The Indie Chefs dinner series returns to Maine in September. Here, the chefs from 2019 are pictured in Phippsburg during one of their off-site bonding expeditions. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam Photography

Chefs from across the country are headed to Brunswick next month to team up with some of Maine’s top toques for three collaborative dinners in Brunswick as part of the Indie Chefs 2022 dinner series.

Set for Sept. 8, 9 and 11, the nine-course dinners will be whipped up by a team of 18 chefs, including area talent like Emily Gobbi from Zao Ze Cafe in Brunswick, and Shaun Stoothoff from Bao Bao Dumpling House, Courtney Loreg from Woodford Food & Beverage, Ilma Lopez from Chaval and Jordan Rubin from Mr. Tuna, all in Portland. As a concession to the pandemic, the dinners will take place in a specially built outdoor dining area between host chef Cara Stadler’s Tao Yuan restaurant and her Zao Ze Cafe in Brunswick.

The Indie Chefs dinner series last visited Maine in 2019, when the collaborative dinners were held at Stadler’s former Lio restaurant in Portland. Indie Chefs is holding 10 events this year around the country, at locations including Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Los Angeles.

The aim of the series, according to the Indie Chefs website, is to “create a space for chef-to-chef interaction and inspiration” and “a safe environment for chefs to network.”

Indie Chefs founder Grover Smith, an Austin, Texas-based hospitality professional who launched the dinner series eight years ago, said the concept arose from discussions he had with chefs who had grown tired of “the predatory nature” of large-scale food festivals that drain their energy and financial resources. The chefs had come to feel isolated and overworked at the big festivals, which often left them no time to connect with their colleagues.

“We wanted to come up with an event where the chefs could spend more time together,” said Smith, noting that down time is built into the dinner series schedule. For instance, the chefs in Maine will be able to spend Saturday exploring the area and sampling local food and beverages on “an all-day bonding expedition.”


Indie Chefs also covers the cost of travel and accommodations for the visiting chefs, setting itself apart from other food festivals.

“It’s like a little summer camp, or a mini vacation for the chefs, on our dime,” Smith said, noting that revenues from ticket sales allow them to subsidize the chefs.

The Sept. 8 dinner will feature half of the chefs, each cooking one of the nine courses on the menu. The Sept. 9 dinner will spotlight the other nine chefs, and the final dinner on Sept. 11 – billed as the “grand finale” – will include all 18 chefs.

All three dinners start at 6 p.m. Tickets are available online, and range from $155 to $225 per person.


After pandemic circumstances forced Karen Nason to close last summer, the owner of the former Grand Central Wine Bar in Gorham plans to reopen in Sebago next spring.


Located at 256 Sebago Road in a 1,400-square-foot space formerly occupied by Krista’s Four Seasons diner, the wine bar is now under construction, Nason said. “It makes perfect sense for me to open here. It’s something Sebago Lake really hasn’t had,” she said.

Grand Central Wine Bar, which closed in Gorham last summer, will reopen next spring in Sebago. Photo courtesy of Grand Central Wine Bar

Nason expects to be able to seat about 50 customers inside the wine bar, and another 50 or more outside. The bar will feature live entertainment, such as local musician Flash Allen playing the baby grand piano as he did at the Gorham location. Nason also will serve food, including charcuterie and cheese board options.

The new space will boast some of the same unique decor as the original Gorham site, like a custom-designed replica of Grand Central Terminal’s iconic clock above the information booth in Manhattan. Nason hopes to be able to open by April.

Nason opened Grand Central Wine Bar in Gorham in late 2019, making her ineligible for pandemic relief funding in 2020. She said she could not afford to remain in the Gorham space, adding that the bar’s new Sebago home is less expensive.


The popular riverside beer sampling event, Pints on the Pier, returns to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath next month.

Set for Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Percy & Small Shipyard from 4-7:30 p.m., the 21-plus event features 11 beer and cider vendors and four food trucks. Live music will be performed by Matt Meyer and the Gumption Junction. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $10 for designated drivers. Museum members receive a 20 percent discount. The ticket fee includes beer samples and a commemorative glass.

Buy tickets at the museum website.

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