Chef Melissa Kelly is the first guest of new food series

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 8:30am

Story Location:
2 Theater Street
Damariscotta  Maine  04544
United States

Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater is pleased to announce the first event in its latest free programming series, “Talking Food in Maine: Intimate Conversations.” Building on the success of the theater’s “Talking Art in Maine” program, “Talking Food” audiences will explore Maine’s culinary scene through personal one-on-one conversations between host Cherie Scott and special guests from across the state. The very first guest on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. is none other than Melissa Kelly, the executive chef and proprietor of Primo - the Rockland restaurant renowned for its "full-circle kitchen" philosophy.

Kelly grew up on Long Island and spent countless hours in her Italian grandmother’s kitchen. After studying business at the State University of New York and University of Maine, Kelly’s kitchen inclinations and curiosity led her to the Culinary Institute of America, where she graduated with honors. She continued her training at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and eventually returned to New York to work for iconic Chef Larry Forgione at An American Place. Becoming a trusted colleague of Forgione, she earned the executive chef position at Beekman 1766 Tavern and later was placed in charge of opening An American Place Waterside in Miami and assisted in the opening of An American Place in Japan.

It was when Kelly made the move out West to work at Chez Panisse that she truly came into her own. Working with Alice Waters, she realized that simplicity, seasonality, and freshness were what mattered to her most. Kelly took this mentality and applied it to her career and travels from Denver to Barbados, the south of France, and back to New York where Kelly earned her first James Beard Award in 1999, running the kitchen at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn in the Hudson Valley. In 2000, Kelly opened Primo on a 4½-acre farm in Rockland. More than a decade later, the accolades and the guests are still coming in droves. And, in 2013, Kelly became the first two-time recipient of the James Beard “Best Chef, Northeast” award.

The host of “Talking Food in Maine,” Cherie Scott, was born in Mumbai but now calls Maine her home. In 2015, she launched her culinary blog,, to share her signature recipes and nostalgic anecdotes of her youth in Mumbai while also celebrating the beauty of Maine and its gastronomic talent. Scott is the creator and host of Mumbai to Maine's six-part television series in development with award-winning director Ryan Leighton and cinematographer Cody Mitchell. Scott recently curated a six-part culinary series on regional Indian cuisine offered exclusively at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School in York, Maine.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join in an intimate conversation with Melissa Kelly and Cherie Scott. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  

And mark your calendars for the other inaugural season guests: Kerry Altiero of Café Miranda - Thursday, Oct. 24; Kathy Gunst, author and resident chef of NPR’s Here and Now - Thursday, Nov. 21; Leigh Kellis of the Holy Donut - Thursday, Feb.13;  and Luke Holden and Ben Conniff, co-founders of Luke’s Lobster - Thursday, March 12;.

The “Talking Food in Maine: Intimate Conversation” series is free to all and one of over 60 free events offered to the community throughout the year by Lincoln Theater.