Food Network Star to take chef position in Rockland

Michele Ragussis – known to Food Network fans as one of the finalists on the current season of “Food Network Star,” and a featured chef on both “Chopped” and “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” (which she won) – is taking her talents to Maine this summer. Ragussis will be the executive chef at The Pearl Restaurant in Rockland, located at the end of a 250-foot pier in Rockland’s harbor. Ragussis’ arrival in town means that Rockland will now have two restaurants that feature two chefs that have worked with Bobby Flay – Lynn Archer of the Brass Compass and Archers won a “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” for her lobster club sandwich, and Ragussis was picked by Bobby Flay to be on his team on “Food Network Star.”

The Pearl – open since 2010, in the former location of The Black Pearl Restaurant, which burned down in 2004 – serves fresh, locally-sourced Maine seafood in a variety of ways. Ragussis, a self-proclaimed lover of all things New England, has been posting on her Facebook page about how excited she is to be moving to the Midcoast for the summer. The Pearl opens for the season this week.

Food Network’s bio of Ragussis reads as follows:

Michele Ragussis, 42 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), grew up in an Italian/Greek family where food was, and still is, a big part of their lives. She fell in love with the New England lifestyle and cuisine when she moved to Rhode Island to attend college. After deciding that hands-on restaurant experience was more valuable to her than attending classes, Michele went on to spend 15 years in executive chef positions. Her distinctive tattoos and piercings may look intimidating, but Michele’s personality is warm, relaxed and fun.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.