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Gregory Gourdet Shares Details of Upcoming Portlandia Appearance

The Departure executive chef and Top Chef finalist talks his first acting appearance, as well as what on earth happens on a Top Chef cruise.

A picture of Gregory Gourdet, the chef at Departure, wearing his uniform as an open blender sprays liquid everywhere
Gregory Gourdet

When news dropped that Departure executive chef and Top Chef finalist Gregory Gourdet would appear on Portlandia Season 6, Eater had to set up an interview to get the details. Here's what's official: Gourdet will appear in an episode titled Noodle Monster in the next season of Portlandia, debuting January 21, 2016 on IFC. IFC has released scant details regarding the episode, only saying that Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen "embark on all new Portland-based adventures, including inadvertently creating a ramen noodle monster that wreaks havoc on the city." This sounds terrifying. Find out more from the guest star himself, freshly back to Portland after appearing on the unimaginable fanfare that is the Top Chef at Sea Celebrity Cruise.

What was it like hanging out with the Portlandia crew?

I've never acted before—just theater a little in college because I was in the dance department. The show is based on ad libbing, and Carrie and Fred basically throw the script out the window. You just gotta roll with it. Once you walk into a scene, they're just going to throw in one liners. It's pretty ridiculous and really very funny.

That seems pretty conducive to laughter. Was filming an overall laugh-fest?

Oh yeah. I had to control myself. It's just so ridiculous and funny at the same time. Fred and Carrie are just so talented in their approach to Portland.

What was your first thought when you were asked to be on Portlandia?

I was stoked. You know, Carrie is a fan of Departure. I've invited her in many times, and she's dined with us. She'd mentioned it [Gourdet appearing on Portlandia] maybe in the spring, and I got officially asked to be on the show this summer.

It seems your episode is the one Portlandia's really highlighting. I love the concept. It sounds terrifying. Any hints?

I can't say much, but I will say that it is absolutely ridiculous and really funny. It was really kinda fun to make fun of myself, too.

Portlandia has covered a lot of the Portland food scene, what with Colin the Chicken and all, but is there something in particular you'd love to see Portlandia cover?

I think Portland food culture is always growing and evolving, and you know, with all the new restaurants coming out and brick-and-mortars and other restaurants opening up their second and third concepts and locations, there will always be content. I think the script written for me is extremely hilarious and pokes fun directly at me and the type of person I represent in Portland. I laughed so hard when I read the script. They'll definitely have content for years to come with all that we're doing here, and you just need to be able to laugh at yourself and laugh along.

On a separate topic, what on earth happens on a Top Chef cruise?

Top Chef Cruise is really awesome. It's just a really good opportunity for people to eat the food we make and hang out with us in a really casual setting. We worked really closely with Celebrity Cruise chefs, and we did cooking classes, we did demos, we did quick-fire dinners... Our biggest night was Top Chef night, when we overtook the dining room and the entire menu was entirely Top Chef dishes, whether dishes that Top Chef contestants make at their restaurants or on the show. That dinner was for 2,800 people, so that was huge. Then there were expeditions; for instance, Dougie (Adams) led a snorkeling expedition, and I led a sailing expedition. It was a great working vacation. And it doesn't hurt to be in the Caribbean for a few days while it's raining in Portland. My parents came, too, so that was awesome.

Any last thoughts to add on the Top Chef subject?

You know, for me, it's been over a year ago that it ended, and it definitely has some legs. I see that it's going to be a part of me and my career for a very long time. And that's cool. It's great to make a connection with people who are fans of the show. You know, Dougie and I have both had people travel to eat at our restaurants, so it's good for business. We appreciate the support.

With that in mind, is Gregory Gourdet the Movie coming out anytime soon?

(Laughs) No, I'm too busy working. I have to choose my projects carefully.

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