What better way to use your lockdown time than to have the opportunity to book a private and personal culinary class with the world’s top chef? Partnering with The Sybarite, we are thrilled to offer our members the chance to book this unique experience where you can get up close and personal in learning how to cook a culinary storm with either Chef Gregory Gourdet (a 3-time James Beard award nominee) or with Chef Ashley Christensen (2019 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for “Outstanding Chef”). Gather your friends or surprise someone with something truly special.
The experience lasts 60 minutes and will include a curated set menu as well as a shopping list specifically for this class. The type of cuisine featured will depend on the Chef but you are welcome to provide some of your own ideas and wishes for this experience. Chef Gregory Gourdet leans towards Asian fusion and Haitian cuisine whilst Chef Ashley Christensen is known to lean towards American cuisine. It is highly customisable so that in the end, the menu is something you’re truly excited about. Courses are usually between three to five and is a completely private session with no other attendees except yourself and your group should you opt to invite them. Once the experience is booked and a date mutually agreed upon, you will receive more information, instructions, a set menu and a shopping list. Below is a bio on both Chefs.
Chef Gregory Gourdet
Top Chef and Top Chef All Star finalist
3-time James Beard award nominee
Currently running a pop-up restaurant in
Portland called Kann that focuses on the
cuisine of Haiti
Chef Gregory Gourdet is the culinary mastermind from Portland, OR, most recently ending a 10 year run as the Executive Chef and Culinary Director for Departure Restaurant + Lounge, where he paired local ingredients with the bold flavours and traditions of Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea to create modern Asian fare. A James Beard Award nominee and native New Yorker from Queens, Gourdet honed his culinary skills within celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant dynasty. Gourdet’s extensive global travels to research and understand other cultures allow him to see Oregon’s lush bounty through a global lens, producing a constantly evolving seasonal menu inspired by cooking methods and ingredients he has encountered during continuous trips to Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. He recently returned to Haiti for the first time in 20 years to reconnect with his cultural heritage, a trip that inspired Haitian cuisine to become a special part of his culinary repertoire.
A self-proclaimed health freak and avid runner, Gourdet views food as nourishment, finding creative ways to mitigate food waste and utilise ingredients fully from root to stem. His mindful life approach shines through in his cooking, as he offers diners dishes that allow freshness, seasonality, and bold, alternative ingredients to star on the plate. Gourdet grew up enjoying ethnic cuisine, especially traditional Haitian dishes emphasising fish, rice and beans, roasted meats, pickled chillies, coconut, and plenty of herbs. He graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in 2000. He landed a highly coveted internship with Vongerichten immediately after, whom he trained under for close to seven years at three of his New York City properties. In 2008, Gourdet arrived in Portland. In 2010, he took the reins at Departure, quickly gaining praise for his innovative dishes. In 2013, Gourdet was named Chef of the Year by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He was dubbed Eater Portland’s Chef of the Year in 2014. In 2015, his fame skyrocketed as he earned runner up in Bravo’s Top Chef Season 12, the same year he was first named a semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: Northwest. Gourdet has played an integral role in Portland’s culinary boom over the past decade. After much acclaim, he went on to open the second location of Departure in Denver in the summer of 2016. In 2018, he was again named a semifinalist by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: Northwest. The same year, Gourdet appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef Showdown. In 2020 he competed on Bravo’s Top Chef All Star Season 17, again ending as a finalist. The same year he received his first James Beard nomination for Best Chef Northwest & Pacific.
Chef Gregory officially calls Oregon home now and loves living in the food obsessed state. He has spent the last decade redefining Portland dining. Having served over 1.4 million guests at Departure Restaurant and having travelled the world representing the city and state, he is a household name. His signature flavours are adored for their seasonality, boldness, complexity and spice. Gourdet is a global chef that finds inspiration from every culture he has been touched by. He is most recently inspired by his Haitian heritage and looks forward to bringing Haitian cuisine into the American spotlight at his developing wood-fired concept Kann Restaurant which is slated to open in summer 2021. The restaurant will be Haitian cuisine focused but also honour the seasons, local ingredients and other global POC cuisines in a healthy and sustainable way.
Chef Ashley Christensen
2019 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for “Outstanding Chef”
Since making Raleigh her home, Ashley Christensen has sought to foster community through food, philanthropy and the stimulation of the city’s downtown neighbourhood. Ashley began cooking while in college, throwing dinner parties for her friends and family. These intimate gatherings helped her recognise her passion for cooking and sharing food, and ultimately led to her first professional cooking job at the age of 21. Upon taking the position, she knew she had found her life’s work.
Christensen’s accolades include:
• In 2007, opened Poole’s Diner, which takes its name and décor from the building’s original tenant—one of downtown Raleigh’s first restaurants
• In 2011, opened three new ventures (Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s and Fox Liquor Bar), all housed in a corner building once occupied by a Piggly Wiggly
• In the spring of 2015, introduced Death & Taxes, a restaurant celebrating wood-fire cooking with Southern ingredients, and Bridge Club, a private events loft and cooking classroom
• In 2016, Christensen’s cookbook, Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner was published and named one of the top cookbooks of the fall by the New York Times
• In the fall of 2019, opened Poole’side Pies, featuring Christensen’s take on Neapolitan- style pizza
Christensen’s awards include:
• 2019 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for “Outstanding Chef”
• 2017 “Chef of the Year” by Eater.com
• 2016 James Beard Foundation Award Finalist for “Best New Restaurant” for Death and Taxes
• 2016 Food & Wine’s one the “Best New Restaurants of the Year” for Death and Taxes
• 2014 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for “Best Chef: Southeast” Christensen’s work has gained national attention from such publications as: Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living, Wall Street Journal, Garden & Gun
When she’s not in the kitchen, Christensen focuses her time on a number of local and regional charities. She has served as a board member of the Frankie Lemmon foundation and is a co-chair of its annual fundraising event, Triangle Wine Experience. She has also served on the board of Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. She is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) and founded the biannual event Stir the Pot, in which she hosts visiting chefs in Raleigh to raise funds for the SFA’s documentary initiatives.
This experience is part of our bespoke service and our team will help you with planning your experience depending on your needs. To book please complete the form below.
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