PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Varanya Geyoonsawat, the Chef de Cuisine at Portland’s Kann, cooks up bold Haitian dishes with a smile.

Family-style meals are the norm at Kann, the Rose City restaurant that’s been open for less than a year and is already getting international attention. Top Chef Gregory Gourdet is behind the Haitian cuisine that also gives a nod to the Pacific Northwest.

Originally from Thailand, Varanya moved to Portland nearly a decade ago for culinary school and since then found another family through her career.

“I feel it’s in part of my culture and Asian culture, we live with a big family and we have a tradition that we do things together and care for each other,” she told KOIN 6 News.

“It feels like a family, you know? I work in the morning with my prep team and then ‘What are we going to do today? What are the family meals we are going to do today?’ We all create the vision together. We have the brand new restaurant. We created our own system where it’s a safe place for all the employees. And for me, I feel like it’s such an honor to show the Haiti story.”

Varanya has actually been part of Kann long before the doors opened.

“I feel extremely happy to have this place finally because we’ve been waiting for 4 years,” she said. “You see the restaurant is gorgeous. We put all the details. We just want the beautiful place for the guests to come here, be happy and enjoy the food.”

Varanya Geyoonsawat, the Chef de Cuisine at Portland's Kann, May 2023 (KOIN)
Varanya Geyoonsawat, the Chef de Cuisine at Portland’s Kann, May 2023 (KOIN)

Reservations are necessary at Kann, 548 SE Ash in Portland. Spots fill up very quickly.

She hopes making these joyful adventures will also lead the efforts to show the world how Portland is still a foodie destination.

“I just want to see Portland bring back where people go out and eat, walk around, the summer is coming, the new menu is coming, people get sun tan, all kinds of stuff,” Varanya said. “I just can’t wait for the summer. People can go out and enjoy life and Kann is going to be one of the places they’re going to come to enjoy their life here, too.”