Dallas Chef and Restaurateur
Never one to follow the crowd, Dallas Chef Gorji does everything a bit differently. The cookbook author often breaks with conventional wisdom and follows his heart instead.
Many “Firsts” For Maverick Chef and Dallas Restaurateur
In breaking with the usual models, this upscale, 5-table restaurant in a romantic dinner setting doesn't have TV, doesn't turn tables to seat more people and can not accommodate young children. Moreover, in 2016, Gorji became the only Dallas restaurant to become a no-tipping restaurant. Most importantly, he chooses to pay servers a livable wage instead of the unsustainable tipping system because he believes no-tipping is the wave of the future.
Signature upscale “New Mediterranean” Cuisine
The Dallas chef shops every day for the best ingredients he can find. Known for unexpected flavors and pairings, he uses simple cooking techniques and shorter cooking times.
Food from around the Mediterranean Basin is his inspiration. By combining ingredients and techniques from those countries with what is available here he creates his signature upscale New Mediterranean cuisine. He keeps the emphasis on the essence of a dish and doesn't worry about authenticity or tradition. In the kitchen every night cooking, he keeps the focus on food, wine and a pleasurable dining experience for his guests.
“I believe gourmet food starts with fresh ingredients, simple preparation and seasoning that allows the natural taste of the food to be the star.”
As the back-to-back Texas Steak Cook-off Champion, the Dallas Observer says he has mastered meat cookery to perfection. They praised the simplicity of his grillwork and how it brings out the inherent flavor of the meats, saying in 2016 “The Beef Tenderloin in particular is one of the best [steaks] in the Metroplex.” They named Gorji Dallas' Best Steakhouse in their Best of Dallas list in 2021.
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. His winning recipe was published in Texas Monthly Best 38 Steakhouse feature and in The Big Texas Steakhouse Book
Gorji Gourmet Sauces— Tastes Just Picked!
Gorji began bottling his gourmet sauces in 2006 in response to demand from customers at his restaurant. Diners often described them as “Tastes Just Picked.” So that became the slogan for his product line of Mediterranean-inspired sauces, marinades, dips and spreads. Each recipe has rich and complex flavor. The sauces taste as if you have simmered them on the stove for hours. But it just takes minutes to open the lid, heat and serve.
The first Gorji Gourmet pizza and pasta sauces— Pomodoro and Puttanesca were launched in 2006. Soon to follow was the the Dipping Oil & Marinade 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 recipes he developed and cooks with at the restaurant. They provide the gourmet base. Just heat the sauces and add to your creations such as pasta, pizza, chicken, veal, seafood. They are sold in Dallas area Whole Foods Market, gourmet stores, online at www.gorjigourmet.com and at the restaurant.
Healthy and Tasty!
Each of the pomodoro, puttanesca and arrabiata are a no added sugar pasta sauce with reduced sodium. They are gluten-free, with no preservatives, no cholesterol and vegan.
38 Awards So Far
All Gorji's products have won ZestFest and Scovie gold, silver and bronze awards in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021. They have won 38 awards so far. Arrabiata Diavolo has won five coveted Golden Chile Awards and Puttanesca has won one.
Dallas Chef Cookbook Sizzles with Surprising Flavors and Savory Secrets of "New Mediterranean" Cuisine
Pure olive oil. Lots of limes. Few batters, coatings, or rubs. No tahini in that hummus. Instead, an imaginative, personal, and highly memorable take on enhancing natural flavors.
The cookbook author spills the secrets behind his headline making new Mediterranean cuisine recipes in his award-winning debut cookbook. He won the Texas Steak Cook-Off Championship twice with his take on steak with pomegranates!
In addition, the colorful cookbook shows how to add boldness and flavor to your dishes by using ingredients such as pomegranates, sumac, grapefruit, barberries and capers.
He also conducts a cooking technique class once or twice a year at Gorji Restaurant.
The Dallas chef has been cooking since he was five. The family matriarch, Mama Gorji, insisted all the children learn to cook for the family. They were not a bit concerned with the cook's self-esteem. They were accustomed to good food and they were tough critics. In addition, there was tradition to be upheld.
Learning Flavors and Ratios
They were required to spend 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. They stored them 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 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. However "I use the freshest ingredients, prime cuts of meats and minimal spices. I have developed short cooking time techniques. That allows me to make these dishes with their old world essence, however per order for my guests."
Following His Dream
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. He subsequently moved to Texas to follow his dream. After gaining experience in 'the front of the house', he then started two restaurants in Austin and Francesca in North Dallas. He opened Gorji (formerly Canary By Gorji) Mediterranean Cuisine, Steak & Seafood in 2003.
Gorji says he is "having the time of his life." Mama Gorji would be proud!
National as well as local magazines and sites have featured his recipes and techniques. They include Skies, Gourmet Retailer, Thrillist, and Daily Meal, Texas Monthly, D Home, D Magazine, Modern Luxury, Paper City, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Dallas Morning News as well as others.