Andrea Hurst served by Chef Gordon Stewart
Whidbey Island: a place of magical dreams come true and of people so gifted, you’d never believe it possible. This week I met one of those most remarkable people. His name is Gordon Stewart, and he is the Chef and Owner of Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill.
Gordon is a man whose heart fills the room, whether he’s cooking in the kitchen or seated at the table. Andrea and I had the pleasure of being his guests, listening to his story and tasting his culinary creations. In fascinating reminiscences, revealed through the lens of a culinary magician and with humility most untypical for a chef, Gordon held my imagination and kept me entranced for several delightful hours. He is not arrogant, though he knows his true measure and on many levels it is great.
I will not divulge Gordon’s stories as yet, for they will soon be gathered and published in a most unique memoir titled, “Culinary Enlightenment.” Do hold your breath. It is worth the wait.
After passing a few delightful hours listening to Gordon, I confessed that he reminded me of my step-brother who died two years ago this month. Ace was also a big guy with a huge heart and a passion for food, people and cooking. Ace was a chef, and his first culinary creation was the French Toast he used to make when we were kids. It was so good, we never wanted Mom’s carefully crafted Coq au Vin or Lobster Bisque. We only wanted Ace’s French Toast. Gordon smiled and his eyes sparkled with mischief. He really does remind me of Ace.
Offering to cook lunch for me and Andrea Hurst, my friend and Literary Agent extraordinaire, Gordon asked what we’d like to eat. We decided to leave it up to him, and he took up the challenge as if it was the best part of his day. Nothing is more exciting to an artist than permission to express his creativity.
I should have known from that twinkle in Gordon’s eye what he would prepare. He had connected with the story of my dead chef-brother and took up the challenge. Gordon was about to show us what French Toast could be when created by a true artist of cuisine. All the while I could feel Ace’s spirit surrounding us – laughing – and raising his glass to the master. A mutual respect between peers had crossed the boundaries of what we recognise as living and dead. No death entered Gordon’s kitchen – but life, love and inspiration.
I asked for permission to watch as Gordon prepared our feast, and granted the honor, I stood, transfixed. But I will leave my description of the great man’s kitchen for another day – another place.
My last paragraph has to be about Gordon’s creation. Although it was days ago, this morning I woke, still filled with vivid memories from Gordon’s table.
All night I dreamt of it – a whole blissful night infused with aromas of rosemary and herbs, flavors of duck breast, grilled to perfection, draped against crisp and tender herbed French toast and a wild blueberry sauce to die for. The savory, tart sweetness of Gordon’s inspired dish was crowned with deep-fried fresh basil, a rice-paper thin perfection of green which dissolved upon the slightest pressure of my tongue, and exploded flavor into the deepest parts of my brain, over and over again. A perfect balance of sensations – feasting the eyes, nose, tongue and soul – satisfying, fulfilling and just plain Heaven.
Thank you Gordon for your gracious generosity, great stories that contained much laughter and kindness, and for sharing your insatiable passion for people and life. Most of all, thank you for honoring my brother with the world’s best Savory Blueberry & Duck French Toast.
Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill
5438 Woodard Ave.
Freeland, WA 98249