Gorji has been cooking since he was five. The family matriarch, Mama Gorji, insisted all the children learn to cook for the family. They were tough critics, he says, not a bit concerned with the cook's self-esteem. There was tradition to be upheld, and the family was accustomed to good food.
In addition to the required time in the kitchen learning to appreciate the work involved in preparing food, some of their seasonal tasks were making lime juice, unripe grape juice, tomato juice and pomegranate puree to put in the cellar for use year round. Looking back Gorji now says "little did we know that she was teaching us flavors and ratios as our basic tools. The rest is imagination and creativity." That early training and attitude about food, combined with his travels around the Mediterranean areas has evolved into the "New Mediterranean" style cuisine that he cooks today. Many of the old world dishes relied on heavy spices and long cooking times. "I use the freshest ingredients, prime cuts of meats, minimal spices and have developed short cooking time techniques that allow me to make these dishes with their old world essence, but per order for my guests."
With a degree in engineering, Gorji traveled the world. Wherever he went, he spent his spare time soaking up the culture and learning the local culinary arts. His first love was always cooking, his fondest dream to own his own restaurant. Eventually he was in a position to give up engineering, move to Texas and follow his dream. After gaining experience in 'the front of the house', starting two restaurants in Austin and Francesca in North Dallas, Gorji opened Canary Mediterranean Steak & Seafood, a fine dining restaurant specializing in Mediterranean fare 2003. In 2010 it was rebranded Canary By Gorji specializing in fine dining in Addison/Dallas Tx.
The first Gorji Gourmet pizza and pasta sauces— Pomodoro and Puttanesca were launched in 2006. Soon to follow was the The Dipping Oil & Marinade Steak Primer that he used on his steaks to win back-to-back Texas Steak Cookoff Championships in 2004 and 2005. Then came the Pomegranate Vinaigrette and Remoulade. The sauces, marinades, dips and spread are the same flavors and tastes for use at home that he developed from recipes he cooks with at the restaurant. They provide the gourmet base whether just heating and adding to pasta, pizza, chicken, veal, seafood or preparing steaks, salads and sandwiches. They are now sold in Dallas area Whole Foods Market, gourmet stores online at www.gorjigourmet and at the restaurant Canary By Gorji.
Along the Way
Two years in a row he won first place in the Texas Steak Cookoff in Hico, competing against some of the best chefs in Texas. Texas Monthly published this steak recipe in their Best 38 Steakhouse feature in December, 2007. And it was published in The Big Texas Steahouse Cookbook in 2010. He continues to known for some of the best steaks in Addison and Dallas at Canary By Gorji.
In 2006 he was chosen as the D Home and Whole Foods Market Chef of the month. In 2008 & 2009 Canary was Top Mediterranean restaurant in Dallas/Fort Worth by Zagat. His Mediterranean catfish, Championship winning steak, Seafood Cioppino and pomegranate recipes and techniques have been featured in Texas Monthly, D Home, D Magazine, Modern Luxury, Ft Worth Star Telegram, Dallas Morning News and others. Canary By Gorji is a D Best Restaurant and in 2013 listed in D Magazine's 100 Best Restaurants In Dallas.
His innovative use of pomegranates has also won the affection of critics and customers. His pomegranate champome has been published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram and a Dallas Morning News Video.
He has developed an instructional DVD "Cooking With Gorji." He shares his techniques and recipes for dishes he prepares including, salad, appetizer, quail, salmon and his Championship winning steak featuring pomegranate specialties. He published a debut cookkbook, Zing! By Gorji in 2013 and is working on a second one.
Gorji says he is "having the time of his life." Mama Gorji would be proud!
Accolades & Milestones
I will be quick and to the point: Canary By Gorji is the most underrated restaurant in Dallas. Every time I eat there I am seduced by the creative cooking and I fall in love with Chef Gorji.
His food is so clean; so delicious. My mother claimed the pork chop as the best she has ever eaten. Gorji is a hard working chef. Not only does he cook every night, he supports local charities and produces a line of products which are sold online and in local stores. I have never seen him without a smile and a good-natured laugh. Go visit him. He will dazzle your taste buds and your heart.
— Nancy Nichols, DMagazine May 2012
No chef has done more to personalize the experience at his restaurant—
Four Dallas restaurants redefine the art of fine dining —Dotty Griffith, Modern Luxury Magazine — Jan/Feb 2011
He probably understands Texas steak better than anyone.
— Dave Faries, Dallas Observer, 2010
Chef Gorji's innovative take on Mediterranean specialties has made his Addison establishment, Canary Mediterranean Steak & Seafood, an award-winning fine dining destination. And, thanks to his own line of gourmet foods, chef-wannabes can mimic his most in-demand dishes. Use his Pomegranate Champagne Vinaigrette as a marinade for pork chops and poultry. Better still, get ready to fire up the grill after basting a rib-eye with Gorji Steak Primer—the same olive-oil blend that won him best steak in the Texas Steak Cook-off Championship twice in a row! — Modern Luxury Magazine, 2008
DBest — DMagazine
• Top Mediterranean in Dallas/Fort Worth — ZAGAT 2008, 2009
• Steak Recipe Published — TexasMonthly, Best Steakhouse issue 2007
• Chef of the Month — DHome Magazine 2006
• Texas Steak Cookoff Champion 2004, 2005