ELLSWORTH — When we harken back to childhood comfort food, an English muffin topped with a smear of sauce and melted cheese is a tradition for many. Its staying power comes partly from its simplicity — three ingredients that are easily thrown together. And, they take just minutes to bake in a toaster oven.
While seldom considered grown-up fare, personal experience has shown that as an adult, the soft and gooey snack still hits all the right buttons. And, in a pandemic winter, pushing English muffin pizzas into the spotlight seems, like … why not? Especially when local chefs will be spinning their culinary magic in creating them.
Chefs of Maine is holding Ellsworth’s first English muffin pizza contest from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, at Provender. But Provender chef Daron Goldstein is not giving out hints of what his own take on the comfort food classic will taste like.
“It’s chefs getting together, having some fun,” he said. “And it’s just a way for people to come out safely and have a good time. Who doesn’t like English muffin pizza?”
Signed up so far are Goldstein and chefs from Blaze Bangor and Josie’s Country Store and Café, with more to come.
“It’s basically going to be an English muffin throwdown,” Goldstein said.
Provender is not only host of Chefs of Maine’s first live event — Goldstein is also behind the organization.
“Chefs of Maine is a platform that provides coverage of the whole local culinary scene,” he said. “It’s a listing for local restaurants, listing of local events, for anyone who wants to go out and dine and they’re not too sure where to go or what’s happening that night.”
Goldstein started Chefs of Maine about 18 months ago, with a partner handling the chefsofmaine.com website.
“This is something that’s been on the back burner for years,” Goldstein said. “We’re really connecting the whole ecosystem of diners, restauranteurs, breweries. It’s like a one-stop shop for everyone who wants to know what’s happening in the industry.”
Chefs of Maine lists not only the hours and service of dozens and dozens of restaurants but also for bakeries, farms, breweries and caterers. It also lists industry job openings, events, reviews, Q & As with Maine chefs and, naturally, Chefs of Maine merchandise.
The site has gained traction since its inception, with up to 10,000 page views daily and 400 entries from across the state, Goldstein said.
The in-person English muffin pizza contest is the first event Chefs of Maine has sponsored. Anyone with a yen to taste a few spins on the childhood specialty is welcome to attend. No reservations are required: just $10 and an appetite. And the winner’s prize? A giant picture of an English muffin. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Ellsworth.
For more info, visit eatprovender.com and chefsofmaine.com.