Jeff “Gordo” Gordon is known on the North Shore as the front man for the rock group Gunga LaGuna. He plays guitar, sings lead vocals and creates good vibes with lots of conversation, smiles and laughs.
He runs, too, and most recently completed the eight-mile Haena to Hanalei race.
And the man has a deep passion for food. He’s been cooking since he was 5 years old.
It’s that love of food that led him to start the Kauai Salad Dressing Co. LLC, makers of Gordon’s Pineapple Vinaigrette, and now celebrating its second year in business.
“When I was young, my grandfather always made this amazing vinaigrette, and one day he showed me how to make it, and told me about the secret ingredient,” Gordon said.
The founder and CEO of Kauai Salad Dressing Co. incorporated pineapple into the recipe after moving to Kauai in 2010.
“The flavors worked really great together; it was a natural fit,” he said. “And it added island taste and feel to it, which I really wanted. Everyone seems to really dig it.”
Gordon has a diverse background. He was the founder and CEO of Leon Speakers, Inc., an industry leader in home theater systems for flat-panel televisions. After attending the University of Michigan, he started Leon Speakers in 1997 in Ann Arbor. He sold the company and moved to Kauai and today lives on the North Shore, where he loves morning motorcycle rides to Kee Beach.
The Kauai Salad Dressing Company is a family business. Jeff’s brother, Greg Gordon, is also active with the company. Greg lives in Colorado and has a law practice in Basalt. Also very passionate about food and music, the brothers complement each other very well. The rest of the Gordon clan can be found mostly in New Jersey, where the now- famous vinaigrette originated.
As the company grows, Gordon plans to add staff.
Last year, the company attended the Made in Hawaii Show at the Blaisdell Center on Oahu, and sold out after the first day. This year, they plan on bringing more Gordon’s Pineapple Vinaigrette to the show when they attend in August.
Sales went so well the product got picked up by Foodland in 2016. It is now available around Kauai. Gordon’s Pineapple Vinaigrette is also available at www.HawaiiSaladDressing.com.
Online prices are $9.95 for a 12-ounce bottle. Store prices vary.
Gordon says the dressing will start to show up on retail store shelves on Oahu this fall.
It is made in Hanalei, but the company recently expanded production to a second site on Oahu.
“We had to move to a larger facility in order to accommodate the huge growth we experienced last year,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”
Gordon says the company is working on a new flavor, “one you haven’t seen before.” It turns out Gordon’s Pineapple Vinaigrette is actually the only bottled pineapple vinaigrette in the world, he said.
“We like having that niche of uniqueness; it sets us apart,” Gordon said.