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Old 12-13-2008, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,510,778 times
Reputation: 1395

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I am a little surprised that you haven't already done the obvious. FIRST thing MONDAY morning, pick up the phone and call The Maine Restaurant Assciation. Tell them your story and ask them if they have a list of restaurants that are looking for the qualifications that you have to offer. The Maine Restaurant Association is very active as a trade group and the executive director...I think his name is Dick Grotton...is a very knowledgable, hands on restaurteur in his own right. I think the association will be in an excellent position to make some suggestions and you might even come up with some contacts to call.

The time to be looking for a job for next season is right now. Your mother is wrong about coming here in March. You should come here right now and start pounding the pavement, making calls and making face to face contacts. Restaurants of any size at all will be looking to interview their executive chef positions....I am lumping in sous chef with all skilled kitchen positions....early in the season, and while the bulk of the "season" is May to October, the restaurants that you really want to see first are the ones that are open all year and will offer year round employment if possible. In order to do that, you will need to BE HERE. Calling from California will do nothing for either of you as far as finding employment is concerned.

As far as the Blue Hill area is concerned, I think you will find a LOT of seasonal opportunity, but that will be over absolutely by the middle of October. You might try calling The Brooklin Inn which is open all year round.
The Bar Harbor Inn is also open year round, too.

I have another suggestion for you in the RIGHT NOW category: RIGHT NOW call The Acadia Corporation in Bar Harbor. They operate the seasonal concession in Acadia National Park, and their flagship restaurant is The Jordan Pond House. They might be looking for a sous chef for the coming season, but if you are not here to interview in January, there will be no chance much after that. They hire a lot of college aged kids to work during the summer as wait staff, and its a pretty jumping place...high end dining. My daughter worked there through college and I think your fiance ought to have his resume in their hands RIGHT NOW, but call them first to see what their needs are, and be prepared to head for Maine right after the first of the year.

This is NOT California. Maine has a big area and very few people. How many people is "few" people? Well, Maine has fewer people than the city of San Diego and the median income for a Maine family is a bit more than one half that of a median family income in San Diego. YOu have been to Blue Hill and to Southern Maine, but you have yet to experience how big and compared to Santa Barbara, POOR Maine will appear once you are out of those areas.

I don't want to sound hostile, but if you think that you will be able to arrive here, find work on your time schedule, you will likely be very disappointed. You need to be here first, with the brightest approach and prove that you are going to show up or a restaurant operator will not take you seriously. A lot of people talk about coming here, and most fall off the train along the way.

Leave the "nice trip" across the country for a time when you have your position locked in. A good time for a "nice trip" across the country would be in the fall and winter after your seasonal restaurant has closed and you are decompressing after a hectic and successful season.

Unless your Mother is prepared to support you for a year or so, you had better get on your horses RIGHT now and come to Maine ready to get your hands dirty. If you end up in the southwest corner of the state...York and Cumberland counties...you will find the employment climate there for your husband and you to be much different and stronger than in the rest of the state. Think of Cumberland County...where the City of Portland is...southwest to the New Hampshire line more like Boston. Many, many people who live in those two counties have moved here within the past generation from Massachusetts, Connecticut and other more populous and wealthy states. Your chances of finding a position in the medical services field are much better there than in the more rural areas of the state, much as in the food service industry.

But you gotta get here, and get working on your next season's jobs right now, or you will likely be just "sold out" without getting a chance to introduce yourself.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,510,778 times
Reputation: 1395
Here's another thought, and perhaps not a cheerful one. Go to Maine business community and news - mainebusiness.com That will give you some other information especially the article about how Fairchild Semiconductor, one of Portland's largest employers...is laying of 1100 workers. That is just one employer in the area. How many more do you suppose are laying off people?

THINK about that: eleven hundred workers in a city whose population is less than 70,000, and the surrounding area has a population of less than 200,000.

Receipts in the restaurant business here in Maine right now are running TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT below last year. Worse still, the gross receipts in the grocery business are ALSO 25% below last year.

Make no mistake: Maine needs young intelligent people to help the state into the future. But make NO worse mistake: Maine is a very small economiy, highly seasonal, and it is taking a pounding during this recession just like the rest of the nation.

Be prepared for very tough times, and IF there are jobs for you and your fiance, you had better get here fast, and pound the bricks HARD because you will have a lot more competition than you can possibly imagine.
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:48 AM
 
8,760 posts, read 16,448,227 times
Reputation: 3491
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
I think most people who have read my posts may toss me into the "crome diner" crowd as I tend to be very critical of the restaurants I eat at (not just in Maine) and going out to eat is a hobby of mine (self-proclaimed "foodie"). Even if I'm broke I'll probably spend a huge portion of my check on dining out (sad, but true).

I'd like to expand on (and to a small extent, disagree with) what Maineah mentioned in his post.

First, let me reiterate, do NOT fear about having to work in a Dunkin Donuts to get by (not that D&D is wrong for everyone!). Portland has a LOT of restaurants for a city of 63,000 souls. Many here claim that it has the "most restaurants per capita" in the nation. While that statement is false (Many other cities claim this as well and the obscure data that DOES exist is only for cities of more than 250,000 people), there are certainly grounds for people making that claim. Your fiance should be able to find a job at one of these establishments and it will be better than fast food or chain food.

As far as "fine-dining" goes, it's CLEARLY a subjective matter. I would argue that while Portland has MANY restaurants, there are few that are of vastly superior quality. In fact, if we're going to go on a "5-star" system, I would say that Portland's top-quality restaurants are 4 stars and you can count those on one hand (perhaps 2 fingers).

Let me give you my basis so you can be the judge on how valuable/valid my opinion is. Even if you disagree, you can at least make an assertation for yourself....

.5 Stars would be your basic fast food chains (Mcdonald's, Wendy's, BK, Taco Bell, etc)
.5-1.5 Stars would be your real low end chains and take out/pizza joints (i.e. IHOP, Friendly's, your neighborhood Chinese place, Dominos Pizza, etc)
1.5-2.5 Stars would include the mid-level chains such as Olive Garden, Friday's, Applebees (at the lower end), etc. as well as mediocre nighborhood pub food (Great Lost Bear, anyone?), etc.
2.5-3.5 Stars would include the upper echelon of those mid-scale chains (Macaroni Grille, P.F. Chang's MAYBE Long Horn at a 2.5, etc). established neighborhood restaurants (this is where I'd put places like Dogfish Cafe in Portland or Joe's Boathouse).
3.5-4.5 Stars would be your upper tier chains (Think Ruth-Chris Steakhouse), real causual but reliable cuisine, etc. This is where Hugo's (a 3.5 to me) and Fore Street (a solid 4.0) as well as some of the other Maine bests would land in my book.
5-Stars is reserved for the truly elite. These restaurants blow your mind. Last weekend I had a Kobe Beef Steak at a restaurant called "Oishii" in Boston and it was phenominal. Italian at Al Forno or Capriccio in Providence fits in here... they're just a tier above anything you'll find in Maine. I can't put anything in Maine up here because even the best up here can't compete with the elite of the bigger cities in the country, they just can't.

Now, Maineah, I am in no way trying to call you out (Though you MUST try Blue Sky in York Beach before you call Fore St. the "best North of Boston" ... it's a close call). I agree that Maine has options, particularly in Portland. I don't think the OP's fiance is going to have trouble finding work in Portland as a sous chef and CERTAINLY won't be working at D&D (not that there is anything wrong with that, btw). He will be able to find work at a reputable establishment. In fact, after I finish this, I'm sending OP a DM with info on a good restaurant I know is overhauling their kitchen staff for next season and will be looking to replace the head and some of the sous chefs.

Now, if nothing else, we can take from this post that I have WAYYY too much time on my hands. I'm hoping though, that even if the OP disagrees with my personal star system, she can gain an idea of what type of establishments exist in Maine.

>End Rant<
Good post Irfox,
My points about fine dining were made in an effort to introduce to the OP the fact there are many more choices in and around the Greater Portland area (pointed to as their possible settling area) than flipping burgers at a diner or working in a fast food joint.
I agree with you on the perception aspect as well. I have had some remarkably bland experiences in so called 5 star establishments while being pleasantly suirprized in small un-rated (perhaps under rated) family style restaurants. The OP's fiance is trained as a sous chef and it seemed she was getting less than encouraging tips about the state of dining in Maine from people who seldom if ever dine in an upscale establishment. My effort was simply to point out that not everyone eats at Mel's diner in Maine for the blue plate special! No offense to Duncan Donuts either Russ ( DD is one of my bad habits!...I have several) I was simply making the point there were Many options around here and not to be discouraged by the previous posts.

I'll also bend on the Fore Street Restaurant as being the finest restaurant north of Boston by adding it is ONE of the finest restaurants north of Boston!

Fore Street had been rated 5 stars in the past though I will agree with your 4+ star rating as it lacks the opulence, elegance and attention to detail of true 5 star dining.
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Pittsfield, Maine
160 posts, read 334,220 times
Reputation: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineah View Post
Good post Irfox,
No offense to Duncan Donuts either Russ ( DD is one of my bad habits!...I have several) I was simply making the point there were Many options around here and not to be discouraged by the previous posts.
No offense taken. I got where you were coming from.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
7,991 posts, read 16,045,518 times
Reputation: 9332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineah View Post
Good post Irfox,
My points about fine dining were made in an effort to introduce to the OP the fact there are many more choices in and around the Greater Portland area (pointed to as their possible settling area) than flipping burgers at a diner or working in a fast food joint.
This point was the primary reason for my response... it's dead on. I may have gotten a BIT carried away with the rest of the response, but I think it was a good point and an important one to make.

Also, I would agree that Fore St. is at least one of the two best North of the Boston area. I think it's a tossup with Blue Sky in York. Blue Sky is the first Maine endeavor from Boston celebrity chef, Lydia Shire of Locke-Ober fame (and other Boston Greats). The menu is fantastic. My cousin was a sous-chef there for a while before moving on to bigger things. Here's the link if you're interested: http://www.blueskyonyorkbeach.com/. I know York Beach is a hike for most on this forum, but it's SO worth it to experience Shire's culinary creations.
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Southwestern Ohio
4,112 posts, read 5,837,164 times
Reputation: 1620
Welcome, sms... I'm just jealous that you're going to beat us up. It's been a dream of ours since 2003 only 5-10 more years to go!!
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,162 posts, read 5,691,637 times
Reputation: 3286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
Here's another thought, and perhaps not a cheerful one. Go to Maine business community and news - mainebusiness.com That will give you some other information especially the article about how Fairchild Semiconductor, one of Portland's largest employers...is laying of 1100 workers. That is just one employer in the area. How many more do you suppose are laying off people?

THINK about that: eleven hundred workers in a city whose population is less than 70,000, and the surrounding area has a population of less than 200,000.

Receipts in the restaurant business here in Maine right now are running TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT below last year. Worse still, the gross receipts in the grocery business are ALSO 25% below last year.

Make no mistake: Maine needs young intelligent people to help the state into the future. But make NO worse mistake: Maine is a very small economiy, highly seasonal, and it is taking a pounding during this recession just like the rest of the nation.

Be prepared for very tough times, and IF there are jobs for you and your fiance, you had better get here fast, and pound the bricks HARD because you will have a lot more competition than you can possibly imagine.


Alot of the boat yards around have, or are laying off people. The rest are just getting by.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:44 AM
 
8,760 posts, read 16,448,227 times
Reputation: 3491
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinB View Post
Alot of the boat yards around have, or are laying off people. The rest are just getting by.
It doesn't affect the yacht crowd but if fuel costs stay low you'll see a much higher demand for mid price range runabouts and small cruisers. People have been very reluctant to pay $500.00 to fill up a boat fuel tank in order to cruise the bay for just a weekend. If they can fill the tank for $150.00 there will be alot more people on the water this summer and the bays and boat yards will be busy places once more!
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: 43.55N 69.58W
3,231 posts, read 6,666,617 times
Reputation: 2972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineah View Post
It doesn't affect the yacht crowd but if fuel costs stay low you'll see a much higher demand for mid price range runabouts and small cruisers. People have been very reluctant to pay $500.00 to fill up a boat fuel tank in order to cruise the bay for just a weekend. If they can fill the tank for $150.00 there will be alot more people on the water this summer and the bays and boat yards will be busy places once more!
Very true Maineah. So, when are you going out to buy yours? I'm thinkin' we'll need one this summer! I'll split the gas, but only if I get to drive the boat too! Let's see $150 per day x 7 days divided by 2!

Crap, looks like I'm gonna hafta to get a damn job again!
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:53 AM
 
8,760 posts, read 16,448,227 times
Reputation: 3491
Quote:
Originally Posted by island mermaid View Post
Very true Maineah. So, when are you going out to buy yours? I'm thinkin' we'll need one this summer! I'll split the gas, but only if I get to drive the boat too! Let's see $150 per day x 7 days divided by 2!

Crap, looks like I'm gonna hafta to get a damn job again!
That's funny... I was just telling DW we needed another boat and she said the same thing....get a job! I do miss having a boat though we had a blast with ours. We had a boat of some kind for about the first 18 years we were married. It was the kids who decided they had had enough of island beaches, lobster cookouts and fishing the bay for stripers and bluefish! They wanted to apend more time on dry land with their friends. So we sold the boat just before gas went out of sight...glad we did too! But now with gas coming down I'd like to get another maybe 20 foot center console with about a 150HP engine on it and an 80 gallon fuel tank, live well, washdown pump,trim tabs, stainless rails,high freeboard, rod holders ,ice chests, fish/depth finder, GPS,Vhf radio, and a removeable top. Oh yeah and a nice tandem trailer to haul and store it on.

Last edited by Maineah; 12-14-2008 at 11:02 AM..
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