Benefit tour shows off six fantastic Maine kitchens

Posted Sept. 20, 2011, at 3:26 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 20, 2011, at 6:16 p.m.

The seventh annual Eastern Maine Medical Center Auxiliary Kitchen Tour is set for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at six fabulous home kitchens in Bangor, Orono and Old Town. A $25 ticket gets you on the tour, gourmet snacks and beverages and knowing you’re helping out folks in need at EMMC. The BDN talked to all six homeowners about their kitchens and why they’re special.

Gary and Denise Sullivan, Old Town

When was your kitchen built? We built the house and moved in October 2002. [We installed] new counters about a month ago. We originally had laminate counters and just put in the soapstone and the bar sink.

What’s your favorite part? My cupboards. They all have pull-outs, built-in spice racks, recycle bins, deep drawers. My husband would say the soapstone counter, no doubt.

What’s your favorite family event or dish to make? We just love to cook, and a roomy kitchen is something we knew we wanted. One side is set up for preparing baked recipes while the other is for cooking. When our children and their families come over there is plenty of room for everyone to cook or help out. The living room is right next to the kitchen so everyone can interact. Our grandson calls the pantry the grocery store.

What makes a warm, inviting kitchen? Make your kitchen a reflection of who you are, then fill it with family, friends, food and cheer. The kitchen truly is the heart of our home.

Wayne and Brenda Jackson, Old Town

When was your kitchen built? Our kitchen was built in 2000, right along with our new home.

What’s your favorite part? We really weren’t sure if we could afford to go with the granite countertops, but knew that we wanted to have Maine granite in our home. After much debate, and looking at prices, we decided that we should get what we really wanted while we were building our home. After all, we both love to cook and entertain with family and friends.

Favorite event or dish? Our favorite dish to make is a good old-fashioned baked bean supper! It is a favorite of my Mom and Dad’s as well as my in-laws. I use my aunt’s recipe and my old bean pot. We have side dishes of potato salad, homemade yeast rolls, red hot dogs, pickles and Boston cream pie for dessert. Our favorite family event is Thanksgiving. Everyone from both sides of the family chip in to help with the desserts while we do all the main dishes. We usually serve at least 20 people.

What makes a warm, inviting kitchen? The most important element to having a warm, inviting kitchen is cleanliness, light, color, easily maneuvered and, of course, the delicious smells of food cooking. The people in the room supply the warmth as well.

Ann Marie Orr, Bangor

When was your kitchen built? My kitchen was built last year (2010). It’s a commercial kitchen for my business. My husband and I designed it and then we had all kinds of folks come in and install different parts. It’s amazing. I love it.

What’s your favorite part? I love the sunlight that comes in, and the view. It looks out onto the Audubon preserve. It’s gorgeous. I also have a beautiful piece of antique stained glass that I love. I also just love that it’s big and commercial grade!

What’s your favorite event to have? My favorite one that I do is my after-Christmas party, where people just come over and relax. It’s really fun. I just did a harvest party, too, where we cooked squash. I love cooking dinner for small groups. Dining with friends is the best.

What makes a warm, inviting kitchen? When it’s used. You can tell when someone is in their kitchen, and it’s full of love and joy. It’s easy to tell when the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Bob and Judy Commeau, Orono

When was your kitchen built? Our kitchen was built four years ago.

What’s your favorite part? I have a large collection of spices, and before I moved into this kitchen, it was hard to find a place to have them arranged. I just love my spice drawer. We have a large island in our kitchen and our top drawer in the island is over 3 feet wide with a rack. My spices are laid out nicely in alphabetical order, and I can just reach in and grab them.

What’s your favorite event or dish? Making pizza because that’s a favorite dish for everyone, and when we have company and family over, everyone is involved, sitting around putting in their two cents and favorite toppings.

What makes a warm, inviting kitchen? We always have snacks. Under the spice drawer, the bottom drawer we call the “snack bin,” and as soon as people come in, I open that drawer and pull out cookies I’ve made or candies and other snacks. It’s always available because [the island] is the first place for people to plunk.

Chet and Pauline Rock, Orono

When was your kitchen built? It’s a 1930s house and the kitchen was remodeled in the ’80s. We bought the house in 2005 and remodeled the kitchen in 2010.

What’s your favorite part? I love all of it so much, but we put in a really nice big kitchen window and I love my island. It’s a nice big island we can all sit around, and it’s a great space to prepare meals and to gather with friends and family.

What’s your favorite event or dish? I’m Italian, and I do a lot of Italian cooking. I love to make homemade pizzas, stews and soups. I have a really nice gas stove that cooks really well. I like to make good pasta dishes, spaghetti and meatballs. And my family comes up from the Boston area for Thanksgiving.

What makes a warm, inviting kitchen? It’s just got to have a personality. It’s got to have charm. It can’t be a kitchen just for looks; it has to be a working kitchen. My kitchen shows that I love to cook and it’s set up for a cook … There are also big windows and nice recessed lighting, and plenty of room for people to hang out and not get in the way — and also enough room to help out.

Deanna Dorsey and Brad Waddell, Bangor

When was your kitchen built? It was finished last year. We just moved in last summer, and it’s a brand new house.

What’s your favorite part? I like the granite island and I also like the lightness of my kitchen — I love the color. The island is very functional as well as beautiful, with lots of storage, too.

What’s your favorite event or dish? I’m no great cook, but you know, the best event is when the four of us [her family] sit down for a family dinner. It’s a busy house with a high schooler and middle schooler. And when we can’t all eat together, I’m so glad we put in a warming drawer.

What makes a warm, inviting kitchen? For me, the color scheme. Ours is very warm looking. It’s a buttery vanilla color — creme brulee — a creamy color. The cabinets are light, just like the walls.

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