-Georges alumni in opening Mercat, a New York restaurant specializing in Spain’s Catalan cuisine. After serving as Mercat’s Sous Chef, Gourdet moved west to San Diego to join another former colleague at Jack’s La Jolla, a multi-venue dining complex featuring three restaurants, five lounges and a nightclub; he worked as Sous-Chef at the complex’s “Dining Room,” a fine dining and Mobil 4-star rated kitchen.

In 2008, Gourdet arrived in Portland, Oregon, where he helped open Urban Farmer Restaurant in the Nines Hotel, and then served as Executive Chef for Saucebox Restaurant. In the spring of 2010, he took the helm at Departure Restaurant, the Nines’ modern Asian rooftop restaurant. He’s already at home turning out new dishes and specials such as chile prawns, pork belly with pickled watermelon and a Thai-inspired papaya salad accented with tamarind candy, candied peanuts, mint, cilantro and, of course, plenty of Gourdet’s beloved lime. Even though he’s only been at Departure for a few months, he’s already experienced one of his prouder professional moments: an occasion where a guest got up and hugged the server because she loved the chilled tomato watermelon soup — a special summer offering accompanied by pickled cantaloupe and jalapeno oil.

“That’s a good feeling,” he says. A moment, we’re sure, that will be repeated many times in the future.

General Manager, Sage Group, Portland, OR

Jeff Brown

Jeff Brown has spent his career learning the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. Brown attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he graduated with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration. He took his degree and immediately started working in restaurant management.   From the earliest part of his career at the Marriott in Boston, Brown helped increase revenue and sales as well as positively increased the customer service experience at every level. From the Marriott, he moved to Morton’s where he spent eight years as the manager at multiple locations to increase revenue, train employees, and to develop concierge programs with local hotels.   Wanting to get back into hotels, Brown began working at a Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant property, Jsix in San Diego as Area Director of Restaurant Operations. He was part of the opening team for Hotel Palomar in La Jolla and his team received several awards as well as culinary awards for their work at Jsix. Brown has proven himself to be an innovative and results orientated executive who is experienced in managing large operations, maximizing marketing opportunities, and developing staff to achieve their goals.   Brown accepted the General Manager of Restaurants position with Sage Group in Portland, Oregon in October of 2012. In this role, he oversees operations of Departure Restaurant and Lounge as well as Urban Farmer Restaurant. Brown was thrilled to move to Portland because he is very excited to be part of the bustling food community. He is passionate about technology, social media, and the local food movement and brings those perspectives to his role at Sage Group.   Outside of the restaurants, Brown can be found spending time with his wife and two children, gardening, or playing a round of golf.

 
 
 
 

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