WINTER HARBOR — Patrick Gilgallon is completely at home in the kitchen of the Winter Harbor Bakery. Not just because he’s a Cordon Bleu-trained chef with over 40 years of cooking experience, but also because the bakery, which he recently opened is in his house.
“I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, and I noticed a need around here, a service that could be provided,” says Gilgallon.
At 127 Main St., it’s a one-man show. Gilgallon is up at 3:30 a.m. Friday through Tuesday baking muffins and scones. Coffee by Design coffee from Portland has been freshly brewed by the time he open at 8 a.m. Closing time is noon. Then it’s back to the kitchen where he makes his own focaccia bread, cookies, pies and all manner of other treats. Coconut walnut crumb and apple cinnamon walnut are among the coffee cakes
In addition, the bakery sells his own homemade hummus, Kalamata olives, bagels and locally produced cheeses.
“I have my set of recipes that I like to use, things that I’ve picked up over the years,” the baker said. “Being that it’s just me, I like to serve things that are simple to make, but with my own flavor.”
For a decade, Gilgallon has lived and worked in Winter Harbor, managing and running scratch bakeries at J.M. Gerrish Café and the Schoodic Peninsula Visitors Center.
Before making Maine his home, he worked in New York as both a restaurant manager and chef at the trackside Siro’s in Saratoga Springs and The Aviator in Queensbury. He also attended classes with Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, where he learned an eternal truth for French cuisine — “more butter.”
Since buying his Winter Harbor home several years ago, Gilgallon has renovated the kitchen and installed everything he would need for a bakery. Now his garage is where dry provisions are stored. His porch is where he greets customers.
“I realized I wanted to do something with this space, and I have a pretty good idea after all these years of what works in this area,” he said.
The bakery is drawing plenty of customers.
“I’ve had tremendous volume,” says Gilgallon. “Especially with the campground and now the ferry to Bar Harbor there has been a ton of traffic through the town. I can always tell they’re coming from the park [Acadia National Park] in the morning because I can smell the campfire on them.”
Given that his home is his business, Gilgallon is a friendly host.
“It’s a great place to come by and socialize. You get something to eat, talk to people,” he noted. As a chef or bakery, he enjoys the social interaction and exchanges with the public.
“My grandmother would take me out to her garden and we’d pick out ingredients for her succotash. That’s when I was hooked,” he recalled. “When you share food, you share a part of yourself. That’s what I’m hoping to do here.”
The Winter Harbor Bakery is located at 127 Main St. in Winter Harbor. Hours are from 8 a.m. to noon. Friday through Tuesday. Check out the bakery’s Facebook page.