Cooking for Community

The Christian Science Monitor has published an article highlighting the good work of Cooking for Community.

Today, Cooking for Community (C4C) provides just over 2,000 meals a week. In its first two months, the grassroots initiative raised about $220,000 from individuals, foundations, and corporations. It is buying crops from farmers, seafood from fishers, and keeping many of Greater Portland’s kitchen crews employed while cooking for hungry people.

For more information or to make a donation visit:

Restaurants aiding in the work of C4C are: Chaval, Gather, Istanbul Cafe, Leeward, Little Giant, Maggie Mae’s, Mama Mo’s, Mainely Burgers, Mr. Tuna, Nura, Union, Zu Bakery.

Interview with Nikaline Iacono

For their latest podcast, the founders of Femidish interviewed Nikaline Iacono, the owner of Vessel & Vine in Brunswick.

In this episode Hope and Sandy chat with Nikaline, owner of Vessel and Vine – part bar, part vintage store and so much more, about how quarantine and the ongoing Coronavirus crisis has impacted her business. She shares how she and her all female team have adjusted to keep “the vine” thriving. They discuss the surge of interest in tangible food security and the role restaurants and bars play in building communities.


Revolutionary Vegetarian

This past weekend’s Maine Sunday Telegram included an article about a Maine vegetarian whose commitment to a meat-free diet predated the founding of Maine as a state.

In the March 1899 edition of Food Home and Garden magazine, a short piece titled “The Pioneer Vegetarian” profiled Captain Peter Twitchell of Bethel. Born in 1761 in Sherborn, Massachusetts, the captain performed military honors at President Washington’s funeral, first farmed in Bethel in 1784, joined Bethel’s Congregational Church in 1816 and died in the town in 1855, after he was struck by a horse and carriage while out walking at age 94.

Beer and Beards

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes articles on the stickiness of new curbside beer pick-up and beer delivery services post-pandemic,

Though curbside pick-up and delivery were forced upon brewers by the pandemic, many have discovered how much customers like these services and may keep the systems in place for the foreseeable future. Sullivan surveyed more than 70 breweries about these services and found that 35 percent were interested in keeping some sort of curbside pickup available even after their tasting rooms re-open, while more than 21 percent said they’d be interested in continuing delivery.

and a look at the impact of being a Beard Award nominee during the pandemic.

Desjarlais knows this better than most. Between The Purple House and her much-missed Portland restaurant, Bresca, she has made the semifinal round seven times and the finals twice.

“Every time, it’s great for you personally,” she said. “And it also great for your staff and team, because obviously they’re doing a great job, but it gives them a kick in the pants because the nomination brings a new burst of business and things get can get really busy. But now there’s no chance for that.”

C4C and Save Our Shifts

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an article about Cooking for Community, a new organization that’s feeding people and supporting restaurants and farms.

The result has been staggering. In five weeks, Cooking for Community has raised over $215,000 in donations, growing from two restaurants to nine and serving meals to people from eight different social networks. It went from serving 450 meals the first week to 2,215 last week. On Thursday alone, the initiative provided 665 meals from four restaurants.

and the Bangor Daily News has published an article about Save Our Shifts, a new media initiative that enables bartenders with a new way to engage in their profession.

Last week, Pomerleau and a cohort of hospitality industry workers launched a campaign to benefit bartenders statewide who have lost work due to the pandemic. The campaign, called Save Our Shifts, offers a glimpse of the future of the profession during a public health crisis, mounting a platform for barkeeps to present mixology tutorials for people drinking at home.

Interview with Emily’s Oysters

Femidish has interviewed Emily Selinger about her aquaculture business and oyster CSA, Emily’s Oysters.

Femidish is a new Maine podcast that seeks to “Elevat[e] the stories of women and their unique abilities to nourish themselves and one another. Conversations about food through a feminist lens.”

Emily’s Oysters was founded in 2018 in Freeport. Their oysters are available via a CSA, and at the Wednesday Portland Farmers’ Market.

Maine Food Systems Discussion

Maine Food for Thought has published a panel discussion that takes a look at how the current health crisis is impacting with local food systems.

Out of this worldwide pandemic, ensuring the availability of locally and sustainably sourced food has become more important than ever, even as our economy has become more vulnerable than at any time in recent history. We wanted to provide an opportunity to connect with a few of the voices who work directly within our food system to talk about their passion for the work they do, what they have seen, their thoughts as they look to the future, and how communities can support and strengthen local food systems.

Participating in the panel discussion are:

  • Sam Hayward from Fore Street
  • Jen Levin from Gulf of Maine Sashimi
  • Ilma Lopez from Piccolo and Chaval
  • Beth Schiller from Dandelion Spring Farm.

Maine Food for Thought has become known for their in-person restaurant tours that focus on the web of the Maine food system and how it intersects with Portland restaurants. They’ve now launched a new virtual tour series Maine Food for Thought Conversations “as a way for people around the globe to learn about Maine’s unique food system and how they can support the local food system in their community. We are excited to have leaders in Maine’s food economy (chefs, farmers, fishers, food system experts) join the Conversation and provide their firsthand perspectives and enrich the virtual experience.”

You can see the full full schedule and sign-up for future events on

Cooking for Community Receives $60k

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is donating $60,000 to Cooking for Community and YMCA to further their mission to deliver locally produced meals to Mainers in need.

The partnership will help coordinate with local restaurants to prepare 1,000 meals each week for older adults, immigrant families, and others in need in and around Portland. Meals will be delivered to homes by the YMCA two times per week.

The program is also helping put at least 24 people back to work helping others.

You can learn more about Cooking for Community or make a donation to support their activities at

Maine Chopped Success

The Boston Globe has published an article about the participation by Maine chefs in the television show Chopped and identifies some of the roots of Maine chef’s success on the show.

Maine’s numerous “Chopped” champions include chefs Matt Ginn of Evo Kitchen + Bar and Chebeague Island Inn, Christian Hayes of Dandelion Catering Co. and The Garrison, Rob Evans of Duckfat, Natalie DiBenedetto of Figgy’s Takeout and Catering, butcher Elise Miller, then of Duckfat and now at Rosemont Market & Bakery, and Melissa (“Missy”) Corey, who won in 2012 when working as a cook at Duckfat and has since moved out of state. Native Mainer Rachel Legloahec also won “Chopped” when she was a chef in Las Vegas. She now owns Weft and Warp, a shop that crafts leather knife rolls for chefs, in Freeport.

Many other Maine chefs have participated — and received plenty of positive feedback, but in the end, didn’t escape the Chopping Block.