YouTube Description: Chef Gregory Gourdet, may deal with the stress of competing on one of the top cooking competitions, BRAVO’s Top Chef, but it was a different story when two-time Red Bull Air Race world champion Kirby Chambliss took the “Top Chef” finalist on a wild aerobatic flight. While in his home state of Oregon, Gourdet experienced firsthand the power and excitement of aerobatic flying as a passenger in Chambliss’ two-seater Edge 540 race plane. Chambliss, also a five-time US Aerobatic champion, put Gourdet through the paces, performing rolls, flat spins and sending the plane end-over-end.
About Chef Gregory Gourdet:
Gregory Gourdet is the trendsetting Executive Chef at Portland’s popular pan-Asian restaurant, Departure, located on the roof of the luxury Nines hotel. 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 guests the option of delicious gluten-free, vegan, and paleo menus at Departure, in addition to the nightly dinner menu.
About Kirby Chambliss:
Kirby Chambliss has spent so much time up flying his Zivko Edge 540’s he now jokes that the plane controls and wings are a mere extension of his own arms. It’s second nature. The former Red Bull Air Race World Champion, was raised racing motocross but always knew he’d be a pilot. He began flying at age 13 and by 24 became the youngest commercial pilot at Southwest Airlines. By the time he made it to captain at 28 he was already polishing his aerobatic skills, an interest acquired during aerobatic training for his job flying a business jet.
After his first aerobatic flight Kirby was immediately hooked. The idea of turning a plane upside down opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the young pilot. He now viewed commercial flying as a day job to pay for his love and new, expensive hobby of aerobatic flying.
As years continued Kirby tirelessly trained, perfecting each manuever and routine. His persistence paid off with increased recognition at airshows, mounting fan base and acceptance onto the U.S. National Aerobatic Team. To date, Kirby is a five-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion (FAI World Aerobatic Championships, bronze & team bronze in 2005, silver & bronze in 2003, bronze & team silver in 1998).
Named one of the top 15 aerobatic pilots in the country, Kirby was invited to compete in the first Red Bull Air Race events held in the early 2000’s. He is a two time Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
Normally a friendly and jovial American, Kirby turns into an intense warrior when he climbs into his cockpit. His flying style is smooth yet often aggressive as he goes all-out for the wins. Chambliss loathes second place, regularly disparaging it the “first loser”.
Kirby is married to fellow pilot, Kellie. They live on the “Flying Crown Ranch” with their daughter, Karly, between Tucson and Phoenix – with a hangar and runway in the backyard.
Chambliss is preparing for the return of the Red Bull Air Race in 2015, which features an eight race series around the world, with two U.S. stops – in Ft. Worth on September 26-27 and Las Vegas on October 17-18. The season-opening race will be in Abu Dhabi on February 13-14