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Maine Restaurant Association to Celebrate Maine’s Restaurant Community at Annual Banquet

Association brings the best Maine chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs to Portland

AUGUSTA, ME, March 25, 2016—On Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at the Holiday Inn By the Bay, located at 88 Spring Street in Portland, Maine, the Maine Restaurant Association will recognize the 2016 annual award recipients at its annual banquet. The evening will begin at 5:00 pm with a restaurant showcase reception featuring the culinary stylings of some of Maine’s most celebrated chefs, followed by a seated dinner, and culminating in the presentation of awards.

“It’s such an exciting occasion for our association to, once a year, pause and recognize the incredible contributions our members make to Maine’s celebrated restaurant industry,” says, Tina Hewlett-Gordon, Board Chairman of the Maine Restaurant Association. “This year’s slate of awardees is a true representation of the professionalism and perseverance exemplified in the very best of Maine’s foodservice entrepreneurs.” Award winners are selected each year by the association’s awards committee from nominations submitted by its restaurant and allied industry members from across the state.

2016 awardees include:

  • Rising Star Award: Krista Cole, owner of Sur Lie in Portland.
  • Chef of the Year: James Walter, executive chef and co-owner at Five-O Shore Road in Ogunquit.
  • “Bill Zoidis” Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Carney of Governor’s Restaurants, statewide.
  • Restaurateurs of the Year: The Geaghan Family of Bangor’s Geaghan Pub & Craft Brewery.
  • Allied Member of the Year: The law firm of Norman Hanson DeTroy with offices in Portland and Lewiston.

In speaking of the award recipients association President & CEO, Greg Dugal said, “Our goal is to recognize restaurant professionals who give back to their community, serve as mentors to others, go above and beyond in serving their customers, and make a positive contribution to our industry. We’re privileged to honor these individuals in a manner befitting their accomplishments through the generous support of our event sponsors.”

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this annual celebration of Maine’s restaurant community,” said Greg Piper, president of Performance Foodservice-NorthCenter whose company is the banquet’s premier sponsor. “We congratulate these foodservice professionals for their creativeness and dedication to the industry. Their commitment to making delicious food is a vital part of why people enjoy living in and visiting this great state.”

Awardee Profiles

Krista Cole, owner of Sur Lie in Portland will receive the association’s Rising Star Award. Established to recognize relative newcomers to the industry and the association, the Rising Star Award acknowledges restaurant professionals for their early achievements in the restaurant business. Cole, along with business partner Antonio Alviar, first opened the doors of their tapas-style restaurant in September of 2014. Ms. Cole is deeply committed to the greater Portland area which is apparent in her community outreach with a variety of local organizations in the city.

Our 2016 Chef of the Year, James Walter is the esteemed executive chef at Five-O Shore Road in Ogunquit who has recently become part of the restaurant’s ownership group. After graduating from the culinary program at what today is known as Bath Regional Career & Technical Center, Chef Walter gained a world-class culinary experience interning at the prestigious restaurants of Utah’s Stein Erickson Lodge. He returned home to coastal Maine with a job at the Sebasco Harbor Resort before furthering his career at Portsmouth New Hampshire’s top restaurant Pesce Blue under Chef Mark Segal. In addition to tending the flames at his restaurant in one of Maine’s busiest resort towns, Chef Walter is dedicated to sharing his talents in support of a variety of charitable causes including being one of Maine’s No Kid Hungry chefs.

The 2016 recipient of the industry’s highest honor, the “Bill Zoidis” Lifetime Achievement Award, is Michael Carney of Governor’s Restaurants. This year Carney will celebrate his 30th anniversary as a member of the Maine Restaurant Association Board of Directors having served as the Maine Restaurant Association chairman in 1994-1996. In more recent years, he has served on the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors. To say Michael wears a lot of hats in this association is an understatement. In addition to the aforementioned roles, Carney has also long served as the President of the MERA Education Foundation where he has worked tirelessly in his efforts to implement the ProStart program in Maine, a culinary curriculum offered to high school students through Maine’s technical schools, establishing a legacy that will serve Maine’s hospitality industry for years to come.

The 2016 Restaurateur of the Year Award will be shared by the Geaghan Family of Bangor’s Geaghan Pub & Craft Brewery. Brothers Pat (left), Larry (center left) and Peter (center right) along with Larry’s son Andrew (right), today run the restaurant John and Arline Geaghan opened in 1975. An integral part of the economy of the greater Bangor area for the past five decades, Geaghan’s Pub has long been a cornerstone of its community employing generations of Mainers over the years. In 2011 the Geaghans added a successful craft brewery venture to the family business which has invigorated their brand and Maine’s craft brewing scene.

Rounding out this year’s slate of awardees is the law firm of Norman Hanson DeTroy with offices in Portland and Lewiston who will receive the association’s Allied Member of the Year Award. Attorney David Herzer (pictured right) has been especially involved with the association since his firm joined the ranks of allied membership offering invaluable legal advice to both the association itself as well as its members. With expertise in a broad variety of business-related disciplines, Norman Hanson DeTroy has positioned itself as a law firm committed to Maine’s hospitality industry. Pictured with Mr. Herzer is Attorney Adrian Kendall (left) and Attorney Darya Zappia (center). 

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Press Contact:    

Greg Dougal, President & CEO
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