Maine course, with lots of sides – Knox County VillageSoup

LINCOLNVILLE – He knew. From an early age Frank Giglio of Lincolnville knew he would be a leader. What he didn’t know was how far he would go, criss-crossing the county on an odyssey of professional development that turned into personal discovery.

Today, he is the classically trained chef of Ararat Farms in Lincolnville. Giglio’s culinary focus is on sustainable cooking. Eating responsibly and well is his main course. However, Frank Giglio has a lot of sides.

While his current job has him filling plates, his career in the kitchen began with him cleaning them.

“My dad told me that if I wanted to get a driver’s license, I had to get a job,” Giglio explained. “I had a bunch of friends doing the dishes in a nursing home, so I went to work there.”

As he worked, Giglio’s attention was drawn to the activity of the chef and to every aspect of the kitchen.

“I knew they were cooking really basic food,” Giglio said, “but I thought it would be something really cool to do.”

He washed dishes for a year before taking a job at the USS Chowder Pot, a popular seafood restaurant in Giglio’s hometown of Branford, Connecticut. The Chowder Pot provided a large part of Giglio’s cooking program.

“I started in the breading room frying fish,” he said. “Very quickly, I was moving all over the kitchen doing morning prep, learning the steaming and pasta stations. It was a fast-paced environment. On a summer Saturday, we were doing 1,000 (meal) with a wait of four or five hours.

At that time, Giglio was working 30 hours a week at the Chowder Pot while in high school. To increase his cooking skills, he took a part-time job at another restaurant where he learned stir-frying techniques. As college approached, he chose to attend the New England Culinary School in Montpelier, Vermont. Accepted into the institute before the start of his senior year in high school, Giglio focused on his budding career.

“I knew I was going to NECS, so I took two nutrition courses in my senior year,” he said. “It was what I knew best, so I thought I’d get through it.”

The culinary school provided a variety of hands-on experience in food identification, preparation and storage. NECS cooking students were also tasked with providing cafeteria meals for other students throughout the day.

“It was so much that I didn’t know before,” Giglio said. “Now I was completely immersed in all of these other aspects of running a kitchen.”

Giglio spent the summer in Portland, Oregon, on a hotel cooking apprenticeship before returning for his senior year at the institute where he learned to eat more refined food and cut meat. This last skill almost guided him on another path.

“I thought I would be a butcher,” Giglio said. “It interested me, but the idea of ​​working in a supermarket, it was not something that interested me.”

Instead, he went on a summer apprenticeship in Boston at Olives, an upscale restaurant that has since closed, where he was challenged and inspired by the daily workload. At the same time, the Food Network was turning chefs into superstars.

“That’s when the food scene really started to take off,” Giglio said. “That’s when I really knew I wanted to be a restaurant chef.”

The summer in Boston also ignited Giglio’s spirit of adventure. He started buying gear, hiking, backpacking, fishing, and reading about the outdoor lifestyle. After reading “Into the Wild”, he decided to combine the two passions and went to work as a chef at a fishing lodge in Alaska. With nearly all of his professional work seasonal in nature, he took jobs in Connecticut and Telluride, Colorado. At this point, her cooking started to be a means to an end.

“During that time I was working to support all the things I wanted to do outside,” he said. “I was mountain biking, rock climbing and cooking helped me be outdoors.”

At the same time, Giglio began exploring a healthier lifestyle and took a job at a Food Works cafe that only served vegetarian meals. Accustomed to putting meat on a plate, Giglio began to read everything he could find on vegetarian cuisine.

“I went through the store’s library,” he said, “and studied veganism and the vegetarian lifestyle. I continued to experiment with many different dietary principles.

In 2006, Giglio participated in Expo West, a convention for cooperative vendors from across the food industry. There, he read a book about eating raw foods and veganism. The book inspired him to become a vegan. Over the next few years, he apprenticed and then taught at a vegan restaurant in Arizona, while running road races.

Giglio married in 2009 and moved to an off-grid house in Thorndike a year later. There he started thinking about the idea of ​​a sustainable kitchen.

“It was a dream house,” Giglio said. “There was a spring-fed pond and lots of fruit and nut trees. I started thinking about where my food comes from and supporting local farms. I also started foraging and searching for wild food. I was completely dedicated to knowing where my food came from.

Over the next 10 years, Giglio worked on a succession of cooking gigs, including a pop-up dinner party, wrote several cookbooks, and taught classes. At the same time, their home, now named 3 Lily Farm, was doing business in an online storefront. Giglio taught cooking classes in their kitchen for attendees camping away from home.

While he enjoyed teaching people to cook, Giglio missed cooking for people. The online showcase experience also bore him as he raised two young boys, Sunny and Wilder.

In 2019, he took a job at Ararat Farms in Lincolnville and, along with a colleague, approached the owner to prepare food using resources available on the farm and from his foraging trips. Giglio would cook meals and take them to Ararat’s farm stall, while taking prepared meals to Belfast on Saturdays to sell at a stall at Maine’s United Farmers Market.

Her prepared meals are very popular and are selling out quickly at a stand that has grown in size over the past year.

His plans for the future involve several ingredients.

“I would like to be like a guide and take people out into the field to hunt, fish or forage for food,” Giglio said, “and then bring them back to a place and teach them how to cook that food.”

For now, he’s the sought-after chef whose meals are available at the Farmer’s Market or Ararat Farms.

“He’s an incredibly talented chef and human being,” said Paul Naron, manager of United Farmers Market of Maine. “We are incredibly lucky to have him.”

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