Home Kitchen

Maine Women Magazine has published an article on the home kitchen life of chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti.

The room is painted a warm brown called Nutmeg. “I loved the color,” Lopez said, “but the name did it.” Throughout the kitchen are figurines of lizards and dinosaurs, courtesy of their daughter, as well as pigs, courtesy of the chefs in the family, who have a fondness for all things pig-related (their cast iron Griswold bacon press is often on display and in use for much more than just pressing bacon). There is a selection of Venezuelan rums on a side table—“My family brings a different bottle of Venezuelan rum every time they visit,” she says—as well as a spice collection in a wooden box, given to them by a regular customer on Piccolo’s fifth anniversary (the “wood” anniversary).

Scott Tyree, MS

The Press Herald published a profile earlier this week on Scott Tyree, the Freeport resident who recently became the 256th Master Sommelier in the world.

At 8:30 a.m. on April 29, Scott Tyree, wearing a dark navy suit with a lucky stone from a friend tucked into a pocket, entered a suite at the Four Seasons in St. Louis, the city’s acclaimed arch visible in a window behind him. Waiting for Tyree was a panel of four proctors, all master sommeliers, and six glasses of classic wines – three white, three red. He was there to take, for the 10th time in 16 years, the famously rigorous master sommelier exam.

Rob Tod

Boston.com has published an article about Rob Tod.

For 23 years, Tod says his “go-to” beer has been his Portland, Maine-based brewery’s iconic Belgian ale, Allagash White. Even when asked about what he likes to drink other than beers from his own brewery, the answer doesn’t change.

“I honestly love Allagash White more and more as time goes by,” Tod said.

Mark’s Hot Dogs: 36 Years

The Forecaster has published an article on Mark Gatti, the longtime owner of Mark’s Hot Dogs, which as of next month will have  been in business for 36 years.

His menu has been constant, including the red hot dogs Maine is known for, topped with chili, cheese or sauerkraut. As business picks up in the spring, he adds Italian sausage and kielbasa.

Gatti tried serving lobster rolls; that lasted one season. Thai spring rolls did a little better – he sold them for about three years.

Chefs de Cuisine

The Maine Sunday Telegram has publisned an article about the less well known chefs de cuisine that lead daily operations in Portland’s kitchens.

Kristen Cote’s job begins at 11:30 a.m. each day, when she arrives to help with lunch service. Cote, the chef de cuisine at the Grill Room and Bar in Portland, makes all the restaurant’s sauces, from the chimichurri to the bacon-peppercorn-cream, and butchers ducks at her station in the open kitchen. She writes menus, changing them with the seasons. She sets the specials and makes staff meals, and she orders all the food. She hires and fires. She sauces and she salts. She’s the last person to eyeball your plate before it arrives at your table.

Have you ever heard of her?

Scott Tyree, Master Sommelier

Freeport Maine resident, Scott Tyree, passed his final exam on Tuesday to become Maine’s first Master Sommelier, and only the 257th Master Sommelier worldwide.

It’s truly an amazing accomplishment. Only a small fraction of the people who progress through the lower certification levels to take the test complete all three sections successfully. The Master Sommelier exams are administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. They are a rigorous and demanding challenge that requires expert knowledge of wine making practices and standards worldwide, a service exam and a blind tasting test.

Tyree is a 25-year veteran of the wine industry, and began his career in Chicago at Shaw’s Crab House. He was the Wine Director at Tru working alongside James Beard Award winning chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand. In 2009, as the Wine Director of Michelin-starred Sepia Restaurant in Chicago, Tyree was once again chosen as Best Sommelier by the Jean Banchet Awards for an unprecedented third time. He has received numerous awards including a Wine Spectator’s Grand Award in 2004, he was a James Beard Semi-Finalist for Outstanding Wine Service in 2004, and a Food & Wine Best New Wine List honoree in 2001.

Photo Credit: Court of Master Sommeliers

The Minervino Family

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an article about Minervino Family.

The Minervinos are perhaps not as well known as some Portland restaurateurs, but their roots here run deep – their family immigrated to Portland from Italy in the early 20th century. In addition to Pizza Villa, which reopened March 25, the Minervino brothers and two of Sam’s children, Tom and Meg, own Tomaso’s Canteen in the Old Port, and Rob’s son Marcus has worked there. Sam owns Samuel’s Bar & Grill on Forest Avenue, where Rob is assistant manager. Siblings Tom and Meg are partners in Legends Rest Tap Room in Westbrook and hope to open a second restaurant together in Portland within the year.