Gordon Bailey of Lot 30
by Luke Arbuckle
Gordon Bailey isn’t just a chef and he isn’t just a business owner, he’s both and is proudly amping up his culinary expertise this summer. Owner and executive chef at Lot 30 in Charlottetown, Gordon has an extensive history of high profile positions in kitchens around Canada and Europe.
Originally from Winnipeg, Gordon got his start in the kitchen at a breakfast restaurant and worked his way through the ranks. “I very quickly fell in love with the high-energy, fast-paced chaos of the kitchen,” says Gordon.
By the time he was 21, he’d done the circuit in Manitoba and felt it was time for a change. Over the years he’d developed a passion for seafood cuisine and in keeping with his sense of adventure, made an impromptu move to PEI.
Although his plan was to only stay for a couple of years, Gordon says the Island bug bit him hard. “It was really easy to call this place home,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place with an amazing history and the best seafood you could ask for.”
Gordon got his PEI culinary feet wet while working at the Seasons in Time restaurant in Summerside before being selected to represent Canada at the Junior Chef Challenge in Vienna, Austria. From there, he spent the next three months working at different restaurants in Nice, France.
Upon his return to PEI, the now 23-year-old Gordon was asked to join the team of the Inn at Bay Fortune, where he took the helm as executive chef for the next three years. “That was a proud moment for me,” he said.
Before long, Gordon was approached by a couple of restaurant connoisseurs from New York who believed in his skills enough to help him start his own restaurant and in 2005, he opened Dayboat in Oyster Bed Bridge. “We wanted to refine rural cuisine,” he said. “The theme of the business was straight from the boat to the plate.”
After only two years in business, Dayboat was voted the third best new restaurant in Canada. “It was quite an honour,” says Gordon. “We were only open during the summer months, but cars would line up down the highway to get in.”
But Gordon wasn’t done yet, he wanted a year-round business in the Island’s capital city of Charlottetown. In 2008, he found exactly what he was looking for. “I wanted a place that was the right size, with the right lines a modern feel,” he said. “Then I found the building on Kent Street that I knew would become Lot 30.”
Seven years later, business is booming and the 68-seat restaurant has become one of the leading culinary hot-spots in Charlottetown. “We do produce and product driven cuisine and have forged really great partnerships with many local suppliers,” says Gordon. “I love it here and encourage anyone taking in the 2014 celebrations this summer, to stop in for a meal and a friendly chat.”
A fan of Island history, Gordon named the restaurant Lot 30 in honour of the Wright-Patterson plan of 1771 which divided Charlottetown into five sets of 100 lots, often referred to as the 500 lots. The property used by Gordon these days was Lot 30 of the fourth hundred.