(Pictured: Nicholas Dalaimo of Central Provisions)
The Harvest on the Harbor, Portland, Maine’s fall feast, was founded in 2007 to create buzz about our coastal city’s rising restaurant scene. And honor and celebrate the people, businesses, and organizations representing our food community’s best. One of the early events to help Harvest on the Harbor carve out its niche is the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition. It’s a very special annual feast, and we’re pleased and excited to finally bring it back to life!
The 2022 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition is slightly different. If you’ve attended before, you know it was a seated meal. We’re changing the format this year and delivering a high-energy grazing event. We want ticket holders to move at their own pace, from lobster station to station, enjoying Zardetto Prosecco, Shipyard Brewing Company beers, and KIT Non-Alcoholic beers. It might be the tastiest two hours of your life!
To help everyone comprehend the caliber of chefs and culinary teams suiting up for battle at this year’s event, here’s the lineup:
Nicholas Bianco, Tipo Restaurant
Bianco, Chef de Cuisine of Tipo restaurant in Portland’s Back Cove neighborhood, developed his passion for food early on. Some of his earliest memories are cooking with his grandmother in his hometown of Brooklin, Maine. He would later work in the greater New York area for Back 40 Kitchen and attend culinary school at Anna Tasca Lanza in Southern Italy, where he could truly expand his knowledge of Italian food and wine. In 2017 he moved back to Maine, where he began working at Central Provisions.
Nicholas Dalaimo, Central Provisions
Dalaimo grew up in southern California and started his culinary adventure at a mom-and-pop takeout joint in Venice Beach. His passion for cooking led him to Maine nine years ago. Since then, he’s been focused on mastering his skills at popular Portland restaurants such as the former 555, Petite Jacqueline, and is currently the Chef de Cuisine at Central Provisions.
John Glover, Twelve
Glover is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his degree in Culinary Arts from New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. After spending time at 555, Glover worked with the teams at L’Espalier and Mida restaurants in Boston before returning to Portland to share his talents with EVO. He is now Sous Chef at its sister restaurant, Twelve.
Sylvia Guevara, HarborSide 1901 Bar & Grill
Guevara is the reigning champion of Boothbay Harbor’s lobster cook-off held earlier this summer, the Claw Down.
Alexander Herzog, Great Wave Sushi
Herzog is a native of Portland, Maine, and began his sushi journey in 2011 when he graduated from California Sushi Academy under the tutelage of the master sushi chef, Masahiro Hashimoto. He worked at notable places such as Bar Hayama in Los Angeles and the famed Geisha House in Downtown Hollywood. Herzog regularly catered events, including the Golden Globes and Sony Pictures. He returned to Maine to further hone his skills working under Tak Sato, owner of Yosaku. In 2017, Sato Son took Herzog on a pilgrimage to Japan to learn the more subtle art of the noodle and roll. He developed a deeper love for traditional and fusion-style sushi on this trip. Today, Herzog owns and operates Great Wave Sushi, a mobile sushi cart.
Baxter Key, The Highroller Lobster Co
Key has worked in the food service industry for over 12 years in various food trucks and kitchens. He started the Highroller Lobster Co. food cart with his partner Andy Gerry in June 2015. The duo aimed to make a perfectly customizable lobster roll experience and offer other fun and delicious ways to enjoy lobster.
Austin Miller, Mami
Miller has been cooking professionally for 20 years in restaurants all over the country. He is the co-owner and chef at Mami, which began as a food truck and opened as a restaurant in 2017. He cooks Osaka-style street and Izakaya food while utilizing the best of Maine’s farmed, fished, and foraged ingredients.
Avery Richter, The Black Tie Company
Richter is the executive chef. She graduated from UMaine with a BA in Food Science and Human Nutrition in 2012 and owned and operated Wrap N’ Roll food truck in her hometown of Belgrade, Maine. She is a previous Maine Lobster Chef of the Year professionally judged winner.
Mimi Weissenborn, Sur Lie and Gather
Weissenborn is the creative director and executive chef for both properties. A native of Maryland, Weissenborn studied at L’Academie de Cuisine and worked at restaurants, including Breads Bakery, Superfine, and Poco in NYC, before joining the team at Vinateria as creative director and later, executive chef. She joined Sur Lie and Gather in Maine at the end of 2021.