Wednesday November 13, 2013 | 06:08 PM

Portland chef Shannon Bard learned Wednesday she will be cooking a five-course dinner for 80 people at the James Beard House in New York on Jan. 27.

Bard, who owns Portland's Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria and Mixteca in Durham, N.H. with her husband Tom, has to submit her menu within a week.

"I’m planning on doing a Mexico meets Maine (theme)," she said. "I want to feature a lot of Maine products in it.”

Tom Bard will be in charge of the wine pairings. Tequila sommelier Sergio Ramos, who is the managing partner in the couple's two restaurants, will create a tequila cocktail to start off the meal, and one of the courses will feature a tequila pairing as well.

“It’s a great honor to do it," Bard said. "To even get invited is fantastic. I never thought that would ever happen. I’m very excited.”

Chefs who cook at the James Beard House must foot a portion of the food bill themselves, but most accept the invitation because it is still considered a big honor and it thrusts their restaurants into the limelight.

“We’ve got two restaurants now," Bard said. "We’re wanting a third in Portland, and as we start to expand and talk about Boston and further south, it’s great exposure.”

The Bards have been searching for a spot in Portland for their third restaurant, which will feature Spanish fare, but more restaurants outside of Maine? That's news to us.

Shannon Bard said she never wants to own a chain, but will probably always focus on Latin food because that's where her passion lies.

“I want to be able to have the freedom of having each restaurant be a different concept," she said, "but I want to be able to explore other concepts."


About the Author

Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.

Meredith can be contacted at 791-6332 or
On Twitter: @meredithgoad

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