Four Chefs Vie for the Title of Maine’s Best Farm to Table Restaurant

The Convention + Visitors Bureau, host of Maine’s premier food and wine experience, Harvest on the Harbor, has selected four local chefs to participate in the Top of the Crop: Best Farm to Table Restaurant competition. Eric Flynn, executive chef at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport; Jeff Landry, executive chef and owner of The Farmer’s Table in Portland; Shannon Bard, executive chef and part owner of Zapoteca in Portland, and Kevin Walsh, executive chef at Earth at Hidden Pond, will compete on October 25 during Harvest on the Harbor for the title of Maine’s Best Farm to Table Restaurant (Chef bios and farm to table philosophy at the bottom of the press release).
The four chefs were selected based on their farm to table philosophy, relationship with local farms, and how well their restaurant menus reflect the farm to table movement on a year-round basis.
The Top of the Crop competition places the chefs on the Viking Cooking Demonstration Stage where they will prepare a dish using local, organic, farm-raised, beef, lamb, chicken, pork or venison. The seated audience will start with an appetizer of bread, cheese and olive oil, while watching the chefs demonstrate their cooking techniques. The audience will taste the skillfully prepared dishes in four appetizer-sized portions while a wine educator provides an expertly paired selection to complement the chefs’ creations.
The event concludes with a dessert demonstration and tasting along with locally, handcrafted, micro-roasted coffee. The event takes place on Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Ocean View Room at Ocean Gateway in Portland. Tickets are $75.00 and can be purchased at www.HarvestOnTheHarbor.com The attire is business casual.

Come learn about Maine’s farm-to-table movement, taste the difference organic growing can make and hear some great music throughout the presentation.
The line-up for the 2012 Harvest on the Harbor event also includes:
Grand Tasting on the Harbor
Maine Lobster Chef of the Year
Top of the Crop: Best Farm to Table Restaurant
Cutting Edge: College Culinary Competition
BBQ Brews & Blues
Savory Samplings at the Marketplace
Event Sponsors include: Down East Magazine and WHOM 94.9FM

Top of the Crop Chef Bios–
Eric Flynn, Harraseeket Inn
Long recognized as a gem in the Maine culinary landscape, Executive Chef Eric Flynn offers comfortable elegance and a devotion to the best ingredients. His style has been described as refined, contemporary New England fare with a savory dash of French flamboyance, focusing on the local, seasonal, and organic bounty of Maine. Chef Eric uses bright colors and exciting textures to awaken the most seasoned of palates.
Eric’s Farm to Table Philosophy
We at the Harraseeket Inn believe that doing business with local purveyors helps the community by keeping its economy strong. Our first priority is purchasing locally grown and harvested foods. There are many reasons for this: supporting local farmers and fishermen, preserving traditional skills and open space, and reducing the energy expended to transport foods great distances. We purchase organically grown produce whenever possible because we believe it is a healthier choice for our customers and our planet.

Jeff Landry, The Farmer’s Table
Jeff Landry is Executive Chef and Owner of The Farmer’s Table. He and his wife, Suzie Altemus-Landry, are partners in the restaurant. Previously, Jeff served as Executive Chef of Eve’s at the Garden Portland Harbor Hotel; he has also worked in kitchens at Portland’s Cinque Terre and Freeport’s Harraseeket Inn. Jeff owned his own restaurant, Seasons Cafe in Lewiston. He was the Maine Restaurant Association’s Chef of the Year in 2007. Jeff earned his culinary arts degree from New Hampshire Community College.
Jeff’s Farm to Table Philosophy
As our name implies, we feel strongly about supporting the local farm to table movement. Furthermore, we feel that we have made responsible, socially conscious decisions regarding our suppliers. The Farmer’s Table has been recognized by the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) for our use of humanely raised animals and dairy products. Also, we embrace every opportunity to use organically farmed vegetables and fruit. We believe in simplicity of our food and commend those who raise it that way.

Shannon Bard, Zapoteca
Growing up in Oklahoma, Shannon Bard and her family would sit together and enjoy large meals prepared by her grandmother who owned a Mexican restaurant. Shannon would join her grandmother in the kitchen and spend hours making vibrantly flavored meals prepared from scratch. These early influences inspired Shannon to attend culinary school. Following her training at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, TX, Shannon along with her husband, Tom Bard and long-time friend, Sergio Ramos, opened Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria at 505 Fore Street in the Old Port.
Shannon’s Farm to Table Philosophy
Shannon’s father and grandfather, both small farmers, imparted lessons on seasonal produce, and the hard work and dedication farmers put into each and every crop. Shannon is dedicated to be offering authentic, seasonally influenced Mexican dishes with bold, modern flair. Zapoteca’s menu has a strong Oaxacan influence and is comprised of unique, wood fired dishes with bold, authentic flavors that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else in New England.

Kevin Walsh, Earth At Hidden Pond
A 2003 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Walsh brings a diverse culinary background to Earth. Chef Walsh cooked for several years on the line for the Bedford Village Inn. He worked as Sous Chef for Baldwin’s on Elm, then left to join Radius in Boston. Chef Walsh’s was able to work under Michael Schlow, a multiple award winning chef. In 2009, Chef Walsh worked at Flour and Water in San Francisco. During his time there, Flour and Water received a James Beard Award nomination for “Best New Restaurant in America”. Chef Walsh returned to the East coast to serve as Chef De Cuisine at Deuxave for two years before being hand-picked by Chef Oringer, to lead the charge at Earth where he has perfected pasta making and wood oven firing techniques – two of Earth’s signature offerings.
Kevin’s Farm To Table Philosophy
We believe that the quality of a menu begins with how and where its ingredients are grown, and are firm in supporting our local farm partners. We also have an incredible array of herbs, vegetables, fruits and edible flowers right out our back door…we will continue to experiment with what we can successfully grow to ensure we’re serving the best food we possibly can. We could create dishes from ingredients overnighted from an international city, but it wouldn’t taste as good and we wouldn’t feel good serving it.