June 1, 2013

Chefs on the move in Portland

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Chef Chris Gould is shown at 414 Fore St. in Portland, where he plans to open a new restaurant. The brick structure was erected in 1828.

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Krista Kern Desjarlais poses in the kitchen at Bresca, on Middle Street in Portland. She's opening a snack shack, Bresca and the Honeybee, at Outlet Beach in New Gloucester.

2012 Telegram file photo/John Ewing

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Now all Sansonetti needs is a location. He says he's actively exploring a couple of spots, and hopes to have something open by fall.

• David Levi

Vinland will be a 100 percent local restaurant, which means that it will use only local foods.

Most chefs would consider olive oil, lemons and black pepper fairly essential ingredients.

When David Levi opens Vinland, his restaurant at 593 Congress St., at summer's end, he won't have any of these foods in his toolbox. Vinland will be a 100 percent local restaurant. That means when Levi needs acidity in a dish, he'll use either Maine-made vinegar or condensed yogurt whey.

"If I cook it down, (yogurt whey) is as acidic as lemon juice, and it has a wonderful smooth flavor with a little sweetness to it," Levi said.

Levi grew up in an Italian family in New York and came to food after years of teaching and writing poetry. One of the people he tutored along the way was Cedric Vongerichten, son of renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The two struck up a friendship, and Vongerichten opened Levi's eyes to what was possible with food. Levi's interest in the culinary world dovetailed with his interest in ecology, and he began seeing how chefs could use ancient techniques like fermentation, dry aging, pickling and smoking to innovate "and make amazing food -- food on the level of art that would be a moving experience and that would also be moving people in the direction of eating local, seasonal, sustainable food and wild foods that put them in touch with the land."

Next came a series of stagiaires in New York and Italy, followed by two more at Noma in Copenhagen -- considered one of the best restaurants in the world, and known for its use of local and wild foods -- and F?ken Magasinet in Sweden, which has an even shorter growing season than Maine.

Levi will be incorporating a lot of what he learned at the restaurants in his new place. He believes that working within the boundaries of his pledge to use only 100 percent local foods will push him to innovate in the kitchen in ways he wouldn't otherwise.

"The motivating principle is to do the most that I possibly can to help build the sustainable local food economy," Levi said.

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Additional Photos

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Chef Damian Sansonetti is shown at his Blue Rooster Food Co. restaurant on Dana Street in Portland's Old Port district. He has plans for a new restaurant.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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David Levi will be opening a new restaurant called Vinland this fall at 593 Congress St. in Portland. His goal: to help build "the sustanable local food economy."

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer


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