Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Primo’s Kelly at JBF Gala

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Melissa Kelly, chef/owner of Primo in Rockland is one of a team 17 award winning chefs that have been invited to prepare a dish for the James Beard Award Gala in May.

Other chefs participating in the gala include luminaries such as David Chang, Daniel Patterson and Nancy Silverton.

Four Maine chefs are nominees in this year’s awards competition: Cara Stadler(Rising Star), Central Provisions(Best New Restaurant), Masa Miyake(Best Chef: Northeast) and Andrew Taylor/Mike Wiley(Best Chef: Northeast).

Interview with Sean Wilkinson

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Eater Maine has published an interview with Sean Wilkinson from Might & Main about the design/branding work his company has done with several Portland restaurants.

Can you have a house design but ensure you’re not copying yourself with all these restaurants?
I feel like as time has gone by, it’s easier for us to recognize we have a certain set of house aesthetics. We work really hard to make sure things don’t look alike but when you have a creative director in charge of decisions, things are going to be put through that person’s filter.

We try to make sure that the overall appearance for each restaurant is appropriate, and we turn projects down on a fairly regular basis because we’re afraid they may be a conflict. If somebody were to open a nordic-themed craft cocktail bar and asked us to design the menu systems, that’d be a no-brainer for us to say no to [because of Might & Main’s work with The Portland Hunt and Alpine Club], or if somebody were opening an oyster bar. We’re very conscious of differentiation in this town.

Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

nhj_vtThe Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about Maine native and food book author Nancy Harmon Jenkins and her new book on olive oil.

Jenkins, already a nationally known expert on the Mediterranean diet, has just written a book that focuses exclusively on olive oil. “Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil” is part primer on olive oil, part cookbook – it includes more than 100 Mediterranean recipes – and part autobiographical account of producing olive oil on her own Tuscan farm. It’s the sixth book she’s written about Mediterranean food.

Portland Bar Lore

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Chris Busby’s article in the April issue of The Bollard shares some interesting stories from Portland’s past.

Since it was late in the war, with the outcome in Europe already decided, our government had no use for the services of the sub’s crew. They were given the option of being returned to Italy or remaining in this country…one of them was a man with the surname Ricci.

With the money allotted to him, Mr. Ricci opened an eatery on Portland Street and named it Ricci’s Tavern. Ownership passed from one individual to another over the years, and the name was eventually Americanized to Rickey’s Tavern — the addition of “Rockin’” being the latest twist.

Chef Cara Stadler

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about chef Cara Stadler.

Also on her 10-year agenda is expanding her business. She doesn’t want any more restaurants, but hopes to develop some food businesses that will give her employees a living wage, health care, and some growth opportunities so they’ll stay with her longer. She’d like, for example, to start some kind of fermentation company with [Josh] Fratoni, who is an expert on the topic. She also wants to start making and selling the hot sauces that [Saskia] Poulos has been experimenting with the past few years.

But for now, she’s still enjoying the national spotlight and the boost it has given to her business. While loyal locals keep Tao Yuan busy in winter, summer traffic was “way more intense” last year.

Interview with Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Mike Wiley and Andrew Taylor, the chefs/co-owners of Hugo’s and Eventide.

Q: You are both owner/chefs. What’s the division of labor?

TAYLOR: He focuses much more on Hugo’s, and I focus much more Eventide. We’ve hired an old sous-chef for Honey Paw. Both of us are intimately involved with the menu at Honey Paw. If I have a flash of inspiration that fits better at Hugo’s, I’ve no problem saying that. And the same for him. We try to cultivate a collaborative atmosphere in the restaurant. I really like it when a cook says, “I’d really like to do this.” It’s much better if the cooks have a sense of ownership because it’s going to taste better.

WILEY: It sounds clichéd, but we have a really awesome community that helps us run the restaurants.

Taylor and Wiley are semi-finalist nominees for this year’s James Beard Best Chef: Northeast award. Along with their co-owner Arlin Smith, they’re currently in the process of launching a third restaurant, The Honey Paw.

Interview with Standard Baking Co.

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Alison Pray and Matt James, co-owners of Standard Baking Company.

Q: I run into bakers and pastry chefs all the time with Standard Baking on their resume. Is mentoring important to you?
PRAY: Mentoring is huge. That is the beauty of baking and bread especially. You can’t learn it from a book. You have to learn by having your hands in the dough. And you have to learn from master bakers, or just bakers better than you. Watching what they do, trying to duplicate their movements, watching as they make adjustments to the dough. You learn from every batch that you make. It’s a constant work in progress to try to make good bread consistently.

Update: MPBN has also posted a profile of Alison Pray and Matt James.

New Blog: A Women’s Guide to Butchering

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Kathleen Lomen, a former vegetarian current staff member at The Farm Stand, has launched A Women’s Guide to Butchering, a blog on her chosen career path as a butcher.

I needed to find a way to BE the butcher and own my space. And it’s not just me. I’ve seen the women coming out of the wood work giving a go at breaking into this field and that’s who this website is for. Part anecdotal and part instructional, i want this to be a place for people to see a woman at work and also one who is still in her early beginnings of becoming a seasoned butcher.

Scott Tyree

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Congratulations to Scott Tyree who recently passed the Theory Exam as part of his efforts to complete his certification as a Master Sommelier. Of the 120 Advanced Sommeliers who took the exam a scant 20 passed this very demanding exam.

Tyree and the others will be in Aspen this May for the final step in the process, the blind tasting and services tests. For the blind tasting candidates will need to successfully identify the “grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintages” of 6 different wines within 25 minutes.

There are currently 140 Master Sommeliers in all of North America.

Interview with Shannon Bard

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Shannon Bard, chef of Zapoteca.

Q: But why in Maine?
A:
I knew there was a need for traditional Mexican cuisine. I take traditional dishes and I modernize them and make them my own, using as many local ingredients as possible. People have their preconceived idea of what Mexican is, but they’ve had border Mexican (cuisine). A huge majority hasn’t had interior Mexican cuisine. That was the biggest challenge – people having ideas of what Mexican food should be. I could bring up traditional produce and fish from (Mexico), but it would cost a lot more money and I want to focus on local products as much as possible.

Interview with Paige & Chris Gould

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Eater Maine has published an interview with the owners of Central Provisions, Chris and Paige Gould.

If you don’t remember opening night that well, do you have a most memorable service in here?
CG: I think the three times we got standing ovations from the whole restaurant.

PG: Yeah, that was pretty intense.

CG: Somebody, like a four top, would stand up and start clapping, and then the whole restaurant would just start clapping about the food and the service and the drinks. Those nights stick out to me a lot because I’ve never seen that happen in a restaurant, and it’s happened three times here.

PG: It’s cute, he blushes.

Interview with Larry Matthews

Friday, February 20th, 2015

As part of its ongoing Deep Dish series, the Portland Phoenix interviewed Larry Matthews, chef/owner of Back Bay Grill about where he likes to eat out.

With kids and a busy schedule (he’s often cooking the food at the Grill himself, as he is now) Matthews doesn’t get out much. When he does, he goes to Five Fifty-Five for mussels. Or for steak. Or for anything, really, that his friends, Five Fifty-Five co-owners Steve and Michelle Corry, and their team whip up.

Mary Profenno, 78

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Mary Profenno passed away last weekend at the age of 78. Mary and Peter founded Profenno’s Pizzeria in Westbrook in 1962.

While he was the face of the iconic restaurant, it was Mary Profenno who led the charge behind the scenes. She died of an apparent heart attack on Saturday at their home in Portland. She was 78.

The restaurant has been a fixture on Main Street in Westbrook since 1962. Peter Profenno, who was cooking at his restaurant on Wednesday, still oversees its day-to-day operation. She oversaw the business loans and other finances.

Interview with Rob Tod

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Eater Maine has published an interview with Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing.

When you started the company in 1995, legend has it you couldn’t give Allagash White away in bars because of the public’s and the industry’s unfamiliarity with Belgian styles. What was the worst response you got?
I used to walk into bars and restaurants with samples and the first thing they said is, “What’s wrong with it?” That was the common response. I got used to it. You just spend time trying to educate people: “Hey, this is a traditional Belgian style beer. It’s supposed to be cloudy ’cause it’s unfiltered and that contributes a lot to the quality of the beer.” Even if I could talk someone into a draft line it was generally the worst selling one. Accounts weren’t familiar with the beer and neither were customers. It was a long slow grind, the first ten years. Probably the first twelve years, really.

Scallop Divers

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Today’s issue of the Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Maine’s diver scallop fishermen.

“I’ve been caught in currents and dragged,” said Brian Preney, 55, a diver out of Boothbay who is a member of the Urchin Advisory Council and has been fishing with scuba gear since 1980. He learned how to dive at Colby College, in the pool, and married into a family of fishermen. Fishing for urchins, which generally don’t take a diver below 30 feet, is like “picking cotton” in comparison to the more exciting pursuit of scallops, which have the power to dart away, fast. “I liken scalloping more to hunting.”