MRW: Spirit Quest

Maine Restaurant Week has announced the winners of the 2022 Spirit Quest competition:

The Judge’s Prize of $1,000 went to Blyth & Burrows for their pairing of a Scallops Ceviche made with grapefruit, Fresno pepper, kelp, and lava salt on a prawn crisp, with a “Ponzu Scheme” cocktail made with Pisco, shiso, grapefruit, coconut, soy, ponzu foam. The judges were Angie Bryant the author of the Bar Guide column in the Press Herald, and Christine Burns Rudalevige who is the editor of Edible Maine and also a Press Herald columnist.

The People’s Choice Prize of $750 went to BlueFin at Portland Harbor Hotel for their pairing of Tuna Poke made with crisp wonton, sesame soy tuna, cilantro lime slaw, scallion, Sriracha mayo, and a Cucumber Tonic cocktail made with Drumshanbo Irish Gin, St. Germain, cucumber-cardamom simple syrup, lime and tonic.

Maine Calling: How Maine Restaurants Are Faring

Matt Lewis from HospitalityMaine and Peggy Grodinsky from the Press Herald were the featured guests of Jennifer Rooks on the latest episode of Maine Calling in a show that asks How Are Maine Restaurants Faring?

It’s Maine Restaurant Week, and we check in on the foodservice scene in Maine to find out how restaurants are faring at this stage of the pandemic. We’ll also discuss how Maine chefs and restaurants are regularly honored with James Beard award nominations.

Donation to Fight Food Insecurity, Vegan Options

The Food & Dining section in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Kevin Ly and his company’s donation to Full Plates Full Potential. Ly grew up in Portland poor and hungry. Knowing the impact of food insecurity first-hand he’s donated the profits from the first year of his business Golden Wat Cognac to help fight food insecurity in Maine.

But as a child in Portland’s Riverton Park, a low-rent public housing community, Ly grew up hungry. He was the eldest of four siblings living in a three-room apartment with their young, single mother, who had recently immigrated from Cambodia.

“We had a kitchen with absolutely nothing in the cabinets but some ketchup packages,” Ly said. “And we didn’t even have it as bad as some families I know.”

Today’s paper also includes a wrap-up of vegan food options in Maine.

Spring remains weeks away, yet vegan and vegetarian ventures keep popping up across the state. Here’s a look at the latest in Maine veg news.

Crepe Elizabeth for Sale

The owners of the Crepe Elizabeth food truck have announced that it’s time for their “family to move on to our next adventure”.

To all our crepe fans out there…
When we moved to Maine, we never thought we’d join forces and open a food truck business. Four years later, we’re so glad we decided to venture out on our own. Lonnie and I have loved every minute of it, meeting so many wonderful people, working with such spectacular employees…we are really blessed.
All that to say, it’s time for this little family to move on to our next adventure. We’re relocating and are looking for someone special to take over the reigns of Crepe Elizabeth.

The business and their two food trailers Babe and Babette are for sale. See their facebook post for more info.

Brewery Kitchens

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article on the development of food programs at Maine breweries.

Maine Brewers’ Guild Executive Director Sean Sullivan agrees. “Just from the perspective of how to diversify your business to meet the needs of the customers, it makes sense. How about a little food with the beer? It’s a way to make a more sustainable business.”

Full Plates Innovation Grants

Full Plates Full Potential has granted $100k+ to four organizations from the John T. Woods Innovation Fund.

Full Plates Full Potential, a local nonprofit working to end child hunger in Maine, today announced that they have awarded a total of $104,563 to four organizations in the inaugural round of John T. Woods Innovation Fund grants. Established in memory of the organization’s cofounder, this new grant program supports school districts and community organizations in piloting new and bold strategies that increase participation in, and access to, meal programs for children and youth. The four organizations receiving inaugural grants are Augusta Teen Center, Bath Area Family YMCA, Cultivating Community, and Healthy Communities of the Capital Area.

The grantees, while diverse in their scopes of work, are each working towards innovative solutions to make meals more accessible to Maine kids through projects aimed at addressing unique needs in their own communities.

Brewing Up Opportunity Internship-Scholarship Fund

Maine Beer Company has made a $100,000 gift to the University of Southern Maine to establish the Brewing Up Opportunity Internship-Scholarship Fund. The fund will “provide access to education, on-the-job training, and mentoring to help develop a new generation of beer industry professionals.⁣”

Maine Beer Company co-founder and USM Alum Daniel Kleban noted, “Our hope is that this collaboration with USM creates an access point into craft beer and expands the understanding of what a career in this industry can be, while at the same time cultivating the industry’s next generation and changing the narrative of who makes up that community.”⁣

The fund will support USM students across multiple disciplines, who wish to pursue careers within and connected to the craft beverage industry, with internship-scholarships awarded to individuals from traditionally underrepresented populations, first-generation college students, or students coming to Maine from an international location.

For additional information see this article in Mainebiz and information on the USM website.

North Street Fire GoFundMe

A house fire broke out on North Street early Saturday morning. The blaze has left three local hospitality staff with little more with what they could grab as they left the building. Henry Schroder works at Po’ Boys & Pickles, Tucker Wanzer is the manager of Captain Sam’s Ice Cream, and Megan Lowe works at Mast Landing.

Schroeder’s employer Chris Bettera has established a $20,000 GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to “help them secure a new apartment and replace some of what they lost”.