2016 Beard Award Semifinalists

The semi-final list of nominees for the 2016 James Beard Foundation awards were released today. There are 8 semifinalist nominees from Maine:

  • Best New Restaurant – The Honey Paw
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide; Erin French, The Lost Kitchen; Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar; and Brian Hill, Francine Bistro
  • Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional – Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co.
  • Outstanding Restaurant – Fore Street
  • Rising Star of the Year – Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan

The final list of nominees will be released on March 15th, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 2nd in Chicago.

Related information:

Farm Truck Juice Opening Thursday

imageWest End juice bar Farm Truck Juice(facebook, website, twitter, instagram) has announced plans to open on Thursday. They’re located in the West End at 189 Brackett Street in the same building at Rosemont Market.

Restaurateur Walter Loeman, who founded Walter’s, Perfetto’s, Mazza, Cotton Street Cantina and several other restaurants, is part of the team launching the juice bar.

FTJ will serve a menu of “fresh pressed juices made from organic, locally sourced ingredients” such as the Float’n in Florida (grapefruit, orange, lyme lychee) and the Good Green Almighty (kale, chard, spinach, apples, celery, watercress).

Rwanda Bean Co.

imageCoffee from the Rwanda Bean Company is starting to show up on retail shelves in Portland. Founders Mike Mwenedata and Nick Mazuroski buy beans directly from farmers in the Rwandan province of Karora. The Portland-based coffee roaster has pledged to donate 50% of net profits to fund community development projects in Rwanda.

All three coffees from RBC are available at Aurora Provisions: Ikizere medium roast, Ishema Blend, and Ikerekezo blond roast. RBC is holding their official launch party on February 27th.

This Week’s Events: Drifter’s Wife, Beard Semifinalists, Winter Harvest Dinner

Tuesday — it’s the  opening night for the Drifter’s Wife, and the monthly local foods networking breakfast is taking place.

Wednesday — the James Beard Foundation will release the semifinal list of nominees for this year’s awards, and Old Port Wines is having a South African wine tasting.

Thursday — Elements in Biddeford is holding a Free Pour Latte Art Competition, The Great Lost Bear will showcase beer from Fore River Brewing, and there will be a Rising Tide tap takeover at Ri Ra.

Saturday — The Rosemont Maker series continues with Old Crow Ranch, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday — Home Catering and The Farm Stand are collaborating on a Winter Harvest Dinner, and Tiqa is teaching a cooking class.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Drifter’s Wife Opening

driftersThe Drifter’s Wife (website, facebook, instagram) is scheduled to open on Tuesday at 4pm.  The natural wine bar has been built into the front half of Maine & Loire at 63 Washington Ave.

Owners Orenda and Peter Hale are working with their former Wythe hotel colleague, chef Ben Jackson to launch the wine bar. The opening night menu is still in the works but you see a draft on the Drifter’s Wife website.

WCR Finalists: Lopez & Ahearn

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”.