The Maine Food Scene
It’s no surprise that Maine (especially Portland) is becoming known as a place for food lovers to congregate. With new restaurants opening up frequently and a farm to table mentality taking over, this is Maine’s heyday. Chef Harding Lee Smith is contributing to this amazing time with The Rooms restaurants becoming food institutions in Portland. Dr. Lisa’s interview is a great opportunity to get a peek inside the renowned chef’s mind, and hear how Maine has changed over the years to him.
Inspiration From Afar
From going to college in Boston, and then traveling around the world including Italy, Hawaii, and San Francisco, Harding Lee Smith has seen (and experienced) what the food industry has to offer. Though Maine is only recently in the midst of a food renaissance, it is the start of something that is putting Portland and nearby areas on the map. Taking advantage of stunning waterfront views and the demand for quality food, he has grown a Rooms empire. These include The Front Room, known for comfort food, The Corner Room, known for their traditional Italian fare, The Grill Room, bringing customers delicious steaks and meats, and most recently, Boone’s, dedicated to bringing Portland the fresh, savory seafood that the East Coast is so well known for.
Maine Done Right
It’s because of his dedication to the food he’s serving his customers that he’s done so well. Quality, local ingredients are the mark of a good restaurant, according to Dr. Lisa, and her words ring true. It’s important to have foods that are in season, and the knowledge that there is more to a menu than just the entrees or meat. The Rooms have an ample selection of fresh vegetables and gluten free options available because he creates dishes that all people will want to eat. Harding Lee Smith has taken everything he’s seen around the world and applied it to his own restaurants here in Portland, and it shows.