Archive for the ‘People’ Category
What about baking specifically?
The way I got into baking was crazy. My ex-wife—my wife at the time—and I had moved to Maine to get back to the land. I built a house out of the trees of the land, cut the Spruce logs down and built a log house. I built all of the furniture. While I was doing this incredible endeavor I needed some carb sustenance so I would make these big piles to burn off the Spruce and when it would get down to ash, I would make very crude breads by burying it in that ash.
Knack Factory has published an interview with bartender John R. Myers.
What about those revelations appealed to you?
I think it is just like anything that you start to care about. You start caring about quality on another level, especially when your craft is related to your employment. When you care about doing it, it brings a whole new level of enjoyment. When you care about the quality of ingredients you are using and the fresh juices and the homemade concoctions, it keeps it interesting and makes it worth doing.
Maine a la Carte has reported on a preview dinner at Chebeague Island Inn prepared by their new chef Brandon Hicks.
Hicks moved to Maine from ilili Restaurant in New York City, where he spent the last three years as chef de cuisine. Before that, he worked at several New York restaurants, including a stint as chef de cuisine at Brasserie 8 1/2; maitre fromager at Artisinal Restaurant; and chef de partie at Picholine.
Hicks is also a certified master sommelier, and shared some of his knowledge about wine – as well as a bottle or two from his own cellar – during the course of the evening.
Knack Factory has posted a Q&A with Arlin Smith from Hugo’s.
Why are you in this business?
I love taking care of people in a way that they didn’t even think was possible. I would say that fact alone is what drives me. Ultimately it is what I do every day for people. Most people see service as service, where they have a server and they get to beckon them, call them over, whatever is brought over, they pay them and they are on their way. I feel like hospitality is an anticipation of needs, it is making suggestions, it is getting guests something they wanted that they didn’t even know they wanted.
Knack Factory has posted an interview with Kim Rodgers, pastry chef at Hugo’s/Eventide.
This industry can be a difficult one and sometimes people don’t stick around for very long. What made you stick around?
I went to school for art, sculpture and French. For me, it was a marriage of all of those things. It was a tactile and visual thing. There are materials and you are changing them and there are endless possibilities and I fell in love with it. And you go in every day and it is never the same. It is not always the easiest, but there is always something to learn and there are great people to work with.
How does your upbringing on a farm influence the way you work now?
That’s interesting. I definitely approach it in a more practical way, but it limits my abilities in other ways. Fortunately, I have my partner Fred [Farber] and a few other collaborators who have whole different skill sets, and together we make a good unit. In terms of the practical piece: growing up in a really, really remote setting during a really remote time, I learned from everybody that if you can’t find it, you make it. Basically everything here we’ve made ourselves.
Shift Drinks has posted an interview with Damian Sansonetti, chef and co-owner of Piccolo.
That is an excellent motivator.
You don’t really feel like you are going to work. Now it’s even more rewarding because it is our place. It is a smaller place too and so we get to see our customers and so it is easier. When you see a guest and they are happy, that’s the ultimate reward. When they tell you that what you made with all of your crew took them back to their childhood, or to a food memory, and it transported them in some way big or small, that is really rewarding.
WCSH interviewed chef/owner David Levi for a report on Vinland.
If they can deliver this bounty in the dead of winter imagine what they’ll deliver when the growing gets good.
Food & Wine has named Cara Stadler from Tao Yuan one of their 2014 Best New Chefs. According to an article on Press Herald,
Stadler, who was in New York to celebrate at a Food & Wine party Tuesday night, said she was “super excited – and shocked” to hear that she had been awarded the honor. She said she found a few weeks ago, when Cowin broke the news by phone
Sadierae & Co. have published and interview with chefs Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor from Hugo’s/Eventide.
Do you have a favorite chef that you really, really admire?
Andrew: There are so many both from way back when and now… but when I was getting into cooking, I really loved Chris Schlesinger at East Coast Grill in Cambridge, MA. It definitely wasn’t the fanciest restaurant and he doesn’t own it anymore, but fifteen years ago, the food was so much fun – way ahead of its time in Boston. Chris really seems like a very intelligent guy too. He’s written several great cookbooks and he’s still a contributor to the NY Times.
Mike: I’m a reader, and right now, I’m way into David Kinch’s new book, Manresa. I’m so impressed by Chef Kinch’s approach to agriculture, food, seasonality, and even training young cooks. The guy makes his own finishing salt, I mean, come on!
Knack Factory has posted a Q&A with Nosh co-owner Jason Loring.
What appeals to you about the industry now that you own your own places.
I think I am growing out of cooking and I like building businesses. That’s what I want to do. Sometimes I feel guilty about it because cooking… those are my roots. It’s what I did for so long. You’re there on Friday nights and you’re sweating behind the line. Now I sometimes feel like maybe I am not doing something [when I am not doing that], or like I should be doing something more.
This is the second interview in a series. The first was with Amber Dorcus who works at Local 188 and LFK.
Today’s Press Herald includes an article on the growing role women are playing in Maine’s brewing industry.
[In addition to Shonee Strickland] There are other women working in Maine’s booming craft beer industry, either as brewery owners or brewers, but their numbers are still tiny. Among the most notable: Heather Sanborn owns Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing with her husband, Nathan; she handles the business side of things while he makes the beer. Ashley Fendler does some brewing at Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, while her primary job is to lead tours and educate customers in the brewery’s tasting room. Stasia Brewczynski, one of the founders of Maine Beer Mavens, holds a similar position at Rising Tide.
The American Journal has published an interview with Pamela Laskey, owner of Maine Foodie Tours.
Laskey sees the tours as a “win-win” for both foodies and businesses alike. Foodies get information and samples, and businesses have a chance to promote their product. She says that between 30 and 35 percent of tour customers end up making purchases on the tour stops. And, unlike some food tours, Laskey compensates businesses for the samples they offer during the tour. Yes, the businesses get exposure and sales, she says, but the cost of samples can add up.
Star Chefs has posted a profile of Ilma Lopez, the pastry chef and co-owner of Piccolo.
From comfortingly familiar Italianate desserts like budinos and zeppole, to unexpected Sunday Supper finales incorporating everything from wasabi to bone marrow, this petit chef brings her special brand of refinement and ingenuity to every level of the Piccolo operation, delivering big city flavor to her small city patrons.
I Love Portland Maine has published an interview with Salt + Sea owner Justine Simon.
I’m a fish lover, and I eat it a few times a week. What are the major differences between the fish I would see in my supermarket to what you sell?
Justine: Well there are a few differences. Fresh fish doesn’t smell like fish, it smells like the ocean. A lot of people think they don’t like fish, but they’ve never really had fresh fish before. It’s a whole different thing. We have a strict policy of not holding fillets. Our fish is cut the day of delivery, while most fish you see in the supermarket has been sitting around, filleted, for sometimes days at a time. We also never soak our fish in chemicals like bleach or tripoly…
“We believe that as time goes on and our relationships continue to deepen and strengthen, the impact on quality will only amplify,” Garver wrote in an email to me. “This is part of our general approach to our coffees as one in which we are using “best practices” at every step in the coffees journey, which include not only practices on the farms and in processing the coffees at origin and our involvement there (sourcing), but in our roasting, our preparation/brewing and finally how we present them to our customers.”
Fighting the Tides has published an article about Fishermen’s Grill and its owner Mike Nappi.
The charming hole in the wall seafood joint, tucked unpretentiously across the street from Baxter Woods in an area that’s traditionally been hard on restaurant owners, is known for their large portions and fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
As of last week they’re also becoming known for their national ranking of 60th best restaurant in the entire country and the number one (I repeat, NUMBER ONE) seafood restaurant in all of New England.
Maine magazine has published an interview about his return to Portland and perspective on the food scene.
I was not entirely aware of the full extent to which this reputation had spread until I spent a year away in Boston. Whenever I told people where I’d come from, they reacted as though Portland’s streets were paved with gold, a place where every single bite of food was ambrosial and everyone ate like kings…