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April 25, 2012

Soup to Nuts: At a Maine inn, the chef is in

Acclaimed chef Carmen Gonzalez and The Danforth Inn owner Kimberly Swan – a couple of admitted perfectionists – are cooking up something special at the historic Federal-style mansion.

By Meredith Goad
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 3)

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Chef Carmen Gonzalez, above, in the kitchen at The Danforth Inn in Portland, where she is busily preparing for the planned May opening of Carmen at The Danforth. Gonzalez’s plans for the summer menu emphasize seafood with a Latin twist.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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The Danforth Inn owner, Kimberly Swan, with dog Ava, in the “salon,” where guests are served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before dinner.

Gordon Chibroski/ Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


Carmen Gonzalez shares her passion for a certain New York baseball team in the Maine a la Carte blog.

WATCH A ROUNDUP of video clips with chef Carmen Gonzalez – from her "Top Chef" experience to other TV appearances at

More recently, Gonzalez was asked to join the new Nutrisystem Culinary Council. She and other noted chefs on the council have been asked to create new recipes for the brand and broaden its menu selections.

Gonzalez also recently signed with MGM Latin America to host her own Spanish-language cooking show where she will interview celebrities and have a live studio audience. Two networks, Canal Ella and Casa Club TV, are carrying the show, which will be broadcast in more than 20 countries.

Gonzalez is as busy as ever, but it is the memory of her simple life in Puerto Rico that made her fall in love with Maine and want to open a new restaurant here. She'll be working at The Danforth full-time until October or November, when she'll return to her home base of New York. After that, she plans frequent flights between New York and Maine.

Before becoming friends with Swan, Gonzalez' only ties to Maine were the seafood she ordered from Browne Trading Company on Commercial Street and her longtime friendship with chef Melissa Kelly, owner of the restaurant Primo in Rockland.

Gonzalez says she loves the beauty of Maine, the kindness of its people, and the fact that she can walk her poodle, Jeeter, at 2 or 3 a.m. and there's no one else on the street.

She is looking forward to working with new ingredients from local farms that make her feel like "a child with all new toys."

Most of all, Gonzalez says, she just wants to be able to enjoy preparing each dish that goes out of the kitchen.

"I want to play in the kitchen again," she said. "I'm going to be able to create all these dishes, and enjoy every dish."


Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

Twitter: MeredithGoad




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Additional Photos

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Carmen Gonzalez grew up in a small fishing village in Puerto Rico. She opened her first restaurant at 19 in San Juan and has since worked at highly regarded restaurants in Miami and New York.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer


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