Harvest on the Water is coming up and we are interviewing another chef we will be experiencing, when we are in Portland, ME fro Oct 21-23.
Melissa Bouchard, Executive Chef of DiMillos Floating Restaurant will be cooking at the Grand Tasting and her restaurant will also have a table at the Savory Samplings at the Marketplace!
Growing up in Eastport, ME, Melissa aspired to be a nurse and loved spending time in her grandmother’s kitchen. After exiting college, Melissa moved to Portland and almost immediately began working for the DiMillo family. After eight years on board she was promoted to the position of Chef. Now entering her 13th year she has begun working towards a degree in Business Administration and hopes to focus more on sustainable fishing and pastry.
Maralyn: What is your favorite recipe and why?
Melissa: I don’t think I could ever narrow it down to one recipe, not even close!
Maralyn: What is your favorite spice to work with when cooking and why?
Melissa: My favorite spice to cook with is smoked paprika. It gives a nice smoky body to marinades, dry rubs, and puts a whole new twist on lobster bisque and other soups and stews.
Maralyn: What is your favorite cooking utensil and why?
I love my microplane grater. I put citrus zest in just about everything I can. In a pinch, I’ll even use it to grate cheese. I don’t rely on a lot of different utensils, just the basics!
Maralyn: Do you have any tips for those desiring to become a chef?
Melissa: Be prepared to work long hours, weekends and holidays and always keep an open mind. I often hear of culinary students who think that they are going to work for somebody and then open up their own restaurant in a 2 year period. It’s great to have goals, but they should be realistic. Keeping an open mind is especially important. I learn something new everyday, and usually from an unexpected source. To think that you have learned everything you need to know in 5, 10, or even 20 years is detrimental to your career.
Maralyn: Which do you prefer: the hot line, pastry, appetizers, etc.?
Melissa: I prefer the heat of the line. Slinging pans, grilling meat, I love it all!! There is something soul satisfying to work tirelessly in the heat with all of the chaos going on around you and doing it well. At the end of the night, knowing that I made our customers happy, that is what it’s all about!
Norm and I will be attending the Grand Tasting on the Harbor, which will be a signature event for the Harvest on the Harbor. It is going to be exciting to meet and taste the creations of all the participants.
DiMillo’s has a fascinating history. You can learn more by clicking DiMilo’s.
To check out the various events at Harvest on the Harbor, check out their site. Norm and I would like to meet some of you there if you are attending. In any case, there is more to come on participants.
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