Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Karen Kay Geary, 68 (Updated)

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

The Beer Babe has posted an article about the passing of Karen Kay Geary, co-founder of D.L. Geary Brewing.

Notably, Karen was the first female brewery owner in Maine, and among the first in New England and the U.S., after prohibition. Author and beer historian Tom Acitelli commented that, “To be a woman involved in craft beer in the early/mid-1980s was to be in rare company; it was, like the larger brewing industry, very much a man’s world on both the consumer and business sides.” I, for one, would like to thank her for being a pioneer in the early days and paving the way for those that came after her in craft beer. I hope you will join me in raising a toast in Karen’s honor.

Update: For more information see the article in Wednesday’s Press Herald.

Conley and Mitchell at The Palace

Monday, December 2nd, 2013


Chad Conley, head chef at Gather, and business partner Greg Mitchell have leased the Palace Diner (website, facebook, twitter) on Franklin Street in Biddeford with plans to relaunch the business this Spring. The pair plan to maintain a traditional diner menu for breakfast and lunch. In the evening they’ll be launching a dinner service with more creative fare, and have submitted an application for liquor license. During warmer weather they’ll have outdoor seating.

Conley is a Portland native who in addition to Gather has cooked at Hugo’s and Jean-Georges in NYC. He worked for Eliot Coleman at Four Season Farm in Harborside and helped launch Miyake Farms in Freeport. He and Mitchell met when they were both working  Four Season Farm.

The Palace Diner was founded by Louis LaChance in 1927 and is being leased to Conley and Mitchell by the current owner, David Capotosto. It was built by the Pollard Company in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The new Palace Diner joins a growing community of food businesses in Biddeford. the former mill town is home to Rabelais which moved their in 2011, Elements coffee shop/bookstore, Royal Rose cocktail syrup (a Brooklyn transplant), Cobblestones (formerly located on Monument Square), newly launched Banded Horn Brewing and the production facilities for Vervacious. The low rent and steadily growing downtown community are making it an appealing place to launch a business. A number of other Portland chefs have recently considered opening in Biddeford. Conley and Mitchell’s may become an example for other chefs looking to launch their own restaurant.

These photos are from a friends and family breakfast Conly and Mitchell held yesterday to celebrate their new business.

Gather is now in the process of recruiting a new head chef.





Under Construction: Interview with David Levi

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

SoupWhiteBackground4-300x284The Ink & Pine podcast has posted an interview with David Levi about his restaurant Vinland.

Listen in to hear how top chefs in Italy and Denmark influenced Levi’s decisions about Vinland, how to fill a Maine kitchen with exclusively Maine foods, why lard has a bad rap and much more. Here, David Levi will discuss everything from a future Portland culinary school to foraging for edible mushrooms in New York City’s Central Park to the gourmet preparation of reindeer lichen. What food staples could be locally grown in Maine, but aren’t?

El Rayo Bartender in GQ

Monday, November 18th, 2013

henrysaphireEl Rayo’s Henry Jost participated earlier this year in the Bombay Saphire Most Imaginative Bartender competition. Jost (2nd from the left in this segment of the image) and the other 45 bartenders from the competition are featured in a 4-page tableau in the December issue of GQ.

Jost’s entry in the competition was the High Port which is made with “fresh honeydew juice, fresh lemonade infused with three botanicals, juniper berry, coriander seed and orris root; Cocchi Americano Apertif; and Bombay Sapphire gin”.

El Rayo’s holding a release party for Jost on Tuesday, 6-8pm at El Rayo Cantina.

Interview of Maine Pie Line

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

mpl_logoThe Press Herald has published an interview with Briana Warner about her new bakery/pie CSA, Maine Pie Line (website, facebook).

Warner, 30, grew up in Pennsylvania and studied international relations and economics at Yale and George Washington University. She first started baking pies when she was dating her husband, Matt, and found out how much he loves them. But she didn’t get really serious about them until the State Department posted her to Guinea, a tiny west African country south of Senegal and north of Sierra Leone, as an economic and political officer. There was a lot of political turmoil at the time – the embassy had to be evacuated while Warner was there – and she used pie as a cultural bridge.

Today”s paper also includes an article about a Maine sweet potato farm and a list of local bakeries where you can order pie for your Thanksgiving table.

Interview with David Levi

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Frontier Psychiatrist has published an interview with David Levi about his background and his upcoming restaurant Vinland.

FP: So, the burning question: what is the food going to be like?
DL: Wild foods are the ultimate for me. We are biologically wild animals, we evolved to eat wild foods, wild foods are more nutritious, they are more unusual and exciting and varied than anything we can buy, and they connect us in the most fundamental way to our landbase. I’m really interested in fermentation, especially wild fermentation (as in, fermenting without a starter culture, just relying on wild bacteria and yeast), so there will be lots of fermented ingredients and lots of foods that can be stored through the winter. Clearly, I won’t be using any food ingredients I can’t get in Maine. So, no olive oil, no black pepper, no lemon. This is where creativity comes in.

Restaurant Inspector Paid to Leave

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Former restaurant inspector Michele Sturgeon was given a settlement by the city to leave her job, according to a report from the Press Herald.

Michele Sturgeon, criticized for giving too many eateries failing grades, got $18,600 and agreed not to ‘speak ill’ of city officials or services.

Today’s paper also includes an article about the shutdown’s impact on seafood processing inspection.

Interview with Jack Barber

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Bank of America has published a Q&A with Mainely Burgers co-owner Jack Barber.

We came up with this crazy idea because we were meeting up in Boston at these food trucks. We thought: ‘Why don’t we try to bring these to Portland? No one’s done it yet.’ We seized the market opportunity, pooled our resources with friends and family, and purchased a food truck. At the time, Portland didn’t allow for them. In December, a friend of ours in the food industry suggested that we target a local beach.

Anna E. Russo, 93

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Anna E. Russo (article, obituary) passed away last week. Russo and her husband Alphonso ran Al’s Luncheonette on India Street from the 1940s until 1964.

She married Alphonso Russo in 1942, and the couple had six children. Together they operated Al’s Luncheonette at 45 India St. until 1964, when they sold the business to a neighborhood man who was hawking Italian items from the trunk of his car, said her son Joseph Russo. It would become Micucci’s grocery.

Anne Verrill: Grace & Foreside Tavern

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The American Journal has published a profile Anne Verrill.

Anne Verrill, 35, of Falmouth is the owner of two restaurants that are finding and maintaining success in the increasingly crowded, competitive greater Portland restaurant scene: Foreside Tavern in Falmouth, and Grace, the high-end restaurant housed in a renovated church in downtown Portland.

Interview with Chef Nick Krunkkala

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

The Forecaster has published an interview with Nick Krunkkala, the chef who recently opened Oscar’s New American in Yarmouth.

Krunkkala, 32, opened his first restaurant, Oscar’s New American, late last month on Route 1 in the space previously occupied by Sea Grass Cafe. He hopes to continue Sea Grass’ tradition, while serving patrons his own brand of Southern and Spanish flavors and small plates.

“My goal is to provide the most unique dining experience in the area,” he said.

Celebration and a Departure by Edible Obsessions

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

If you see the author of Edible Obsessions about town be sure to congratulate her. Earlier this month she passed a rigorous set of exams to become a Certified Cheese Professional—one of only 253 in the country.

She’s also announced the end of the witty and wonderful Edible Obsessions blog. I’ll be sad to see it go.

Masa Miyake, Miyake Diner & Miyake Farms

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

The Forecaster has published a feature article about chef Masa Miyake and Miyake Farm. The article has some details on Miyake Diner and an upcoming partnership between Miyake and Wolf’s Neck Farm.

Next month will be a busy one for Miyake. In mid-October, the chef will open his third restaurant in Portland – Miyake Diner on Spring Street, which will join Pai Men Miyake on State Street and his flagship restaurant, Miyake on Fore Street. On Oct. 20, Miyake will announce a partnership with Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport.

Maine Brew Bus & Dave Geary Interview

Friday, September 13th, 2013

This week’s edition of The Forecaster includes a double article about the Maine Brew Bus,

The tour visits three of Maine’s leading breweries: Allagash Brewing Co. off Riverside Street, where the visit begins with a tour and ends with a tasting; then to Maine Beer Co. in Freeport for a beer sampler and snack, and finally to Rising Tide Brewing Co. in East Bayside, for a final tasting.

and containing an interview with Dave Geary.

Geary, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, said the brewing scene has changed dramatically in the years since he began building his brewery in 1984.

“There we no real road maps, how-to guides,” he said. “All of our equipment is custom made. These days you can buy it off the shelf, turn-key operation, if you’ve got enough money.

Apples/John Bunker/Apple CSA

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about this year’s apple season, the apple CSA and John Bunker,

For five years now, Bunker and his wife, Cammy, and crew have run an “Out on a Limb” heritage apple CSA, with two drop-off locations in Portland. I just joined and can’t wait for this week’s first pickup of the 10 to 12 pounds of apples. Last year, the CSA distributed dozens of rare and beloved Maine varieties, including deep purple (plum-like) Black Oxfords and dense Blue Pearmains, aromatic Garden Royals and Idareds, Cox’s Orange Pippins and Northern Spys. Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus is known for these late season Northern Spys, crisp yet juicy, and equally good eaten fresh or baked into pie.

For more on the apple CSA see this post from The Blueberry Files about the first week’s distribution.

Bunker & the Apple CSA

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

It’s apple season, yesterday marked the start of the Out on a Limb apple CSA and so it’s perfect timing for The Root to post an article about Maine apple expert John Bunker.

Super Chilly Farm in Palermo, Maine is the home of John Bunker and Cammy Watts, and the base of operations for the “Out on a Limb” CSA program. A self-taught preservation pomologist, John has been tracking down heirloom apples and pears, particularly those originating in Maine, for decades. His 2007 publication Not Far From the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine chronicles his fruit exploring adventures.

Omi’s Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Portland Daily Sun has published an article on Omi’s Coffee Shop,

Omi’s Coffee Shop takes its name from co-owner Naomi Hall, and also functions as an exclamation one might make after drinking a cup of coffee there, as in “Oh my!”

In addition to the organic, fair-trade coffee, Omi’s also serves homegrown tea, baked goods from Standard Baking, and Union bagels.

and Natalie Ladd’s weekly column.

Bollard: Harding Lee Smith Article #2

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

The Bollard has published a 2nd article about chef Harding Lee Smith, owner of The Front Room, The Grill Room, The Corner Room and Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room.

During the two months since our July issue hit the streets, hardly a day has gone by that I have not encountered someone eager to share their own account of awful behavior by the subjects of that issue’s cover story: Chef Harding Lee Smith and his wife, Darcy.

Bollard: 2nd Article on Harding Lee Smith

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Editor Chris Busby has announced that the September issue of The Bollard will include a second article about Harding Lee Smith, chef/owner of “The Rooms” series of restaurants.

Imbibe: Matt Bolinder from Speckled Ax

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Matt Bolinder, owner and roaster at Speckled Ax, was featured in article about wood-roasted coffee in the latest issue of Imbibe magazine.

For Bolinder, wood choice is about controlling this highly specialized process. “The type of wood is important for the rate of burn and how quickly I can manipulate temperature,” he says. “I can’t go from zero to full gas in a second like most roasters, so I compensate by using different types of wood. Ash takes off quickly and with it, I can increase temperature fairly quickly. On the other hand, red oak takes longer to catch and start throwing heat, but its large pieces hold the temperature.”

The article isn’t yet available online but there is a copy behind the counter at Speckled Ax which you can take a look at. Imbibe has posted a short list of coffee shops in the US that feature wood-roasted coffee.