March 12, 2010

Dispatches

— PORTLAND

Several Maine chefs among Beard Award nominees

Some of Maine's best chefs and restaurants have been named semi-finalists for the James Beard Awards, the foodie version of the Oscars.

Sam Hayward of Portland's Fore Street restaurant is a semi-finalist in the ''Outstanding Chef'' and ''Outstanding Restaurant'' categories, according to the Web site of the James Beard Foundation in New York. Another Portland restaurant, Emilitsa, is a semi-finalist for ''Best New Restaurant.''

Chefs from all over the state are on the semi-finalist roster for ''Best Chef: Northeast.'' The list includes Rob Evans of Hugo's in Portland, Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier of Arrow's in Ogunquit, Rich Hanson of Cleonice in Ellsworth, and Brian Hill of Francine Bistro in Camden. Penelle Chase, Phoebe Chase, Megan Chase and Ted Lafage, all of Chase's Daily in Belfast, are also among the chosen.

The James Beard Awards are considered by many to be the highest honor in the restaurant industry. The final nominees will be announced March 23, and the winners will be chosen at a May 4 awards gala in New York City.

Hannaford boosts stocks of gluten-free products

Hannaford Supermarkets has expanded its line of gluten-free products at its Forest Avenue store.

The store now carries more than 330 grocery products and 85 frozen items that don't contain gluten.

The expansion is in response to the growing number of requests for gluten-free foods by consumers who have celiac disease, which is characterized by a sensitivity to the gluten protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley.

One in 133 Americans have the disease, which can trigger an autoimmune response that doesn't allow nutrients to be absorbed. The only treatment is a strict non-gluten diet.

Hannaford will hold free educational classes, food sampling and tours at the Forest Avenue store on Thursday, Saturday and March 5. On Thursday and March 5, there will be a sampling of gluten-free foods from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Susan Gay, a registered dietician, will be on site to answer questions. No registration is required.

''Gluten Free,'' a class that includes sampling and a store tour, will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Gay will lead the class, and there will also be a representative from Gramma Mills, a Maine-based company. Call 761-5965 to register.

For a list of registered dieticians who can help customers shop for gluten-free foods, go to www.hannaford.com

UNITY

Edible and medicinal plants focus of college festival

An herb festival focusing on the history and uses of edible and medicinal plants will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 16 at Unity College.

Talks and classes will begin at 10 a.m. and run throughout the day. Vendors will be selling plants, herbal products and food.

Unity College is located at 90 Quaker Hill Road. For more information, contact Anu Dudley, the festival coordinator, at 382-6717, or at anu@umit.maine.edu

MAINE

Extension offers classes on 'Cooking for Crowds'

Do you cook for large groups at your church, club fundraisers, PTA or Grange Hall?

Unsafe food can spoil a group's reputation and finances. Update your food safety skills at the annual ''Cooking for Crowds'' workshops sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

There are special techniques involved in planning, storing, preparing, transporting and serving food for large groups of people, and these workshops cover them all. For a materials fee of $10, participants will receive a manual specifically designed for volunteer cooks, a certificate of attendance, posters and an instant-read thermometer.

This year, workshops will be held:

n March 3 at the Androscoggin/Sagadahoc Extension office at 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls. Registration deadline is Feb. 27.

n March 5 at Bay Square at Yarmouth, 27 Forest Falls Drive, Yarmouth. Registration deadline is Feb. 27.

n March 13 at the Casco Central Fire Station on Route 121 in Casco. Registration deadline is March 6.

n March 14 at the Windham Public Library, 217 Windham Center Road, Windham. Registration deadline is March 6.

n March 25 at the Yarmouth Community House, 179 East Main St., Yarmouth. Registration deadline is March 18.

All of the workshops are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To register, call Lois Elwell at (800) 287-1471 or 780-4205.

HIRAM

Sacopee Valley students take the no-tanning pledge

More than 80 percent of the students at Sacopee Valley High School have taken a no-tanning pledge for their prom.

As many as 158 seniors, or 83 percent of the class, have signed a pledge and will be invited to attend a teen forum at Fenway Park in April, where they will meet Kelli Pedroia, wife of Red Sox player Dustin Pedroia.

Kelli Pedroia has had melanoma, which she attributes to using tanning beds and laying out in the sun when she was a teenager. She is now a spokesperson for the Melanoma Foundation of New England, which is sponsoring the no-tanning pledge.

Other schools in Maine that are participating in the program are Erskine Academy in South China (70 percent, Wells High School (87 percent), York High School (70 percent), Central Aroostook Junior-Senior High School in Mars Hill (63 percent) and Lincoln Academy in Newcastle (75 percent).

The World Health Organization has said that no one under the age of 18 should use a tanning bed.

CUMBERLAND

Speaker to discuss nuts and bolts of farm markets

Farmers' market managers, market vendors and anyone considering joining a farmers' market in Maine for the 2009 season are invited to a special presentation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at the Cumberland Town Office, 290 Tuttle Road.

The guest speaker will be Mitchell Piper, who is a field inspector with the Maine Department of Agriculture. Piper will give a talk on licensing, regulations and guidelines for farmers' markets in Maine.

For more information, contact Leslie Fitzgerald, the Cumberland Farmers' Market manager, at market.gal09@gmail.com

-- Compiled by Meredith Goad, Staff Writer

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