The Portland Museum of Art hosted a book launch reception Wednesday night for “Portland, Maine Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from Casco Bay,” by author Margaret Hathaway and photographer Karl Schatz.

About 150 people sampled featured recipes by five local restaurants: steak tartare by Back Bay Grill, trout fritters by East Ender, ratatouille by The Farmer’s Table, tomato basil ricotta pizza by Otto Pizza and lemon drop cake by Silly’s.

“Portland, Maine Chef’s Table” celebrates the city’s diverse culinary landscape — from classic seafood to Oaxacan to Korean to Milanese dishes — and devotion to farm-to-table freshness.

“We’re so spoiled that when we go to places outside of Portland, we forget that you can’t find this amazing variety of fantastic restaurants,” commented author Margaret Hathaway.

The foodies in attendance agreed.

“When I think about going to a restaurant, I have myriad choices — all good,” said Frederica Chapman of Portland, who just spent two years savoring the delicacies of France.

“There are so many mom-and-pop restaurants that you don’t get other places,” commented University of New England medical student Shannon Alexa. She’s also impressed by how often she sees restaurants highlight locally grown vegetables, locally raised beef, and beer and wine made in Maine.

“When somebody comes to visit, we brag about the restaurants in Portland and bring them out, and they’re really impressed,” said John Engel of Gorham.

Ethel and Robin Koocher, a mother-and-daughter pair who spend the warm months in Old Orchard Beach and the cold months in Florida, talked about how the Portland restaurant scene has developed from the days when there were just a few quality restaurants.

Robin said, “To see how it has evolved over the past 50 years, really the past 20 years…”

“We’re really proud,” concluded her mother, Ethel.

“We’re extraordinarily fortunate to have the quality and diversity of fine dining here in Portland,” said Mark Grover, who is friends with the authors as well as an independent candidate for Cumberland County Commissioner. “I’ve heard from Facebook friends outside of Maine that they’re excited about the book, too.”

The event was co-sponsored by the PMA Store and the PMA Cafe by Aurora Provisions.

“Portland, Maine Chef’s Table” is an August 2012 release from the Lyons Press ($24.95).

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer from Scarborough.