When the nominees for the James Beard award as Best Chef in the Northeast were announced in the spring of 2007, Maine had more candidates than any other state in the region, including Massachusetts and upstate New York. To most professional chefs, this is the highest award to which they can aspire. In the end judges lauded Rob Evans, of Hugo's in Portland, and Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, of Arrows in Ogunquit, for their culinary excellence.
In past years, Melissa Kelly, now at Primo in Rockland, and Sam Hayward of Portland's Fore Street Restaurant, have won this most coveted of all culinary honors. Food and Wine Magazine editors named Steve Corry of 555 Congress Street, in Portland, one of the "The Best New Chefs in the U.S. in 2007." In 2004, Hugo's Rob Evans won this award. When Gourmet Magazine issued its latest (2006) selection of the 50 Top Restaurants in the U.S., Arrows in Ogunquit and Portland's Fore Street made the list (at numbers 14 and 26, respectively). Bon Appetit Magazine recently called Arrows "One of the ten most romantic restaurants in the U.S." The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, with executive chef Jonathan Cartwright, is the only restaurant anywhere in New England to win both the AAA Five Diamond and Mobile Five Star awards. It also topped Conde Nast Travelers "Best of the Best" award for any restaurant at a resort worldwide.
Take a culinary travel vacation! Tasting the dishes of award-winning chefs is the perfect excuse for a Maine getaway. Search for Maine restaurants by name, town or region to find one at your destination.