Native Food Ways

An article in Atlas Obscura by Ann Pollard Ranco examines The Indigenous Origins of the Maine Lobster Bake, and

The clam and lobster bakes of New England are inspired by an ancient indigenous custom, one that long tied the Wabanaki people to our land and celebrated coastal living. To better understand the indigenous origins of this living tradition and partake in the ongoing movement to reclaim heritage foodways, I organized a bake with fellow members of the Penobscot Nation on our ancestral land. Before bringing this ancestral custom burning, steaming, and hissing to life, however, we needed to look to its origins.

a recent article in the Bangor Daily News reports on work by the chef at Bissell Brothers is doing to bring Native American dishes to the menu at the brewery’s Milo location.

Robbins, 32, started cooking professionally about 10 years ago, at the now-closed Wrong Turn Pub in Kenduskeag, He later managed a food truck in Bangor, and was a longtime cook at Brewster’s Fine Food and Drink in Brewer. Now he’s developed a menu for Bissell Brothers that combines high-end comfort food with the Native food he loves.

DutchPot Part of Roux Residency

The new cohort of business leaders taking part in the Roux Institute’s 2022 Founder Residency program includes DutchPot  (website, instagram) co-founder Tamika Francis.

DutchPot is described as a digital platform for culinary collaboration that “curate[s] a trusted but dynamic map of collaborative business opportunities. The platform enables culinary creatives to connect, expand their teams, and work together on projects.”

Rebel Blend Fund

Coffee by Design is now accepting applications for their Rebel Blend Fund which helps support Maine artists and small arts organizations. They are especially interested in “projects which somehow fall below the funding radar screen; projects that we believe are thought-provoking and engage people in the State of Maine in conversation.”

The Rebel Blend Fund is supported through the sale of CBD’s Rebel Blend coffee which is a blend of coffees from Asia, Americas and Africa. Coffee by Design donates $1 from each pound sold or brewed to the fund.

To apply for a Rebel Blend grant send in your application by the August 31st deadline.

Urban Farm Fermentory Purchased

Eli Cayer has sold Urban Farm Fermentory to Maine Standard Biofuels. According to the announcement the two companies will be moving to a 12-acre green industrial park that Maine Standard Biofuels is building in Windham. The site will include agricultural fields where herbs for UFF beverages will be grown and will the site will also house “incubator sites for like-minded start-ups”.

Both men started their companies with a passion for serving local customers with products that reflect their deep respect for the natural world. Kaltsas built a business that refines potential pollutants into clean-burning biofuels and cleaners. Cayer crafted fermented beverages that captured the authentic taste of wild Maine-grown ingredients. Years of shared ideas on practices that mimic nature’s efficiency eventually led to the pair’s decision for a sale that would plant the seed for a collaborative business model that sets new standards for triple-bottom-line sustainability.

Cayer founded Urban Farm Fermentory in 2010. The company produces a line of fermennted products that include ciders, kombuchas, beers, gruit, jun, mead and vinegars. They are currently located on Anderson Street in East Bayside.

Restaurants and Rents

Vine Pair has published an article on the impact media attention on the Portland food scene has had on the affordability of the area for people who work in the hospitality industry.

With the media craze came a shocking influx of out-of-state wealth, and landlords have seized the opportunity to capitalize on the choked marketplace. Prices easily paid by out-of-state visitors are unimaginable to the average Mainer. Expiring leases aren’t being offered for re-signing, and rents are increasing at insulting rates. Supply is shrinking as apartments are converted into short-term rentals and luxury condos. South Portland, Biddeford, Westbrook, and Falmouth — all historically affordable places to live with reasonable commutes to the city — have not been spared in the rental market assault.

Best of 2022 Awards

Portland Old Port has kicked off their Best of 2022 readership awards program. The readership-driven voting program is a three-step process.

Step 1 – now through June 30th you can nominate your favorite businesses in the dozens of categories which range from Best Ambience and Best Bagel to categories like Best Wings and Friendliest Staff.

Step 2 – the first round of voting will take place on all nominations from July 1st to July 14th.

Step 3 – the top voted entries from step 2 will be on the ballot for a final election from July 15th to July 31st.

Beard Awards Impact

This week’s Portland Phoenix checked in with some of Maine’s nominees to ask what impact being a Beard Awards nominee has had on their business.

Now, as we move forward in a world where COVID-19 isn’t gone and chefs, cooks, servers, and bartenders have endured through it and most likely changed their models and practices, do awards matter? I spoke with three local finalists about what the nominations meant to them and their restaurants.

Father’s Day Article, Student Cookbook

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a Fathers’ Day article about dads at three restaurants, and

For dads in the food service business, Father’s Day is mostly just another work day. But it’s also a time for fathers who run generational family restaurants to consider their family legacies, and remember vital life lessons they learned working for and with their own fathers. It’s a day that gives them a chance to appreciate how their own children helped them with the business, and to dream of the day when they can hand it down to the kids, just as their parents and grandparents did before them.

a report on a new cookbook created by culinary students at LearningWorks.

Seventeen of the students graduating from the LearningWorks YouthBuild program at the end of June have something rather unexpected to add to their resumes: cookbook author.