The Wrap: Collaborative dinner in honor of chef Larry Matthews Jr., Scratch Baking Co. reopens (about time!)

Chefs Ryan Hickman, left, and Larry Matthews Jr. in The Knotted Apron this month. The chefs are collaborating on two dinners in June. Photo by Kate Harvey

The Knotted Apron is hosting two collaborative dinners featuring longtime Portland chef/owner Larry Matthews Jr. of the beloved Back Bay Grill, which closed for good in March.

The six-course dinners ($120/person plus tax and tip), with an additional wine pairing option, will take place June 8 and 9. Tickets go on sale Wednesday and can be purchased on Resy or by calling the restaurant at 207-805-1523.

Knotted Apron general manager Kate Harvey explained that the restaurant’s co-owner, chef Ryan Hickman, spent six years as Matthews’ sous chef at the Back Bay Grill. Additionally, longtime Back Bay Grill dishwasher William “Franco” Tucker, who worked with Matthews for about two decades, now works at The Knotted Apron.

“We have a small Back Bay Grill family here. We wanted to celebrate everything Chef Larry has done in his career and everything he has taught them,” said Harvey.

Hickman and Matthews collaborated on the menu, which features classic Back Bay Grill dishes including lavender marinated duck and caramel ice cream.

Matthews may feel right at home in The Knotted Apron’s kitchen, as it now includes the stove from Back Bay Grill – the Woodford Street restaurant bought it after Matthews closed his restaurant.


After about six months of renovations, Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland is set to reopen its bakery in Willard Square on Thursday, co-owner Sonja Swanberg said.

Scratch operated through online orders and walk-ins at its Toast Bar location at 207 Broadway during renovations to its original space. Located at 416 Preble Street, the hugely popular 18-year-old bakery specializes in delicious take on American-style candies, breakfast items and artisan breads. Weekend lines for the bakery’s high-demand bagels often stretch during the summer. Swanberg said the interior of the bakery before the redesign was “very cramped and not very intuitive”.

“Space should now have a much better clockwise flow,” she added.

Hours of operation for Scratch Baking Co. in Willard Square will be Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Not quite six months after city officials asked grassroots organization Freeport Climate Action Now to launch a farmers’ market in the city, the Freeport Farmers’ Market will kick off its inaugural year on June 3.

The Freeport Farmers Market will run every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October. The market will be held next to City Hall at 30 Main Street. Organizers said they expect 12 to 13 vendors to attend each week, with around 10 more vendors rotating.

Freeport Climate Action Now acting manager Kathleen Sullivan said her group, which formed last year, aims to reduce the community’s contribution to climate change. “One way to do that is to have a farmers market so people can eat local food,” reducing the carbon footprint associated with producing and transporting food from afar, Sullivan said. .

One of the market’s main organizers, Margaret Morfit, who also sits on the climate group’s food subcommittee, said the market was able to come together so quickly, in part because the town had already been granted access to the land. next to the town hall for the venue. . Additionally, Morfit and other organizers received valuable advice and help with the launch from local farmers’ market professionals like Amy Sinclair, Yarmouth Farmer’s Market Manager.

“Fortunately, the farmers market world here is very willing to share,” Morfit said.


Costa Rica Naranjo of Coffee By Design, scored 94 points from Coffee Review this month. Photo courtesy of Coffee By Design

Coffee Review, an influential global coffee buying guide, rated four Coffee By Design coffees this month as “very good to exceptional.”

The monthly publication rated Costa Rican Naranjo Danilo Salazar Arias, Kenya Kahunyo AA, Honduras COMSA Oscar Omar Alonzo and Rwanda Gasharu Natural from Coffee By Design, and judged them each blind.

The Costa Rican medium-light roast coffee scored the highest, with 94 points (out of a possible 100), a score according to Coffee Review indicating “exceptional originality, beauty, individuality and distinction, with no significant negative issues” . The coffee ($23/12 oz) is available to order online or at Coffee By Design stores.

Coffee By Design’s Kenyan ($22/lb) and Honduran ($18.50/12 oz) coffees both scored 93 points. The store’s Rwanda coffee ($23/12 oz) scored 92 points.

Coffee By Design co-founder Mary Allen Lindemann praised the “skills, passion and dedication” shown by Chief Roaster Travis Spear, COO Jeremy Rävar and the entire Coffee By Design team.

“The roastery team has worked very hard under difficult circumstances over the past two years,” Lindemann said in a statement. “Receiving scores like this is extremely rewarding.”

“By submitting coffees to Coffee Review, we’re able to get valuable feedback from a really knowledgeable team,” added co-owner Alan Spear, “and it also drives us to strive for even more. “


To mark the release of a new anthology, “Breaking Bread: Essays on New England Food, Hunger, and Family,” its editors and select contributing writers will hold a panel discussion and reading Thursday at Bunker Brewing in Portland.

The free event – from 7 to 8 p.m. – will feature contributing authors Richard Russo and Kate Russo, Anne Elliott and Alana Dao, and book editors Debra Spark and Deborah Joy Corey.

According to promotional materials for the event, the band will talk about their contributions to the anthology, which “explores how what’s on our plates engages with what’s wrong: grief, pleasure, love, ethics, race and class”. The book (Beacon Press, $30) is divided into sections with essays on liking and loathing, hunger and plenty, love and loss, family and community.


Returning for a second year, Maine Lobster Week is set to run from Sept. 19 through National Lobster Day on Sept. 25, event organizer Gillian Britt announced.

The week-long event differs from the fairground Maine Lobster Festival, which is being held for the 75th year August 3-7 in Rockland. Maine Lobster Week takes place in a number of different locations, depending on the venues participating – a similar approach to Maine Restaurant Week, the popular late-winter celebration of special dishes and specially priced menus, which Britt organizes also.

Last year, Maine Lobster Week was celebrated at lobster shacks, eateries and eateries from Kennebunk to Bar Harbor, with approximately 40 sites participating.

“Hopefully we’ll have a lot more sites participating this year because it’s the second year and we’re growing,” Britt said. “We want lobster lovers from across the country to come and enjoy lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or in a Bloody Mary. It’s a real lobster explosion.

Britt urged companies interested in participating to contact her. The list of venues for the event, which is sponsored by the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, will be posted on the Maine Lobster Week website in July.

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