Scott Tyree of Freeport last week passed his Master Sommelier exam, becoming the first Mainer to ever win the title. Courtesy of Court of Master Sommeliers US

Scott Tyree, a Freeport sommelier and wine consultant, last week became the first Mainer to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier exam given by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He’s just the 257th person in the world to join this exclusive club. Look for more about Tyree and his demanding journey to become a Master Sommelier in a future edition of Food & Dining.

Monte’s nabs a local favorite

Good news for fans of the late, great Little Bigs, the South Portland bakery that closed in January: Pamela Plunkett, who owned the bakery with her husband, James, has landed a new gig. She’ll be baking the pizza, bread and pastries at Monte’s Fine Foods, 788 Washington Ave., a market and café scheduled to open July 1. Monte’s will be in the former home of Pizza by Angelone. Plunkett told me she had been working at Solo Italiano on Commercial Street, making breads and desserts, and “hated to leave. I absolutely loved working with Paolo,” referring to chef/owner Paolo Laboa. Plunkett said husband James, who made the savory hand pies at Little Bigs, is happy in his new job at Trader Joe’s.

Enjoy a James Beard-worthy dinner without the travel

If you’re going to be in New York City Tuesday, Chris Long, chef at Natalie’s in the Camden Harbour Inn, will be cooking again at the James Beard House. Tickets for the dinner, which begins at 7 p.m., are $140 for members of the James Beard Foundation and $180 for the general public. Among the hors d’oeuvres are butter-roasted Maine oysters with mole and Caldwell Farm beef tartare with slow-cooked shallots, while dinner courses feature lobster roll pancakes, asparagus terrine with Maine seaweed, poached Maine cod and lamb loin.

Long will re-create the meal May 18 at Natalie’s; dinner is served anytime between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. and costs $98, excluding tax, tip and alcohol.


Chris Long, executive chef at Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn, will be cooking at the James Beard House. Courtesy of Natalie’s

That’s worth a like and a lip-licking emoji: Free cupcakes will launch a new Facebook feature

Facebook will be in South Portland Friday to launch a new “birthday stories” feature at Two Fat Cats bakery, 740 Broadway.

Representatives of the social media giant are scheduled to appear at 50 bakeries across the country to launch a new type of story where friends and family can add digital birthday cards, photos or videos to a story that celebrates someone’s birthday.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The “birthday stories” may be be virtual, but the free cupcakes being given away all day are for real.

New espresso service

Little Giant at 211 Danforth St., Portland, will launch an espresso service Saturday at a special event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. All espresso/coffee drinks will be $1 during those hours. They’ll be serving Stumptown Coffee, which is based in the other Portland.


A welcome harbinger

Another farmers market opening: The Lewiston Farmers Market, sponsored by the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, will open for the season Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the municipal lot on the corner of Lincoln and Main streets. Look for live music, kids’ activities and a Mother’s Day raffle basket filled with items from the market. The Lewiston market will continue its market rewards program this year, in which customers receive a gift certificate after five visits. It’s also continuing its popular “Seniors Day” program in which seniors 62 and older receive a gift certificate to the market every first Sunday of the month. To see a list of vendors, or to sign up for the market’s newsletter, email or call 513-3848.

More craft beer? Yes, please. 

“Guest Brewer,” a new online business, brings award-winning craft beers from around the country to other cities for limited runs. It’s visiting Portland in June – look for the Guest Brewer tap in your favorite bar or restaurant, as well as on store shelves that month. The beers, otherwise unavailable here, are from Upslope Brewing Co. from Boulder, Colorado, and Heavy Seas Brewery, which has a brewery in Baltimore and an alehouse in Arlington, Virginia.

Turmeric ginger cashews? Yes, please squared.

Hiram-based GrandyOats has won its second sofi award from the Specialty Food Association, this time for its Turmeric Ginger Cashews. The cashews, also spiced with lemongrass and cayenne, will be available at the GrandyOats booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City June 23-25.

Last year, GrandyOats won its first sofi for its Coffee Crunch Coconola, part of its grain-free granola line.

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