Two Maine chefs have been nominated in the category of Best Chef New England for Food & Wine Magazine’s annual People’s Best competition – Amanda Hallowell of the Nebo Lodge on North Haven, and Geoffroy Deconinck of Natalie’s at the Camden Harbor Inn. The competition is a reader vote that covers ten different areas around the country, from chefs of all stripes. The two Maine chefs, Deconinck and Hallowell, are pretty different in style and surroudings. Hallowell makes creative, locally sourced comfort food at her casual island restaurant, while Deconinck makes French-inspired haute cuisine in a gorgeous hotel dining room. Which one will you vote for? Well, it’s entirely up to you, after all — if you’ve eaten at either, you know they’re both excellent dining options.
The two chefs are currently lagging behind the other chefs on the list, mostly from the Boston area and from Providence — so come on, Mainers, show your people some love! Voting ends on Sunday! Below are the comments both Deconinck and Hallowell made to Food & Wine about their background, their respective training and experience, their restaurants, their techniques and their personal food passions. Read on, and this summer, if you’re in the Midcoast, take a chance and try one of their restaurants. If Food & Wine is to be believed, you’re in for a real treat.