Archive for October, 2009
The following blog post comes from our very good friends over at Green Living Project (GLP), a non-profit organization that films sustainable programs across the world for inspirational and educational purposes. In GLP’s two-year history, the organization has documented over thirty diverse projects in ten countries across Latin America and Africa. This past August, Adrienne Rosenberg joined Green Living Project’s first domestic trip, which showcased a myriad of inspiring sustainable initiatives across the state of Maine .
As I sat on the back steps of the renovated Victorian house, a line cook caught my eye as he hopped over the salvia and lunged around the basil to snip a few sprigs of mint. At any other restaurant, if you are out of an ingredient, you are out of luck- but not Primo. Primo restaurant , co-owned by Chef Melissa Kelly and Pastry Chef Price Kushner, strives to pleasantly blend the ideals of sustainability with palate-savoring pleasures.
Like many students desperate for a quick financial fix, I have made my circulations in restaurants across the nation, often experiencing the same harrowing episodes: a chef with a large ego, quick hands to dump “waste” from plates, customers oblivious to the substandard food cultivation, piles of the same-ole, imported Sysco ingredients, and a sort of impassive, nightly performance by the wait staff. But at Primo, diners receive an unparallel experience of local, organic Portland fare.
The cuisine brilliance begins and ends on the four-acre garden. Unlike other restaurants, Primo’s gardeners decide each morning what seasonal produce is ripe for the evening’s delights. Pulsing with life, the garden also provides chickens, herbs, grapes, edible flowers, honey, and even hops. True to their commitment to local ingredients, Primo also purchases its seafood from Portland fishermen. By the end of the night, the pigs feast on the ensuing compost of uneaten food or organic waste from the kitchen.
Primo’s garden provides much of the bounty that ends up in its dining room
In addition, Primo invites guests to explore the garden so they may come into contact with the elements that will later arrive at their table. As Melissa remarked, so often chefs will put their ego on a plate. Her philosophy, however, is to fashion her dishes so they teach others about where food comes from and how it is grown.
Inside the kitchen, Primo hosts several line cook stations, a pastry prep area, expo tables, a wood fired oven, and a downstairs prep room complete with storage and a batch of brewing beer. The chalkboard-painted door at the top of the stairs lists the specials for the night as well as displays a flyer on “How to Become Green”.
Primo’s décor pleasantly complements the organic, robust flavors of each dish. Downstairs exhibits rustic merlot colored walls and a traditional dining set up along with several art pieces while upstairs has a contrasting chicness with wrap-around couches, rectangular shaped designs, and a copper bar. Primo also seamlessly excels at energy efficiency and water conservation through their use of Maine produced biofuel as well as dual flush and waterless urinals.
After a long afternoon of dodging the staff while filming the high action atmosphere of the kitchen, Green Living Project was able to relax to fork fulls of scrumptious fresh cuisine, such as the house special baked oysters and the black spaghetti with braised cuttlefish and heirloom tomatoes, knowing that a majority of the ingredients were sustainably harvested only yards away from our table.
Green Living Project