By Fiona Scott-Norman

    The Inner West socials lit up in panic last year, when a rumour circulated that the bustling Gordon St Bakery, indispensable for their viennoiserie, fat almond croissants and otherworldly cheese sticks, was closing. Not so! Simply upsizing, and after trading as usual on Christmas Eve, it re-opened without fanfare on February 3rd, in roomier premises directly across the road at 142 Gordon St.

    Wilhem Isaac, a native Parisian and baker of passion, has a horror of pretension and a respect for craft and simplicity. The new Gordon St retains the pure utilitarian vibe of the old, with plain white walls, important stainless steel machinery, work tables, and bright overhead lights. One plant.

    “I’m not interested in Instagram, or attracting tourists,” Isaac says. “I want to serve locals, have my small team, make a living, that is happiness. I focus on taste and quality, not expansion. Businesses get large and they have to compromise.”

    Isaac studied law in Paris, but craved something real, where he could use his hands. Honest work. He found it in baking, and loves the sensation of kneading living dough. It’s what gets him up at 2.30am.

    He landed in Perth in 2012 with a job at a French bakery, but Footscray has been his Goldilocks destination; it fitted just right, and allowed him to start his own business.

    “It is vibrant and diverse. And supportive. Parisians are rude. Occasionally we sell out early, and as a French person I expect the customer to be angry. But they’re not. They say ‘Good for you! You’ve sold out!’”

    Gordon St Bakery is here to stay. Isaac became an Australian citizen on January 26th. “I can’t see myself going back.”

    Just as well. Outside, a young man clutches chocolate croissants to his chest. “Breakfast”, he says. “I couldn’t survive without this place.”

    Gordon St Bakery
    142 Gordon St, Footscray
    Thursday-Sunday 7.15am-1pm

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