Creating Community Through Fresh Farm-to-Table Dinners in a Historic Architectural Setting
A few evenings each summer, the Normandy- style Stone Barn at Sebago Lake throws open its doors and serves a six-course meal boasting the vibrant tastes of the season’s local harvest. After visiting local farms and fishermen to source the freshest ingredients, Chefs Mary Paine and Richard Fields craft an exquisite meal.
Guests may find our chefs chopping herbs, grilling halibut or legs of lamb, or whipping fresh cream. The bounty of local meats, sustainable seafood, and seasonal produce is served on long, hand-crafted maple tables under soaring turn-of-the-century timbers.
We look forward to welcoming you to this unique culinary experience that creates community and celebrates sustainability.
Upcoming Dinner Dates
Leading up to each dinner, our chefs visit local farms to see what is available to create a meal tailored to the best ingredients locally available on the day of each dinner.
Focus will be placed on using the bounty of local meats, sustainable seafood and seasonal produce. The featured fare below inspires the 6 course meal that will be presented at each dinner.
Mark your calendar for our 2019 dinner series! Registration will open in December.
The $100 per person fee includes six-course dinner, all beverages (specialty cocktails, wine, after-dinner drink, local brews, and non-alcoholic beverages), and gratuity.
Learn about our chefs and order tickets by clicking on one of the dates above or by calling Victoria Amaro (207) 893-6693.
Parking information: When arriving for the event, there will be signage directing guests on where to park, which will be located across the street from The Stone Barn at the entrance to Saint Joseph's College. Shuttles will be available for transporting guests back and forth.
About the Chefs
It is 6:42 a.m. and Mary is sifting wheat flour and chopping roots for a corn beef hash, awaiting the hungry cue that will start forming outside the door of the Good Egg Cafe any minute. This is the kitchen where Mary first started dabbling in “scratch” cooking, a family-owned cafe that stole the hearts and bellies of many Portlanders in the early 80’s. The Good Egg was a rebellious and revolutionary café in the Portland food scene at the time. A diner yes, but far from your run of the mill greasy spoon. Mary’s older brother and sister owned the joint, with the vision of a breakfast place that would source only the highest quality ingredients and never open up a can of hash—it was farm-to-table prior to the trendy turn of phrase. Mary quickly worked her way up the ranks of the kitchen and was soon running the bakery operation while simultaneously working in horticulture at the established wholesale greenhouse in town. The combination of working with the soil and feeding the masses struck a chord with Mary, and it stuck.
Mary’s knack for fresh ingredients and her praised English muffins soon spread throughout town and she was asked to join the kitchen at the Pepperclub—the acclaimed Portland restaurant which focused on local vegetarian fare—where she stayed for 25 years, eventually becoming head chef and owner of the establishment. Equally attracted to hospitality and cooking, Mary worked both the front and back of the house during her Pepperclub years, and continues to believe that hosting community and preparing quality food go hand-in-hand.
Since her Portland days, Mary has worked on three of Maine’s islands, most recently North Haven Island, where she was at the helm of Nebo Lodge’s kitchen and the Turner Farm Barn Suppers. Twice a week Mary would cook for 70 guests with Chef Amanda Hollowell, turning Turner Farm’s weekly harvest into a five-course feast that would draw people from small mid-coast towns and sprawling Manhattan burrows alike. It is typical to spot Mary chatting with guests about the cut of lamb that she had prepared or running into the field to get the freshest dill she can serve on any given occasion. Whatever the venue or community, Mary has always put fresh ingredients and welcoming hospitality into the heart of her meals.
The ocean continues to inspire Richard Fields, whose specialty in seafood stems from his upbringing on Cape Cod. “I especially love creating one pan dishes—anything I can sauté,” he said. Whether searing scallops or garnishing haddock, Richard pays attention to the fine details of each course. He was drawn to Saint Joseph’s by its commitment to “made from scratch” cooking and he enjoys being able to feature local farmers, craftsmen, and artisans “who take so much pride in what they produce,” he said.
Prior to joining Saint Joseph’s, Richard worked for Pineland Farms in Gray, cooking for their café, weddings, cocktail hours, and other special events. He also worked at Thornton Oaks, a retirement community in Brunswick where the residents were very appreciative of his meals. “They would sit in a circle and chit chat and I’d come around with a tray of muffins. There was a lot of job satisfaction there.”
Richard’s appreciation for cooking first began during childhood with English-style family suppers at his grandmother’s house. He credits his grandmother’s cooking and his mother’s artistic talent as major influences in his career path, which officially began in his teenage years. After working in a dish room, learning prep work, and manning the grill station at restaurants in Harwich for over a decade, he attended culinary school at Newbury College in Brookline, Massachusetts. Exposure to Boston’s culinary scene elevated his knowledge and skillset, which helped with his next position at the rapid-paced Paddock Restaurant in Hyannis, Massachusetts. It was located right in front of the Cape Cod Melody Tent, a performing arts space with big-name acts like Tony Bennett, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Beach Boys. Richard remembered, “You had to be fast and you had to be good!”
Through a seasonal gig cooking French cuisine in Vermont, Richard met his wife, Patti, and after a few ski bum winters they chose to uproot to Portland. Richard spent about nine years catering with Canteen Service Company before joining the staff at Pineland Farms. He and Patti now reside in Gray with their two sons, Harrison and Spencer, who love sports and recreational skiing. “They keep me active!” he said. In his spare time, Richard grows a small batch of hops at his house and brews his own beer. He also recently learned how to play the ukulele.