A Best Chef Finds a Place in the Maine Culinary Scene
When Steve Corry and his wife first came to Maine about ten years ago, they thought they detected early signs “of something that would blossom into a major culinary scene,” he says. “But what’s happened is almost unbelievable—not just at restaurants, but with the farmers and the farmers’ markets, the cheese makers, so many more. The whole thing is growing into something better than you’d find even in Boston.”
He’s thrilled to be part of it all and honored to have been named a “Best New Chef in the U.S.” in 2007 by the prestigious Food & Wine Magazine.
Originally from Hingham, Mass., Corry got his start in the food world by washing dishes and cleaning lettuce at restaurants on Boston’s South Shore. He began his professional life as a beer maker and came to Portland with plans to open a brewpub nearby. But a stint at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont led him to set his sights on “creative cuisine—something on the cutting edge but still approachable.”
555 Offers Creative Cuisine with New England Flavor
After working at Domain Chandon in Napa, Calif., as well as Grisini’s and the White Barn Inn in Maine, he and his wife decided in 2003 to open their own restaurant, 555 Congress Street. Corry describes his cooking style there as “new New England—local products, familiar ingredients but with a new twist.”
He’s especially proud of his snails braised in chorizo butter with green garlic, and his pickled beech mushrooms in a chive-flecked puff pastry. “I’ve been shocked by how well they went over,” he says.
“What’s happening in Maine is not just a trend or a fad. It’s a movement with deep roots. It’s staggering, really.”