PORTLAND – The foodies have spoken.

The winner of the “People’s Choice” spot in the Top of the Crop competition at Harvest on the Harbor is the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport.

Nearly 3,000 people voted online for the farm-to-table chef they most wanted to see compete in the event, which is new for the Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival Oct. 20-22 in Portland. They had their choice of 14 nominated restaurants from Ellsworth to Wells.

Barbara Whitten, president and CEO of the Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau, announced the winner at a media preview Thursday at Ocean Gateway, where the festival is held every year.

Eric Flynn, executive chef at the Harraseeket, said he was “humbled” to win and credited the environmentally friendly inn’s longtime commitment to serving local foods. He said he has an idea of what he wants to prepare, but doesn’t know for sure “because we don’t know what farmers are going to give us. So it kind of makes it exciting.”

“I assume we’re going to have a lot of seasonal apples and early season squashes, and hopefully have some local duck and pork,” he said. “It all depends on what farms produce for us. It will be fun, especially with this year being the first year” of the contest.

Whitten also announced the three other finalists, chosen by judges from the field of 14 restaurants, who will compete against the Harraseeket on Oct. 21. They are chefs Masa Miyake of Miyake in Portland; Steve Corry of Five Fifty-Five in Portland; and Joshua Mather of Joshua’s in Wells.

Celebrity chef Mark Tarbell, owner of Tarbell’s in Phoenix, will be a guest judge at the event. Tarbell, who grew up in Maine, is a James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef: Southwest and a past winner of Iron Chef America.

A guest judge will be chosen from the public through another online competition. For the past several weeks, people have been submitting videos of one minute or less explaining why they want to be a judge for the Top of the Crop competition. To submit a video or view one already online, go to www.pressherald.com/harvest. Voting will close at 5 p.m. Sept. 30.

Whitten also announced a new twist on the Ultimate Seafood Splash event Oct. 20. Portland-area chefs have been paired with fishermen, who will supply the chefs with sustainable but under-used seafood to prepare for the public to sample.

Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland, a James Beard Award winner, will work with fisherman Glenn Libby and prepare red fish. Adam White of the Salt Exchange in Portland has been paired with Morey Levovitz, a cod farmer at Great Bay Aquaculture of Maine.

Cassady Pappas, chef at Portland’s Havana South, will team up with fisherman Rob Odlin and serve pollock. Mitchell Kaldrovich of Sea Glass in Cape Elizabeth has been paired with fisherman Richard Kolseth and will serve whiting.

Michael Ruoss, a Portland native who is now chef at Salu in New Orleans, will work with fisherman Ricky Trundy and prepare northern shrimp.

The finalists for the Lobster Chef of the Year Competition on Oct. 21 were also announced Thursday. The judges who chose them were James Beard Award winner Rob Evans of Hugo’s in Portland; Corry of Five Fifty-Five; and Wilfred Beriau, the recently retired chair of the culinary arts department at Southern Maine Community College.

Finalist Thomas J. Reagan III is a personal chef from Kennebunk. “My recipe is simple and to the point,” he said. “It’s a fusion of Maine and Japanese cultures. It’s a sweet-and-sour rice cake with a slow poached Maine lobster tail.”

Kristian Burrin, executive chef at The Seasons of Stonington Restaurant, said he will make “a trio of Maine lobster rolls with a twist.” One will be a classic Maine lobster roll on brioche. The other two will be an Asian lobster roll with wasabi mayonnaise and a South American lobster roll with corn and chili relish.

Finalist Ryan Campbell, a Winslow native and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, is now head chef at the Lake Parlin Lodge and Cabins in Parlin Ponds Township. His entry will be a Maine Lobster Menage A Trois, or Maine Lobster Three Ways.

“I made a lobster cake made with a mango ginger chutney,” Campbell said. “The second one is a lobster spring roll with an avocado cream. And the third is a tower that’s a wild mushroom ravioli, a sweet crispy corn cake fritter, a piece of apple-smoked bacon and a roasted lobster claw on top.

“The reason I called it a lobster menage a trois,” he said, “is because you can pretty much interchange the sauces and the plates make love.”

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

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