Chefs volunteering their culinary expertise for a great cause | Arts & Culture

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Chefs volunteering their culinary expertise for a great cause
Chefs volunteering their culinary expertise for a great cause

Top-notch chefs of four Mid-Coast restaurants are volunteering to share their culinary expertise for a great cause this month in a new four-week Maine Adult & Community Education program, “Meet Your Chefs.”  Fifteen participants gather in the kitchen of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church one evening each week to learn from the experts how to prepare signature dishes, as well as sample the excellent fare.

Profits of the series fund a free cooking and nutrition program for clients of the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Help Yourself Shelf food pantry. Certified Holistic Health Coach Julie Hofheimer of Edgecomb is designing and teaching a course this fall that involves learning how to prepare nutritious meals with healthy and inexpensive ingredients.  In addition, a $100 donation will be made to St. Philip’s for the generous sharing of the church’s kitchen.

Participating chefs are Kerry Altiero, owner and executive chef of Café Miranda in Rockland; Mikael Andersson, executive chef of Le Garage in Wiscasset; Tony Lavelle, executive chef of Solo Bistro in Bath; and Rick Hirsch, owner and executive chef of Damariscotta River Grill in Damariscotta. Altiero is a veteran in the program: helping to launch two series in Rockland. A Meet Your Chefs participant remarked, “Kerry is part entertainer and part chef. Food was succulent…loved it!”  Another commented, “The philosophy of each chef is reflected in presentations…great offering!”

The program received much praise and had lasting effects after the pilot program was launched in Rockland two years ago. Don Saverse attended the Fall 2009 program with 13-year old son, Izaak Sunde-Brown. While John Stowe, owner of Rustica in Rockland, was explaining his preparation techniques to the audience, Brown asserted, “It smells like the risotto is burning!”  Stowe was prompt to get Brown in front of the stove and in charge of stirring the risotto.  “I didn’t want the program to end…my foodie is inspired.”  Brown, a student at Camden Hills Regional High School, is currently in the Culinary Arts program at Midcoast School of Technology in Rockland. He regularly makes risotto for his family.

Five seats are available for the final class on Monday, November 7th from 6-8pm.  Suggested donation is $15 per person. 

Other Meet Your Chefs sessions are scheduled in Wiscasset for Winter and Spring 2012.  Proceeds will potentially fund the planning and implementation of a community garden. 

For more information and updates including photos and videos of the current session, visit the program’s blog:  Contact Meet Your Chefs Program Coordinator Vanessa Richards at 207-975-6176 or


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