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EATING, EXPLORED

Asian culture is synonymous with soothing balance and intricate details, as well as fiery flavors and high-energy. Departure embraces this culture wholeheartedly with a space as daring yet harmonious as its cuisine. Emerge into the sexy and unexpected interiors that take you into flight on a memorable and ever-changing destination. Departure once again reinvents its culinary brilliance with a menu that elevates the masterful remixes of land and sea, alongside authentic dishes of Asia in their perfection. With sushi and sashimi, dim sum favorites, kushiyaki skewers and wok fired specialties, Departure offers the opportunity to share meals of inspired, indulgent global flavors. The journey continues beyond the kitchen with an homage to Asian bar traditions showcasing an intricately curated sake, whiskey and ice program, as well as balanced cocktail creations highlighting specialty fruits and spirits. With a deep passion for bold, exotic tastes and crafting memorable experiences, Departure invites you to retreat to a new world without ever having to depart from the city you love.

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Culinary Director

Gregory Gourdet

Gourdet is the trendsetting, Culinary Director for Departure Restaurant, a forward-thinking, pan-Asian restaurant with locations in Portland and Cherry Creek, CO.

DEPARTURE PORTLAND & DEPARTURE CHERRY CREEK

Gourdet was a pre-med student with a Mohawk when he discovered a passion for cooking. The Mohawk stuck with him, but Gourdet made the leap from medicine to menus and secured a coveted internship at the prestigious Jean-Georges Restaurant Empire, eventually working his way up to Sous Chef at Jean-Georges. Later, as Chef de Cuisine at modern Chinese eatery, Restaurant 66, Gourdet cultivated an affinity for the Asian cuisines and flavors for which he is known at Departure.

A dedicated marathon runner, Bikram yoga devotee, and triathlete, Gourdet brings his health-mindedness to the table as well, offering delicious gluten-free, vegan, and paleo menus to guests at Departure.

Executive Chef

Khamla Vongsakoun

Executive Chef Khamla Vongsakoun brings over 15 years of experience to Denver’s Departure Denver, flaunting his nuanced mastery of Pan-Asian cuisine. The chef embraces the traditional roots of Departure’s dishes, modernizing them through technique and presentation while preserving cultural authenticity. Street fare, classic staples, sushi, and more flow from Vongsakoun’s kitchen with grace and wisdom developed through experience in hotel dining and alongside legendary chefs.

Vongsakoun’s career took off in 1997, when he traded Colorado wilderness for Las Vegas glamour, joining Rio Suites Hotel, Casino, and Spa as sous chef for the upscale Buzio’s Seafood Restaurant and, later, for the property’s Cajun-themed Voodoo Café, supporting the kitchens of the hotel’s five restaurants plus its pool, employee dining, and banquet facility.

After six years in Vegas, Vongsakoun relocated to the East Coast, starting as sous chef for the Metropolitan Café in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel, Casino, and Spa and eventually earning a promotion to executive banquet chef by mid-2004. In 2006, Vongsakoun ascended within the property yet again, joining Michael Mina, a James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America inductee, to open Seablue. Working in Mina’s restaurants molded the young chef’s perceptions of how to run a kitchen with passion while maintaining high standards and always striving towards culinary discovery.

Vongsakoun first mastered Far East cooking techniques as sous chef for Stephen Starr’s Buddakan, a contemporary Asian restaurant in Philadelphia. Opting to focus his career on the region, Vongsakoun soon found himself executive chef for Michael Schulson’s Sampa, which earned a spot among Bon Appétit’s “Top 6 Best New Modern Asian Restaurants 2011” during his tenure. He subsequently worked as executive chef at Kittichai, a modern Thai restaurant within the boutique 60 Thompson Hotel in SoHo. Following Kittichai, Vongsakoun worked at Chelsea’s Tao Downtown, a trendy Pan-Asian restaurant with over $30 million in annual revenue.
Now back on his home turf, the chef’s acutely honed Asian specialty, proven in high-volume restaurants, finds an inspiring home within the kitchen of Departure Cherry Creek, where he prepares genuinely rooted and artfully plated Pan-Asian dishes.

Vongsakoun and his wife reside in the Denver enclave of Glendale, where they enjoy cooking at home and exploring the city’s rapidly evolving culinary landscape. In his spare time, the chef typically finds himself on one of Denver’s many golf courses or hiking the Rocky Mountain trails.

 

News + Press

06 / 10 / 2015

WJLA-TV: Gregory Gourdet from Bravo’s “Top Chef” cooked up some Asian-inspired food

Cheg Gregory is featured on Washington D.C.’s “Let’s Talk Live” television program for a cooking segment to promote Departure and […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

USAToday.com: 70 cocktails that scream summer

Hello Betty’s “Bird of Prey” cocktail is included in a round-up of cocktails that “scream” summer Click here to view […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

Time Out: The 24 best rooftop bars in America

Departure is included in a national round-up of the best rooftop bars in America Click here to view feature about […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

Sante Magazine: Santé Award Winners 2015

Urban Farmer Portland earns the Sante awards for Best Wine Hospitality: Fine Dining and Best Culinary Hospitality: Traditional Cuisine Click […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

Klean Radio: Gregory Gourdet And Messengers Of Recovery Bikers Get KLEAN

Chef Gregory was interviewed during a live Q&A segment about his sobriety and how it has contributed to his success […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

FSR Magazine: Hotels Seek Restaurant Developers for Partners

SRG is included in a story about hotels partnering with restaurant groups and developers Click here to view feature about […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

Forbes Travel Guide: 3 Must-See Theater Companies Around Portland

Departure is highlighted in a story about the best theater companies to check out in Portland Click here to view […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

Fox News: 10 memorable Mother’s Day brunches

Kachina Southwestern Grill is included in a round-up of the most memorable Mother’s Day menus across the country Click here […]

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06 / 10 / 2015

Family Travel Magazine: Things to Do in Cleveland With Kids

Urban Farmer Cleveland is included as part of an itinerary of things to do in Cleveland with kids Click here […]

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