Archive for the ‘People’ Category

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.”

East Ender @ Central Provisions

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Central Provisions has announced that the Small Axe founders and now owners of East Ender, Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy will be the guest chefs at Central Provisions for CP’s 1-year anniversary on February 4th.

Tortilleria Pachanga Interview

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Today’s Telegram includes an interview with Tortilleria Pachanga owner Lynne Rowe.

WHAT’S IN A NAME: We figured out that a tortilleria is the place where tortillas are made, but what does “pachanga” mean? Rowe picked it up from her days in Mexico. “It can be like a drunken bash,” Rowe said. “But it doesn’t have to be like that. It can also be a rhythm or a dance. In Mexico it is sort of a fun word for a gathering.” When she worked at the Waynflete School she introduced pachanga to the school lexicon, using it to describe family gatherings.

Vinland at the James Beard House

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

For the final installment in her four-part series Vinland, Mary Pols has written a report on the James Beard House dinner Vinland chef David Levi served this past week in NYC.

Levi said the foundation offered him dates in January through March, but worried whether he could pull it off when nearly everything in Maine, even the bays, tend to freeze. He relished the challenge. “If we’re going to showcase what Maine cuisine is all about, it is much more compelling to do it in the winter than the summer,” he said. “In the summer, we have many of the same things that you’d find in any part of the country.” In the winter, Maine’s famed resiliency materializes in its foods, and he was eager to put any concerns to rest.

Read the Full Series
Part 1: Bold Idea for Portland
Part 2: What’s for Dinner
Part 3: Bountiful Summer

Carlos Garcia, Baker

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The Forecaster has published an article about Carlos Garcia, co-owner and baker at Mainely Grains Bakers in South Portland.

The business, at 904 Broadway, is a quaint operation. A little more than a year old, it offers fresh daily selections of breads, rolls, baguettes and sweet and occasionally savory pastries, including Danishes, muffins, cookies, and hand-pies. 

Despite the newness of the operation, it has been a plan in Garcia’s mind for years.

Missy Corey

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Now working in Chicago at Publican Quality Meats, Missy Corey was recently interviewed by Chicago Reader about her years working at Fore Street and Duckfat and competing on Chopped.

The chef, Sam Hayward, he’s a Beard Award winner. I had the pleasure of working with him for about two years. And after working with all that great product, since I never went to culinary school, I really wanted to learn more refined technique. Duckfat’s Rob Evans, another great Portland chef, took me on. He had worked for [Thomas] Keller, so he was very technique- and product-driven.

Interview with Guy Hernandez

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Guy Hernandez, chef and co-owner of Lolita,

Guy and Stella moved from St. Louis to Maine to work as an architect and a consultant, respectively, before falling into the food scene with 158 Bakeshop and what later became Scratch Bakery in South Portland. Late last year, the pair surprised Portlanders when they announced they were closing their popular Munjoy Hill restaurant Bar Lola to open Lolita. Guy said the feedback’s been great and the community’s been nothing but supportive, and he finally has time to step out for meals elsewhere, like the Tokyo Abura at Pai Men Miyake.

The article is part of a new series. Each week the Phoenix sits down with a local chef to get their thoughts on a dish from someone else’s restaurant. The first 2 interviews in the series were with Luke Aberle from Piccolo and Geoff Wiech from Hunt + Alpine.

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?
A:
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.”