Sunday, April 20, 2014
(Continued from page 3)
Chefs participating in the Grand Tasting on the Harbor gathered for a group photo last week on the Portland waterfront. Left to right are Al Hynes of the Black Point Inn, Jay Villani of Sonny's, Jeff Buerhaus of Walters, Justin Rowe of the Chebeague Island Inn, Alan Cook of Twenty Milk Street, Charles White of Cinque Terre, Melissa Bouchard of Dimillo's, Tony Lavelle of Solo Bistro, Eric Simeon of Grace, Christopher Bassett of Azure Cafe, Dan Crook of the Blue Wave Grill at the Wyndham Hotel, Jonathan Cartwright of the White Barn Inn, Harding Lee Smith of the Rooms, Jeff Landry of the Farmers Table, Joe Boudreau of Havana South and Mitchell Kaldrovich of Seaglass at the Inn by the Sea. Not pictured: Theda Lyden of the Harraseeket Inn.
Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
Chefs William Clifford of the Portland Harbor Hotel, Kelly Patrick Farrin of Azure Cafe in Freeport and Clifford Pickett of Dimillo's in Portland are the three finalists in the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition.
GRAND TASTING ON THE HARBOR
WHEN: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 21
WHERE: Ocean View Room at Ocean Gateway
HOW MUCH: $65
THERE ARE THREE CERTAINTIES in autumn in Maine: the leaves will change color, the days will get shorter, and the Grand Tasting at Harvest on the Harbor will sell out.
THE GRAND TASTING is a chance to sample the cuisine of numerous Maine chefs in a fun atmosphere with live music. Some of the chefs take the opportunity to try something a little different that's not normally on their menus.
IT'S GOOD EXPOSURE for the restaurants at a time when the summer crowds have gone back home and they need to start filling seats with locals again. It's also as much of a good time for the chefs – there are 17 participating this year – as it is for the people sampling their food.
"FOR ME, IT'S REALLY a good opportunity to talk to people that go out to eat a lot," said Eric Simeon, the chef at Grace in Portland. "And it's a good chance to co-mingle with other chefs and restaurant people."
CHEF CHRISTOPHER BASSETT of Azure Cafe in Freeport said it's a great way to expose several hundred people to his food in a single night. "You have to have a dish that definitely gives them a taste of your restaurant," he said, "but also makes a lasting memory really quick so they walk away from your table thinking about you. I like that opportunity."
CHEF JONATHAN CARTWRIGHT of the White Barn Inn calls the tasting and Harvest on the Harbor "a great event with a great following, and it gets bigger and bigger and better every year."
HERE'S A LOOK at what the 17 chefs will be serving at the Grand Tasting:
Chef Jeff Buerhaus, Walter's, Portland: Sake Kasu Tuna
Chef Eric Simeon, Grace, Portland: Seafood Sausage made with Maine shrimp and lobster
Chef Melissa Bouchard, DiMillo's, Portland: Seared Diver Scallop with Pumpkin Bisque and Bacon Jam
Chef Harding Lee Smith, The Rooms, Portland:
The Corner Room: Lamb Polpettine (Meatballs) with Porcini Mushroom-Goat Cheese Fondita; Chicken Liver Crostini
The Grill Room: Beef Tartare with Truffle Aioli
The Front Room: Cheddar Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese on Brioche
Chef Dan Crook, The Blue Wave Grille, The Wyndham Hotel, South Portland: Roasted CornAhiAvocadoTower with Caper-Lime Essence
Chef Alan Cook, Twenty Milk Street, Portland: Crostini with Herbed Goat Cheese and Forest Mushroom Confit
Chef Christopher Bassett, Azure Cafe, Freeport: Saffron Poached Potato and Roasted Garlic Balsamic Glazed Lobster with Red Amaranth Microgreens
Chef Jeff Landry, The Farmer's Table, Portland: Housemade charcuterie, including Bresaola and some chicken- or pork-based pate. Also serving fall pickles, including basalmic pickled beets, onion, and carrots or squash
Chef Al Hynes, Black Point Inn, Prouts Neck: Lamb Chops Peperonata and Cream Puffs
Chef Charles White, Cinque Terre, Portland: Duck Consomme and Duck Confit with Apricot Mostarda
Chef Tony Lavelle, Solo Bistro, Bath: Cured Halibut with a Ginger Beet Glaze and a Pickled Onion Relish
Chef Justin Rowe, Chebeague Island Inn: Devils on Horseback – Great Hill blue cheese-stuffed date wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon
Chef Jay Villani, Sonny's, Portland: Seasonal ceviche
Chef Jonathan Cartwright, The White Barn Inn, Kennebunk: Yellowfin Tuna with a Coconut-Cucumber Marinade
Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich, Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, CapeElizabeth: Cured Salmon Tartare on Cones
Chef Theda Lyden, Harraseeket Inn, Freeport: Whipped Triple Creme on Tender Pastries with House-Dried Tomatoes and Thai Basil; Petite Lobster Mousse Eclairs
Chef Joe Boudreau, Havana South, Portland: Spice Rubbed Seared Rare Sushi Grade Yellowfin Tuna on a Flour Tortilla Chip with a Charred Local Fennel and Tomato Salsa; Roasted Lamb Tenderloin on Roasted Jalapeno, Corn and Potato Cake
On the other hand, sampling all the James Beard winners' food in one night might just put your taste buds on lockdown, making it impossible for you to ever go back to mere meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
The chefs, in case you didn't know already, are Sam Hayward of Portland's Fore Street, Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland, and this year's winners of Best Chef in the Northeast, Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier of Arrows.
They'll be cooking, doing demonstrations and offering tips for those of us who only dream of greatness in the kitchen.
And yes, there is indeed someone missing. Chef Rob Evans, Maine's other resident Best Chef, had a previous commitment and won't be able to attend. So there will be someone left should there be a national culinary emergency.
SAVORY SAMPLINGS AT THE MARKETPLACE
WHEN: Session 1: Noon to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23
Session 2: 4 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23
WHERE: Oceanside Pavilion, Ocean Gateway
HOW MUCH: $35 per session (sessions are identical)
Roam the marketplace sampling food and wines from more than 160 vendors while listening to lots of live music.
Satisfy your inner Cajun at the Savory Grilling Stage, where New Orleans Chef Michael Ruoss will be grilling sausages and other meats from Kayem Foods. DennyMike's and 'Cue Culture will be talking barbecue at the event.
Stonewall Kitchen and Simply Divine Brownies will also be at the Sweet Stage, demonstrating how they create their popular confections.
The host of the Sweet Stage will be former Mainer Zac Young, fresh off his appearance on "Top Chef Just Desserts," which will be airing on Bravo during Harvest on the Harbor. Young says he'll be making chocolate cream pie "on its side," a reconstruction of the classic. "There will be glitter," he promises, referring to the "disco dust" edible glitter he has used on the TV show.
Young can't give away the ending to "Top Chef," but says he loved the challenges and that it was "an amazing adventure and fantastic learning experience for me."
"To cook next to a bevy of chefs at the top of their game was inspiring," he said. "We all left the show better chefs."
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Amy Bouchard of Wicked Whoopies will be preparing a signature Harvest whoopie pie for the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition on Oct. 22 at Ocean Gateway. These Whoop-de-Doos are her classic Wicked Whoopie dipped in chocolate.
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This apple and crab salad, made with local McIntosh apples, lightly dressed and served on endive, was prepared by Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich of Cape Elizabeth's Inn by the Sea for a preview of Harvest on the Harbor. Kaldrovich is one of 17 chefs who will be cooking for the Grand Tasting on the Harbor Oct. 21 at Ocean Gateway.
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Michael Ruoss will prepare his seafood gumbo for the Ultimate Seafood Splash.
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Zac Young will host the Sweet Stage on Oct. 23.