Frances Stead Sellers of The Washington Post talks to chef and entrepreneur Cara Stadler and COA trustee Michael Boland ’94 about running restaurants in Maine in College of the Atlantic’s 2021 Summer Institute: Good Food and Food Fights.

Maine’s celebrated food scene—built on local farms, craft breweries, fresh seafood, and a culture that values tradition and experimentation—has attracted scores of foodies and put our state on the culinary map. But what does it take to keep the vibrant restaurant scene alive in Maine? Frances Stead Sellers of The Washington Post talks to Cara Stadler, chef and entrepreneur of Maine restaurants Bao Bao, Tao Yuan, ZaoZe, and Canopy Farms, and COA trustee Michael Boland ’94, owner of local MDI-area favorites Havana, Islesford Dock, and Copita about the challenges of running restaurants in a rural state with a small and seasonal population. How has COVID-19 affected the labor market and dining experience? What kind of changes should we anticipate for the future—more automation, more subcontractors or gig workers? Sellers also dives into the tipped minimum wage and Cara’s experience of scrapping—and later reinstating—the tipped wage at her restaurants.

College of the Atlantic’s Summer Institute is a week-long ideas festival that welcomes leaders from around the world to share their expertise and thoughts on the most pressing issues of our time. This year’s theme will be Good Food and Food Fights. During the week, we will explore all aspects of food—production, policy, climate change, food justice, hunger, organics, nutrition, and the joy of eating and cooking.

All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please note that there is an option to join in person or virtually for every session.

Please email Wes Norton ( or call 207-801-5627 for more information.