PORTLAND, Maine — Got kitchen envy? Do six-burner vintage stoves painted in shiny hues make you go all dewy eyed?
Well then, this weekend, there’s a tour for you. Food will be served, and it’s for a good cause.
The second annual Portland Kitchen Tour, Friday and Saturday, is a self-guided romp through Portland’s grandest and most designed homes. Proceeds will go to The Center for Grieving Children.
“We have five great kitchens. Some of what we consider to be the best chefs and bakers in the area,” said tour organizer Marcy Boynton. “It’s nice to see the chefs and bakers cooking because it shows what a true working kitchen looks like.”
South Portland caterer Nancy Cerny will whip up pickled beef tostadas paired with carbonated strawberry margaritas.
“Pickled anything is big right now,” said Cerny.
But which kitchen she will cook in is a surprise. In fact, most kitchens on the tour are not announced until Friday.
“That’s part of the fun,” said Boynton.
Last week, Cerny prepared a Mother’s Day meal at a Western Promenade mansion that’s on the tour (and on the market). The dramatic, historic home, designed by New York architect William Lawrence Bottomley, is reason enough to embark on this excursion.
“Cooking in a kitchen like this is amazing. If you look around, there is copper everywhere. It’s my dream kitchen,” said Cerny, impressed with the multiple oven spaces and slate counter tops.
A sweeping entrance gives way to an updated butler pantry with a built in lobster steamer.
Beyond the stately halls, a modern farmhouse kitchen awaits.
Amid high ceilings, built-in cabinets and a handsome Heartland stove, the chef whipped up a spring-time brunch.
“People are learning how to cook again,” said Cerny, mixing the ingredients for a ricotta torte.
Spring peas, lemon and mint gave the crustless pie a savory and light, airy texture.
Skillet chocolate chip cookies, easy for children and dads to pull off, came next.
Cerny who specializes in weddings at The CVC Catering Group says cooking is back.
“We’ve spent a lot of time outside kitchens for a number of years, since husbands and wives were both working,” said Cerny. “I think they are cooking more often.”
That means kitchens functioning as the hearth of the home also have returned. This tour is geared to give homeowners endless inspiration.
“People live in their kitchens. They come in at the end of a long day, and this is where it all ends,” said Boynton. “It’s the most important room in the house.”
One kitchen on this year’s tour was important enough to make it to the Super Bowl.
Local filmmakers Liz and Gregg Ferguson of Current Motion used Jessica Meehan’s kitchen in two commercials for CU-Promise Loans.
The modern look of the Portlander’s 100 year-old home is the result of a total renovation.
“The scope of the project exploded, and we ended up performing a full-gut of the home. We also felt like we were living in a remake of the 1986 Tom Hanks renovation comedy, ‘The Money Pit,’” she said in a prepared statement.
Step into her sleek, light-filled kitchen, and the word pit is the last thing that comes to mind.
Each stop on the tour includes a local chef making appetizers and refreshers. Kitchens across the city are featured in this self-guided tour.
Come hungry for the latest design and food trends. And while you’re at it, bring your mom.
Portland’s Kitchen Tour is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Purchase tickets and start the tour at Mercy Fore River, 175 Fore River Parkway, in Portland. For information, visit mainekitchentours.com.
Beef Pickled Tostada
Small fried corn tortillas
1/2 # seared sirloin
1 quart of your favorite pickling juice, add a tsp of toasted ground cumin
1 avocado diced
1 clam shell micro greens
2 small garden fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled queso freso
1 heart of palm shaved
Sear your steak and dice to 3/8 inch marinate for 1 hour in pickle juice and cumin.
Then assemble starting with a slice of tomato, micro greens, avocado, pickled beef, and shaved heart of palm ….. enjoy