Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Interview with Fred Forsley

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview with Shipyard co-owner Fred Forsley.

Q: From the business perspective, is it complicated?
It looks like a simple business, but it can be complicated in the sense of getting a brand to grow and to get more than an initial sampling. From day one, the product was world-class and that made it easier to sell. At the end of the day, sales and marketing is a key ingredient, but it’s the quality of the product.

Letter from Ilma Lopez

Monday, December 15th, 2014

For the past two and half months Damian Sansonetti, chef and co-owner of Piccolo and Blue Rooster, has been battling a significant illness. He’s now returned home from a long hospital stay. His wife and partner Ilma Lopez has asked me to post this letter to make the situation public and express the gratitude of the family for all the help they’ve received during this time.

Ten weeks ago, Isabella and I took Damian to the hospital. Finally this week, he returned home to Portland from Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. What has been a long, difficult and uncertain period for our family is finally coming full circle. Damian is home and beginning again to do what he loves to do more than anything in the world: eating food.

Due to the medical ambiguity and uncertain outcome of Damian’s condition, we have strived to keep the situation private. Thankfully, today we are able to publically acknowledge that, while much mending is to be done, Damian is well and will be returning to the kitchen soon. We would like to thank those that have worked in his stead and kept the restaurants running like clockwork. Luke Aberle, Kelly Nelson, Dan McCarthy, Randy Cruse, Jason Williams, Kim Rodgers – we owe you the world. Thank you–and for all the support we received from the community we are eternally grateful.

We hope to see you soon at Piccolo or Blue Rooster soon.

Ilma Lopez

Sprudge Interview with Tandem Bakery

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Coffee industry insider Sprudge has published an interview with Will Pratt and Briana Holt from Tandem Bakery.

Are you able to do anything different with coffee service at the second space?
Pratt: We’re doing Fetcos over there, which has been pretty good. It’s actually been harder to dial in than we thought—we thought it was just press play and forget about it, but it presents a lot of fun challenges. And we’ve actually been using the Mahlkönig K30, we’ve been doing espresso shots—longer shots—and the espressos up there are amazing. We’re adding AeroPress and other made-to-order stuff in the next couple weeks as well. It’s been crazy how the reaction to the space makes people forget that we’re a coffee company, so we’re trying to put that back in there as well. Every picture we see is of the food!

Q&A with Sonja Swanberg

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

A Blissful Interlude has published a Q&A with Scratch Baking co-owner Sonja Swanberg.

<strong”>What’s your favorite thing (you, personally) to bake at Scratch?

Sunshine Cake.  It’s an old family recipe, which we don’t always have, but I really love making it.

Interviews with Jason Loring and Ned Wight

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Last week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix includes an interview with Ned Wight, co-owner of New England Distilling, about the craft spirits industry,

Why the giant push in the craft brewing industry, and a seemingly less robust one in distilling?
I don’t think it’s a less robust push, really. Breweries are growing on a larger base. There’s been more exposure in the market to what craft beer can be. I think it’s a difference in the number of people who are drinking spirits. In the last three or four years we’ve gone from around 100 distilleries nationally, to something like 600. Quieter growth, but a lot of it.

and as part of a new series, an interview with Nosh/Slab co-owner Jason Loring on his favorite dish at a local restaurant.

Describe the dish. Why is [Central Provisions’ Spicy Beef Salad] your favorite menu item?
It’s really the contrast of the spicy, the sweet and the salty. It has every element you want in a dish. Between the hot sauce, whatever they are using for sugar, the acid with the lime, and the peanuts, it’s perfect for me. It’s what I want all the time.

Interview with Chef Andrew Taylor

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

A Blissful Interlude has published an interview with Andrew Taylor co-chef/owner of Eventide and Hugo’s.

Taylor says that the distinguishing factor about Eventide Oyster Co. is that “we wanted to be able to take as many liberties as we could with that style.  Our culinary approach is that we are farm to table, but what really excites us is our love of international food.  One of the things we love is that the techniques are so unique compared to what we were taught.  Using the basic blueprint, we then applied our own framework using the culinary influence of international cuisine.”

Interview with Heather Sanborn

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview Heather Sanborn, co-owner of Rising Tide Brewing.

Q: Since the business has grown, have you stepped back from the actual brewing?
As we’ve grown, I have been able to do less and less on the production side. Back when we had one employee, I would work on the bottling line and clean out the tanks and brew a pilot batch now and then, but now I can focus on other things I like. And I can say, “I want a beer that tastes like this,” and Nathan and the others can come up with the recipe and try that. The thing I enjoy doing the most is working on financial projects – how we can finance the next tank and making sure everyone gets paid and working on hiring plans. We’re a team of 11 right now and we hired our first full-time employee in 2012. So there’s an HR role and CFO role that falls to me as well.

Andrea Lee, 65

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Longtime Portland bartender Andrea Lee passed away last week at the age of 65.

Andrea Lee, a beloved bartender at Sangillo’s Tavern who offered comfort, laughter and “really good drinks” to its patrons for 37 years, died unexpectedly on Nov. 6. She was 65.

Ms. Lee worked Wednesday and Friday nights at the popular Portland neighborhood bar, which usually drew large crowds with Lee behind the bar.

For details on services see the obituary in today’s Press Herald.

The Hunter’s Bend

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

thehuntersbend A new supper club and catering operation called The Hunter’s Bend (website, twitter, instagram) is now in operation in Portland.

Founders Frank Anderson and Rebecca Ambrosi originally hail from northern Maine and Chicago respectively. Frank has spent the last 15 years cooking restaurants across the country including as the chef de cuisine at Son of a Gun in Los Angeles. Rebecca is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute and has worked for both Thomas Keller and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

The supper club is described as a “closed-door restaurant offering an intimate, dinner party style experience at unique locations around Portland.”

The hunter’s bend club is a closed-door restaurant offering an intimate, dinner party style experience at unique locations around Portland. The evening includes a guided food tour of the one of a kind menu, where Frank and Rebecca explain every course, it’s ingredients and why they chose it. Their favorite parts of the dinners so far include bringing people together, strangers who are seated next to each exchanging their information by the end of the night and answering guest’s questions about technique, ingredients and anything else they might be curious about.

The upcoming dinner they have planned is a 6-course meal featuring Ora King king salmon from New Zealand.

The Hunter’s Bend is a reference to a type of knot credited to Dr. Edward Hunter.


Sunday, October 19th, 2014

The Maine Sunday Telegram features a check-in with chef/owner David Levi as his restaurant Vinland(website, facebook) approaches its 1-year anniversary.

It started slowly. Other restaurateurs had told him not to expect business to pick up until after the Fourth of July, but still, June dragged on. He shook up the menu with a new small plate theme – letting customers build a meal of any five plates for $60. He’d had good press in the Wall Street Journal in May. The cruise ships came in, but those passengers never seemed to make it up the hill. He decided to stay open on the 4th itself; other restaurants were closing, but if there were customers to be had, he resolved to take advantage. “It turned out to be a really big night for us,” he said. For the next couple of weeks, there would be sporadic bursts of business, huge nights on a Monday or Tuesday and then relative calm again. Then around the middle of the month, high season started in a big way. “Every night was a huge night until Labor Day,” Levi said.

Interview with Kelly Nelson

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Shift Drinks has published a Q & A with Kelly Nelson from Piccolo.

Can you talk a bit about the relationship between a guest and someone who works in the front of the house?
…I have always seen it as a performance as I used to dance and act and my personality is distinct and strong. I found that over the years, I have come to be able to read what the customer wants. You gauge what is pleasurable for the diner and you can then provide whatever service you think would be best for them. Sometimes that means leaving them alone entirely. You give them their food, make sure everything is perfect, and you are a ghost. To the other extreme, you become part of the experience by performing and engaging them in discussion of food and drink. It becomes a full circle of experience between the human interaction and the pleasures of well-paired food and alcohol.

Interview with Pete McAleney

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Press Herald has published a Q & A with Pete McAleney who recently sold his business New Meadows Lobster to DiMillo’s.

Q: Is seasonality a big problem?
You need lobsters in the summertime – that’s when people want them. You also have to realize you’ve got your business associates in Canada – notice how I said that – whose season will open up in a month right at the time our lobsters will be getting a firm hard shell. But it’s November and you don’t sell a lot of lobster in November. Then demand comes on strong in December and then it’s kaput. When you ship out at Christmastime, you have to worry about storms. We used to be big shippers to Belgium and France for the holidays – a lot of fishermen would help us pack the trucks and take them to Bangor (for shipping to Europe). But if there was snow, the flight would sit there and you would go crazy. You have to have a sense of humor in this business.

Interview with Bernie Larsen

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview with Bernie Larsen, co-founder of Moran’s Market in 1956.

Q: Why are you continuing to work at 85?
A: There’s still that touch, that personal touch. People just love to come in and that’s why I’m still working – I enjoy people. I work six days a week, but I go in at 6 (a.m.) and get out at 1 (p.m.), so I don’t want to sound like a hero. It keeps me young, even though my body says no.

Interview with Kathleen Pratt

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Knack Factory has published an interview with Kathleen Pratt, co-owner of Tandem.

What I find fascinating about Tandem is that—outside of the coffee, which is great—you have sort have built a micro-culture around this place. I heard about Tandem before I even knew about your coffee. It was a place to go, to be. Was it a conscious decision to develop that?
We definitely had an environment that we wanted to create. In opening a cafe, I remember sitting down and asking, “What is it that we want to make here?” We want people to feel like they are stepping into our home, to create an intimate setting where people can meet each other. The whole reason I was drawn to coffee in the first place was my first cafe job. There, I had found a sense of community. But this place took on its own thing completely.

Interview with Chef Fred Eliot

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Eater Maine has published a 3-part interview with chef Fred Eliot (part 1, part 2, part 3) from Petite Jacqueline.

Fred Eliot didn’t intend to cook for a living. Growing up in France, he learned plenty of useful kitchen skills from his grandmother and mother, but his English Literature studies led him away from food. A move to Iowa and then Ohio with his first wife took him even further from food culture, surrounding him with fast food chains. The shock this caused was enough to get him “cooking more” at home again, which ultimately convinced Eliot he needed to stand in front of stove rather than sit in front of a computer.

Interview with John Naylor at Rosemont

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

The Press Herald has published an interview with John Naylor, co-owner of Rosemont.

Q: You’ve gone from one store to four and a catering operation. What are the plans for growth?
If we’re going to expand, our kitchen needs to get bigger and our warehouse needs to get bigger, so were going to start looking for space. We’re at about 4,000 square feet at the warehouse and we’re looking to expand to 10,000 to 12,000 square feet. We’d like to be able to take big animals in bigger pieces (for the butcher shop) and to get into preservation with the produce and offer Maine products year-round. That’s our mission now, to find that space. If we could have a warehouse big enough to help farmers store their crop, it could open up business with institutions. For instance, I’m on a committee that’s looking at how we get more local food into Portland’s public schools.

Apple Interview with Rowan Jacobsen

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

applesThe Press Herald has published a extended interview with James Beard award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen about his new book on heirloom apples.

Did you just go in search of different varieties – a random search – or did you put out feelers to try to find out who was growing what?
It was kind of a mix. I talked to growers about some of their favorites, some of the apple collector guys, and I’ve done research. There are some great books written about apples in the 1800s. Some of those are very opinionated about certain apples. So I developed a wish list of apples that I knew I wanted to check out.

Were there times you’d just stop by the side of the road and try something?
In Vermont, I do that all the time. This time of year the roadsides are just laden with wild apple trees, volunteer trees that nobody planted. But those aren’t any particular variety. You don’t know what you’re going to get with them. My wife and son don’t like to drive with me this time of year.

I had the chance to read an advance copy of the book and can give it a hearty 2 thumbs up. Jacobsen catalogs 100+ apples, providing tasting notes, detailed histories and does it all with an approachable and witty style that made it a pleasure to read.

Jacobsen will be in Portland on Monday September 22nd at SPACE Gallery for a reading and an apple tasting in collaboration with David Buchanan.

Innovative Women in Food: Chellie Pingree

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Fortune and Food & Wine magazines have included Maine Congresswoman and farmer Chellie Pingree in their list of the Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink.

Rudolph Ferrante, 91

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Rudolph Ferrante passed away last week at the age of 91.

In the 1950s, he co-owned restaurants including the Forest Gardens and Espans Quick Lunch in Portland. In the mid 1960s, he opened Rudy’s Lunch on Middle Street in Portland. He also owned Harbor Lunch on Commercial Street. Most recently, he owned and operated the iconic Rudy’s Diner on Main Street in South Portland. He retired in 1992, after running the diner for 17 years.

Interview with Steve Corry

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

As part of a new series that looks at how business leaders innovate their way around challenges, the Press Herald has interviewed Steve Corry, chef and co-owner of Five Fifty Five and Petite Jacqueline.

In a stroke of good timing, in April 2007, Corry was named Best New Chef by Food and Wine magazine. But he didn’t get to savor that success for long. In September 2008, Wall Street banking giant Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy, and the economy went into a tailspin.