Interview With Peter Berley; Presenter at Two Harvest on the Harbor Cooking Workshops

Peter Berley, James Beaard Foundation Book Award Winner for "The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen"

Peter Berley, James Beaard Foundation Book Award Winner for "The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen"

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 310)

Peter Berley has already been honored with one James Beard Award for a cookbook and perhaps there will be another one in the future – that is when he finds the time to complete it – he’s a busy man; between his heavy teaching responsibilities in New York City and appearances at galas like this weekends Harvest on the Harbor, finding writing time is not easy.

In an exclusive interview held at Rabelais Book Store, Peter generously took the time with MHN to suggest some ways in which cooks can improve their cooking:  don’t buy food out of season because you will lose its flavor, the cost will be more and because of the addition of fossil fuels involved; don’t boil meats, beans and other sources of protein – gently simmer them;  people should taste food as they cook it.  Another tip he offered was – don’t buy food from people you don’t know!  In fact, he believes in that so strongly, it’s the theme of the book he’s currently working on.

Peter grew up in NYC surrounded by good cooks. His mother used to plop him down in front of the tv to watch the Julia Child cooking show.  (Perhaps that’s partly why he did such a good imiation of her at the first workshop he conducted on Friday afternoon – he conducted a second workshop on Saturday afternoon)  He attended the Berkley School of Music in Boston with the intention of pursuing a musical career in compostion/piano.  However, the cooking genes won him over in the end.   

While in Portland, Peter ate at Street & Co. and Fore Street Restaurants.  He also said that Allagash Beer is his favorite Maine beer!

“Down East” magazine and Hannaford Brothers were co-sponsors of the event.  Harmon’s and Barton’s supplied the floral arrangements.