Archive for the ‘People’ Category

WCR Finalists: Lopez & Ahearn

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Ilma Lopez, pastry chef and co-owner of Piccolo, is a finalist for a Golden Bowl award from the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Organization. The award recognizes “excellence in baking and pastry arts and honoring a woman whose skill in the baking and pastry arts inspires others”.

Annemarie Ahearn, owner of Saltwater Farm in Rockport is a finalist in the Golden Pencil category. The award recognizes “dedication to teaching that is making a difference to the culinary world and honoring a woman who inspires her students to achieve both technically and creatively”.

Neighborhood Breweries & Maine Foodie Tours

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

MaineBiz has published a feature on three brewers and the steps they take to be part of the communities and neighborhoods in which they’re located.

And while both men like the popular IPA ales, when they did taste-testings in their neighborhood, they discovered they were not popular. “So we listened to our customers,” Dingman adds. The brewery is making Double C.R.E.A.M., Old Smokey pale ale, plus a hoppy season ale and rye brown ale.

The plan is to get people in the door to both taste their beers and then buy and take them home in growlers. And the men welcome other breweries in the area.

“This street is vivacious,” says Dingman, referring to the three restaurants and other businesses on the block. “Hopefully we’ll get more brewers here. The more we build up the community, the better.”

MaineBiz has also published an interview with Pamela Laskey, owner of Maine Foodie Tours.

MB: What’s the reaction to the tour?
PL: When we take people into K. Horton Specialty Foods [Portland], we serve some of the American Cheese Society’s gold award-winning cheeses and people are shocked. I remember my very first customers were from Wisconsin. I took them to K. Horton, and Kris Horton blew them away. They were ordering wheels of cheese like there was no tomorrow. I did like impressing a family of cheddarheads. I tell people the cheese in Maine is like the wine in Napa. The best stuff never makes it out of the state.

NY Times: Cara Stadler

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Chef Cara Stadler was interviewed for a New York Times article on Chinese-American chefs.

“No one would give me even the lowest kitchen job in Beijing,” said Cara Stadler, 28, who grew up in Massachusetts and moved to China with substantial experience in the kitchens of the chefs Guy Savoy and Gordon Ramsay. Instead, she started the city’s first underground supper club. “Going to the markets every day forced me to really learn about Chinese produce,” she said.

Young Chefs to Watch: Cara Stadler

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Condé Nast Traveler has included chef Cara Stadler in their list of 10 Young Chefs to Watch.

Terrible students can make for fine young professionals. That’s true in Cara Stadler’s case, anyway. Despite some self-proclaimed lackluster grades in high school, Stadler, 27, had a star pupil kind of year in 2014, with a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Award nomination and Food & Wine Best New Chef nod. Seems that bad grades don’t mean a thing when “the kitchen is my jam,” says Stadler, who owns Tao Yuan in Brunswick, ME, and Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland, ME, with her mother, Cecile.

Interview with Luci Benedict

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Great Beer Adventure has posted an audio interview with Luci Benedict. Professor Benedict teaches a class on fermentation at the University of Southern Maine.

Many of us first discovered beer; especially our love for drinking beer in college. But what if you could take a class about beer? Luci Benedict, a Chemistry Professor at the University of Southern Maine, does just that. Her students love the class on Fermentation and the science behind everyone’s beloved brews. We got out of the rain and met up with Luci at the Thirsty Pig in Portland where she told us more about the science of beer warming up over pints of Bissell Brothers Angels with Filthy Souls: an American Porter with maple syrup perfect for a rainy cold day.

Interview with Piccolo & Chef Life Balance

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with the owners of Piccolo, Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez,

Can you tell me a little bit about your background? What made you get into the restaurant business, and what made you stay?

Ilma Lopez: I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I studied to work in medicine, but was also drawn to the techniques and specifics of the kitchen and baking. The people and the ingredients (kept me in the business).

Damian Sansonetti: Growing up in a big Italian family in Pittsburgh, Penn., you are always around food and cooking. My father was in the business, but I never thought it would be a career path until when I was in my university chem and bio classes and all I was thinking about was food. (I love) the adrenaline rush of service and the way you get to connect to guests with the food and service. It’s awesome when you trigger a food memory or emotionally move people with what your team can do.

and an article on how two chefs are finding work/life balance once they became mothers.

The funny thing about work/life balance, though, is that for most people the balance is truly key. Too much work can be a bad thing, and so can too little. Now, separately, [Krista Kern] Desjarlais and [Lee] Farrington have turned to breakfast and lunch service, with occasional evening engagements on their own terms, as a way to equalize work and life.

Baker Michael Reilly Retires

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

A front page story in today’s Press Herald profiles Michael Reilly as his 50-year career running Reilly’s Bakery in Bidddeford comes to a close.

That demanding schedule is about to change. On Dec. 29, his 65th birthday, after the pork pie Christmas rush, Reilly will put away his rolling pin at precisely 10 a.m. – the time he was born – and retire from full-time work at the family baking business he has owned since 1983. His daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Kevin Hussey, who represent the fourth generation, will be taking over management of the old-fashioned bakery well-loved for its maple cream doughnuts, which sell for $1.25 apiece. They’ll celebrate with an open house retirement party from 1-4 p.m. on Jan. 2.

Colby Alums in the Food Industry

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

The new issue of the Colby alumni magazine highlights the stories of 9 graduates making their mark in the Maine food industry including Maine rice farmer Ben Rooney, Pemaquid Oyster Company co-founders Jeff McKeen and Carter Newell, Blue Ox Malthouse founder Joel Alex, James Beard nominated chef Mike Wiley, Ocean Approved co-founder Paul Dobbins, and several others.

I don’t if it’s because I also went to Colby and so am more likely to notice the connection but my sense is there are a lot of Colby alumni working and leading in the Maine food industry.

Interviews: Cara Stadler & Tim Adams

Friday, December 18th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Cara Stadler, chef/owner of Bao Bao and Tao Yuan.

LO: What made you decide to stay in the industry?
CS: I love food, I love cooking, I love the science behind it, and I love the effect it can have. The fact that you can take someone’s terrible day and turn it around is pretty awesome. We want people to come in and be happy at the end of the day. We do our best every day to deliver something fun and enjoyable.

and interviewed Tim Adams, head brewer and co-owner of Oxbow.

Blending various barrels is clearly an important practice in creating your finished beers. How do you determine what beer to blend with what beer?
It starts with the end goal of having a balanced and complex product. I’ll have a beer in mind, usually that starts with having a color in mind that will need to be accomplished. Flavor profile-wise I want barrel character, but not too much barrel character. I like blending different types of barrels to enhance complexity. I do a lot of mixing of wine barrels and bourbon barrels, and barrels of various ages. I like working with at least a small amount of bourbon barrel beer for the vanillin, I find that it’s a really nice smoother-outer, if you will, on the pointier and sharper notes of acidity.


Interview with Chad Conley & Greg Mitchell

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

The North East Kitchen has published an interview with Greg Mitchell & Chad Conley, chef/owners of the Palace Diner. The interviewed is beautifully illustrated with a set of photos from kitchen and counter at the diner.

NEK: What about now, is there someone or something that particularly inspires your cooking?
CC: I’ve moved away from my earlier interest in fine dining and anything “fancy”. My favorite restaurants are well-run local favorites. I’m proud of the way we execute homey, comfortable food at Palace. I’ve become more interested in paying attention to the non-food parts of the restaurant experience. The idea of creating a simply pleasant experience that exceeds people’s expectations and leaves them feeling like they’ve found something unique but approachable has become a part of what drives me alongside creating fun and delicious food.

The North East Kitchen is a new project which will include “interviews – and recipes – from chefs and cooks, and feature kitchens and food life along the North Eastern US”. Author/photographer Myriam Babin is also “producing a photography book about chefs of the North Eastern US to be published by Princeton Architectural Press.”

Visiting Chef Alfie Mossadeg

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

Portland Phoenix columnist Chris Papagni has written about the recent visit by chef Alfie Mossadeg to Portland for Tempo Dulu’s Singapore Sling dinner.

Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest, owners of Tempo Dulu and the Danforth Inn, are known for doing things in a big way. They believe that their Executive Chef Lawrence Klang, whose cuisine has been widely celebrated, can benefit greatly from exposure to great chefs from all over Southeast Asia. Flying Chef Alfie to Portland is the first of several chef visits planned for 2016. Each chef will work alongside Chef Lawrence, collaborating and creating a new and exciting menu. This big-picture thinking is what sets Brunyanki and Verest apart from the rest. It’s all about learning, questioning and improving. Chef Alfie has great respect and much gratitude for the two men who brought him to the United States.

Interview with Restaurant Critic James Schwartz

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with James Schwartz on the advent of his 1-year anniversary as the restaurant critic for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Q: If you could give advice to a restaurant about how to do things right, what would you say?
The first thing I would say is cleanliness makes a huge difference. Nothing turns off a diner more than a sticky table. Next, warm service is good. Warm, professional service is better. It’s very nice to have a waiter or waitress who is nice. But it’s better to have a waiter or waitress who is nice but knows what they are doing. The last thing for me would be, simple is always better. A beautifully prepared piece of sautéed fish or chicken is better in my opinion than a poorly prepared piece of fish that is exuberantly sauced. I think gilding the lily is unnecessary.

Peter P. Profenno, 81

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Peter P. Profenno, Jr. passed away on Friday at the age of 81.

Along with his late wife Mary, he founded Profenno’s Pizzeria in Westbrook in 1962.

Po’ Boys Changes Hands

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Po’ Boys and Pickles founder Peter Zinn has sold the business to Chris Bettera. Bettera doesn’t plan to make any major changes to Po’ Boys, “When you have an amazing product and a great crew, there really isn’t a need to start from scratch.”

Bettera is a 3rd generation restaurateur. His grandfather owned 5 restaurants in the Hartford Connecticut area, and his parents ran La Trattoria Restaurant in Canton, CT for over 40 years. Bettera grew up working in restaurants and has been working at Bonobo’s since moving to Portland while searching for the right opportunity to own his own restaurant. He spent the prior “16 years traveling the world while working in the field of international education”.

Zinn plans to now spend his time growing the Choomi Cookies business he launched in 2013.

Interview with Chris Harris

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Chris Harris, co-owner of Crooners & Cocktails.

LO: What do you feel makes your restaurant stand out from the other dining options in Portland?
CH: Attention to detail. I do my walkthrough of the dining room every single night. I measure the silverware. I measure the glassware. I measure how far the napkins are from the edge of the table. … We don’t want people to think it’s stuffy, because it’s not. But we are such professionals here, in every aspect. Everyone here is after the same goal, and that’s absolute perfection. We’re trying to do something special here in Portland, and there’s nothing else like us here.