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March 16, 2017

Portland restaurant chefs, brewer named James Beard finalists

Courtesy / Flickr, Elizabeth K. Joseph A selection of oysters on ice at Eventide Oyster Co. at 86 Middle St. in Portland. The restaurant's chefs, Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, are finalists in the James Beard Foundation's "best chef in the Northeast" category of its prestigious annual competition.
Courtesy / Allagash Brewing Co. Allagash Brewing's Hibernal Fluxus is brewed with a different recipe each season. Allagash's founder, Rob Tod, is a finalist in the James Beard Foundation's “outstanding wine, spirits or beer professional” category.

Two Portland chefs who also are co-owners of the Eventide Oyster Co. restaurant in Portland are finalists in the James Beard Foundation's 2017 “best chef in the Northeast” award. The founder of Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland also is a finalist in the prestigious national competition.

The foundation announced Wednesday that Eventide’s Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley made its short list of finalists for its 2017 awards ceremony, which will take place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The two chefs will be competing against Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang in Boston; Cassie Piuma of Sarma in Somerville, Mass.; Susan Regis of Shepard in Cambridge, Mass.; and Benjamin Sukle of Birch in Providence, R.I., in the Northeast division that covers Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York state. 

The award recognizes chefs with at least five years of experience, including the three most recent years in the region, “who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions.”

Wiley and Taylor own Eventide Oyster Co. along with manager Arlin Smith. 

Maine's other finalist

Also named as a finalist in the James Beard Foundation’s “outstanding wine, spirits  or beer professional” category is Rob Tod, founder of the Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland.

Tod started Allagash Brewing Co. in 1995 as a one-man operation in a small corner of a warehouse in Portland. Since his first batch of beer, Allagash White, the company has grown considerably and its beers are now available in 17 states and the District of Columbia. 

Tod will be competing against Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del.;  Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider in Dugspur, Va; Miljenko Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, Calif.; and Aldo Sohm of Zalto Glass in New York City.

Twelve Maine chefs and restaurants had been named semifinalists for the 2017 James Beard Awards, selected from more than 24,000 online entries nationwide. 

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