Vancouver, British Columbia and Palm Beach, Fla., are about as far apart as one get and stay in North America. But for Neall Bailey, each feels like home.
A brief explanation: Bailey is a Vancouver, B.C., native. He’s settling in as new executive chef at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. And while Vancouver has the Canadian Rockies at its doorstep, it also has a lot of sunny days and the Pacific Ocean. Palm Beach also has a lot of sunny days, in addition to the Atlantic Ocean. So, you get idea that although the coasts are different, the culinary scenery is similar.
That’s one of the things that attracted Bailey to Eau Palm Beach, whose restaurant outlets include the signature Angle restaurant, Breeze Ocean Kitchen, Temple Terrace and Stir Bar & Terrace. Bailey also worked with resort Food and Beverage Manager Tito Rodriguez when the two worked together in New Orleans, so the familiarity goes beyond climate and scenery.
“I had been here a couple of times,’’ Bailey said over lunch at Breeze Ocean Kitchen. “I have family on the West Coast (for Florida), but it’s a little too subdued. It’s more exciting here – a more energetic environment.’’
Bailey already is bringing fresh energy to the Eau Palm Beach culinary scene. For example, he’s expanded the carving stations and added more salads and oysters to Temple Terrace’s popular Mediterranean-themed brunches; and he’s upgrading the steak offerings at Angle to include more Wagyu and dry-aged beef.
“My family has been in the cattle business for generations,’’ Bailey said. “I understand beef and what goes into producing good beef.’’
But understand that Bailey, having spent nearly his entire life on or near the ocean, also know seafood.
“My favorite Florida fish is Pompano,’’ Bailey said. “I also like hogfish and grouper. I like it all, really. It’s hard to beat a good piece of seafood.’’
Sidenote: Don’t pass on Bailey’s Lobster Bisque and Pee Wee Potatoes at Angle.
Bailey has number of Five-Star properties around the world, including the Willard in Washington, DC, where he was executive chef, and the Hotel Eden au Lac in Switzerland. He’s has worked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs, including the three-star Michelin Chef, Antoine Westermann; Robert Sulatycky; and Joachim Splichal of Patina Group.
Most recently Bailey was executive chef at the Bay Colony Beach Club in Naples, Fla.
His cooking style?
“It’s evolved,’’ Bailey said. “I’ve taken on a lot of the ‘Southern’ style. And I lived in Europe, so I also took on a more Italian perspective. I’ve sort of blended the two. I try to cook lighter and let the ingredients speak for themselves.’’
Feature Photo: Neall Bailey (Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa)