Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Changes at Ebb & Flow

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Melissa and William D’Auvray at Ebb & Flow have announced plans to move back to North Carolina. The couple are the front of house manager and chef at Ebb & Flow. They’re making the change to be closer to family while raising their son William and continuing to work in their careers.

Melissa and William  want to express their appreciation to their staff “for providing consistently wonderful food and personable, professional service on a daily basis. They are the reason we have enjoyed such great reviews since opening”, and to the “thousands of guests we’ve been fortunate enough to serve since opening, especially the countless regulars we see on a weekly basis who have taken the time to get to know us  – and little William”.

March 19th will be the D’Auvray’s last day at Ebb & Flow. Owner Angelo Ciocca plans to temporarily close the restaurant for some renovations March 20 – April 19, and will reopen with chef Paolo Laboa at the helm. Here’s a short video about Laboa when he joined the staff of a restaurant in Massachusetts. He is moving to Portland from Napa Valley.

Switching to a New Cuisine

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

An article in today’s Press Herald explores the challenges for chefs when they change jobs and take on a new cuisine that they haven’t cooked before.

Chefs say they take the leap to stretch themselves and to learn something new. Their strategies for tackling the challenge aren’t so different from anyone’s strategies learning new skills. For chefs, that includes reading, traveling and lots of experimentation in the kitchen.

“This seemed like a great opportunity to manage a kitchen and to force myself to learn new techniques, new ingredients, new flavor profiles,” [Matt] Ginn said, “because it’s easy to fall into a state of complacency.”

Winter Foraging

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Food  & Wine interviewed chefs David Levi at Vinland and Justin Walker at Earth about ingredients they forage throughout the winter in Maine.

Though his restaurant, Earth, is closed in the off-season, Walker gets inventive with wild Maine moss in winter. “We have a lot of reindeer moss growing on the Hidden Pond property,” he says. “It grows on ledgy areas. If it’s frozen you can reconstitute it in water, or you can burn it into an ash, which you can do a zillion things with. Or you can fry it. It’s very interesting fried,” he says. “But it’s just an addition—you don’t eat a pile of reindeer moss, unless you’re at Noma.”

Interview with Lauren Pignatello

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an interview with Lauren Pignatello, owner of Swallowtail Farm and Creamery and manager of winter farmers’ market.

In the next few weeks, Lauren Pignatello plans to open a cafe called Milk and Honey at 84 Cove St., the new(ish) home of the Portland Winter Farmers’ Market. Her cafe will feature dairy products from Swallowtail Farm and Creamery, the family farm she and her husband, Sean, run in North Whitefield, as well as herbal products, including elixirs, that Pignatello has either foraged or grown.

Charles DeGrandpre, 88

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Charles DeGrandpre, former Wolfe’s Neck Farm manager, passed away recently at the age of 88.

He was recruited to work at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in 1968 by its founders, Lawrence M.C. and Eleanor Houston Smith, early pioneers of organic agriculture. Together, the Smiths and DeGrandpre developed an organic beef farm, which became home to 300 head of mostly Black Angus. He was an early leader in developing healthy soils and nutrient-rich grasses with very few grains.

For more information on his life and accomplishments, see this obituary in the Press Herald.

Masa Miyake, Natural Wine

Friday, February 19th, 2016

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an interview with Masa Miyake,

LO: What would you say is your most popular dish on the menu, and what’s your personal favorite?
MM: The hamayaki (which the menu describes as “lobster, crab and scallop over sushi rice with truffle oil and spicy kewpie”) is very popular. I like Sashimi. I’m excited about local fish and [prepping] it. People also really like the daily Bento Box, which is chef’s choice. (The Bento Box consists of “six different small tastes, from sashimi to meat and vegetables,” according to the menu, and it’s served with miso soup.)

and an article about the emerging interest in natural wine in Portland.

“There’s definitely something afoot,” says Peter [Hale]. Though it gets a lot of attention from high-end publications, natural wine is mostly only popular in “tiny pockets within larger markets” like New York City or the Bay Area. That means Portland, “proportionally, is way ahead of the game” with its single dedicated shop, and Maine is even home to a cutting edge producer in Oyster River Winegrowers, based in Warren.

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.