Erik Desjarlais, Weft & Warp (Updated)

Today’s Press Herald includes an article on former chef Erik Desjarlais and his business Weft & Warp where he makes knife rolls, aprons, and leather goods.

Most of his customers – as much as 80 percent – are in the restaurant industry, although he also counts serious home cooks as fans. Cooks, bartenders and front-of-house staff all over Portland use his gear, as do employees of such well-known restaurants as Toro in New York City and Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.

“We love his work,” said Ken Oringer, chef/co-owner of Toro in Boston and Manhattan. Toro’s New York service team wears custom Weft & Warp waist aprons. “We love to support any chef/artisans who take risks to follow their hearts.”

Desjarlais has a retail shop under development in Freeport called Intervale Mercantile Co. which he hopes to have open this Saturday.

Taking Over An Established Restaurant

The Press Herald has posted an article, focused heavily on the Arrows to Velveteen Habit transition, on the challenges restaurateurs face when buying an established restaurant with a loyal customer base.

Sometimes in life it’s necessary to let go of the old to make way for something different. For the past year, Goldman has been trying to let go of Arrows and its well-loved traditions to make room for his new restaurant, The Velveteen Habit. It hasn’t always been easy. Customers were scarce at first. Longtime fans missed the old wine list, the formality of Arrows and that wisteria.

WholeMade Meal Shares

Earlier this week, the Bangor Daily News reported on WholeMade Meal Shares, a meal delivery service in Portland.

They also know that most people don’t have time to cook those types of meals every day.

Enter WHOLEmade Meal Shares – homemade meal bundles made by the women and distributed for customer pick-up at the beginning of each week.

“We’re cooking for you,” Cimino said. “We’re taking over the food world and reclaiming people’s health. And we’re making it easy for them.”

Boston Globe: Small Plates in Portland

Former Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Nancy Heiser, has written an article about Portland’s small plate restaurant trend for The Boston Globe.

Small plates have taken hold as a culinary craze in many cities, but in Portland, arguably New England’s small city most revered for food, they are hot, and we’re not talking temperature. Several restaurants that have opened to some acclaim are offering only small plates, and most are doing so in small spaces too. Don’t come expecting full-blown entrées with trimmings.

But you will eat well. Very well.

Central Provisions, Lolita, Sur Lie and Bao Bao are all featured.

South Portland Food Cupboard

The Bangor Daily News has posted a report on the work of the South Portland Food Cupboard.

On Thursday mornings, when the doors of the South Portland Food Cupboard swing open, low-income families can’t believe their eyes.

“The produce is so absolutely beautiful that our clients just cry,” said director Sybil Riemensnider, who receives the weekly bounty from Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth. “These are things they can’t afford.”

Leigh Kellis from Holy Donut

MaineBiz has published an article about Leigh Kellis and her company The Holy Donut.

But creating a decadent but wholesome treat “was like a mission from God,” she says. “I love doughnuts and the idea of bringing it to Portland was exciting.”

Once she hit on a winning potato-based recipe, she brought six doughnuts to Coffee By Design’s Washington Avenue store to see if they’d sell. They did and she brought back a dozen the next day. Soon she got orders from Whole Foods Market and Lois’ Natural Marketplace and rented commercial kitchen space. Forty dozen doughnuts a week became 100 dozen. After eight months, she was yearning for a doughnut shop of her own.

Rwandan Bean Co.

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about the Rwandan Bean Company in Portland.

Mwenedata, 30, and Mazuroski, 28, are the founders of the year-old Rwanda Bean Co., a coffee bean wholesaler. They’re also philanthropists. Or at least that’s the plan.

By buying coffee beans directly from a farmer’s cooperative in the western Rwandan province of Karora, they cut out the middleman coffee broker and pay the farmers more. But their commitment to giving back doesn’t stop there.

You can learn more about Rwanda Bean on their website

The Hop Yard

The Press Herald has posted a report on The Hop Yard, a Maine-based hop farm that’s helping making Maine beer a bit more local.

In a few weeks, all the hops surrounding us will be harvested and used by Maine and New Hampshire breweries. Allagash, Sebago, Rising Tide, Austin Street and Tributary brewing companies all plan on brewing beers with hops grown by the Hop Yard.

Though the hop industry in Maine is far from being able to supply Maine brewers with all their hops, Keating is optimistic that The Hop Yard will continue to grow in scale and other farmers will follow their model, helping Maine become a thriving producer of hops.

Port City Bakeries

The new issue of Portland Magazine includes a survey of some of the city’s better bakeries: Standard, Portland Patisserie, Tandem, Dutch’s, and Ten Ten Pié.

We marvel at the sheer number of restaurants in the Forest City, but how about the bakeries? Portland is the center of the universe for from-scratch, flakey, buttery, first-class baked treats. Hot, fresh scones; lighter-than-air croissants; deadly sweet sticky buns; cookies; breads; and rolls are baked every day in small, thriving hives all over town.