Super Regional - The Portland Culinary Experience

Header (5).jpg

The New England and New York/Philly Metro Regions have joined forces to host an in-depth cultural and culinary event in Portland, Maine from April 28th through April 30th, 2023.

Portland, Maine represents a region rich in natural and man-made resources. Known for its world-class lobster, fresh seafood, craft breweries, craft coffee, potato donuts, and rising chefs, it’s an under-tapped epicenter of creativity and innovation. When traveling to Portland, many focus on finding the area’s quintessential staple: The “lobstah” roll, featuring fresh Maine lobster generously stuffed in a split-top New England-style buttered roll with warm butter or mayo. However, this is akin to visiting New York City just for bagels. Portland has gained much recognition over the past few years as a “Killer Food Scene” and “must-visit destination” by Todd Plummer of Boston Magazine on August 31, 2021, as well as being included in Vogue Magazine’s 2021 Travel Guide. 

Each morning will kick off with a continental breakfast followed by a series of educational presentations. We are honored to announce that the keynote speaker will be Cathy Nash Holley, Publisher/Editor in Chief for Flavor and The Menu Magazine. This event will also include The Portland Culinary Experiencefeaturing 5 of Portland’s finest restaurants serving small plates representative of their house specialties directly in the comfort of the hotel ballroom. Guests may sample from each establishment while interacting with the chefs to learn about the restaurant, its cuisine, and inspirations, delivering exposure to new ideas, tastes, trends, preparations, and regional ingredients. 

**Attendees of this event will earn 12 CE Points. After registering for this event, please reach out to New England's Regional Chair, Chef Susanna Tolini, CRC so she can send you the certificate after the event concludes.

Dates: Friday, April 28 - Sunday, April 30, 2023

Hotel: Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks (200 Sable Oaks Dr, South Portland, ME 04106)

Registration: RCA members $425.00
                       RCA student members $425.00
                       Non-members  $525.00

Schedule of Events:

  • Friday 3:00pm – 4:30pm Pre-con @ Allagash Brewery
  • Friday 5:00pm – 7:00pm Opening Reception at X Golf
  • Saturday 9:00am – 12:30pm Expert Speaking Seminars – including Keynote Speaker: Cathy Nash Holley from Flavor & The Menu
  • Saturday 1:00pm – 3:00pm Portland Culinary Experience featuring 5 locally renowned restaurants
  • Saturday 5:00pm – 8:00pm Lobster Boat Cruise with Casco Lines
  • Sunday 8:30am – 1:00pm Expert Speaking Seminars

Allagash Brewery Pre-con Information: At registration, perspective guests will have the option to add on the Allagash Brewery private tour with the RCA. This experience will cost an additional $50.00 per person and will be a fun way to mix, mingle and network with your RCA peers if you arrive to Portland earlier Friday, April 28th! 

Expert Speaker Seminars:

CathyHolley Resized.jpg

About our Keynote Speaker: Cathy Nash Holley is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief for Flavor & The Menu and President of The Flavor Experience as well as a local Portland, Maine resident. 

Modern Flavors of Maine | Steeped in a long history of iconic foods and beverages, Maine’s bustling bounty has helped further its status as a modern culinary destination, with the region’s restaurants garnering national media attention and scoring highly regarding rankings and awards. In this session, Maine resident and Flavor & The Menu publisher Cathy Nash Holley will highlight the modernized flavors and characteristics of Maine, extrapolating broader food and beverage trends and opportunities from Portland-area restaurants.

From Kitchen to Camera | Derrick Bissonnette. Owner, DB Photography

During this intimate discussion, Derrick will take us through his journey of how he transitioned his career being the chef at numerous successful restaurant into the world of food photography and styling. 

Securing Sustainable Taste: The Role of Vertical Farming in Food SecurityConnor Harbison. Founder, Atlas Farms

Atlas Urban Farms helps chefs deliver better, fresher meals by growing their own ingredients on-site. We design vertical farming systems that bring the whole food supply chain into any restaurant. Vertical farming uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture. Our modular systems simply need an outlet, so you can reduce your food’s journey from 1500 miles to 15 feet. By growing indoors, there’s no need for pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

University of Maine Food Science program discussion on Food Innovation, Research, and SeafoodDenise Skonberg Professor of Food Science & Robert Dumas, Food Science Innovation Coordinator & Facility Manager, University of Maine

The overall goal of the Seafood Lab’s research program is to apply food science principles to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the seafood sector. Fundamentally, it is about reducing waste, optimizing the use of valuable aquatic resources, and developing high quality & healthful seafood products.

Lobster 101: Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Know About Maine Lobster | Curt Brown. Marine Biologist, Ready Seafood

In this talk, we will explore all things lobster, “lobster Culinology. From harvesting to science to sustainability...and of course we will touch on some new innovative ways to enjoy delicious Maine lobster!

Finding Inspiration in a Time of Grain Innovation | Tristan Noyes. Executive Director, Maine Grain Alliance

Beginning with the first Kneading Conference in 2007, the Maine Grain Alliance has provided opportunities to learn and share how best to grow and use grains to thousands of individuals across the world. The Maine Grain Alliance promotes beneficial uses of grain for good health, food independence, and purposeful jobs within viable communities. The organization connects people and supports the economic, environmental, and nutritional importance for establishing regional grain economies. In his talk, Tristan will share inspiring stories of today’s passionate grain community, their successes and challenges, and how they have helped shepherd in a new era of organic collaboration across industries. 


Hotel Information & Reservations: Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks & Samoset Resort on the Ocean (200 Sable Oaks Dr, South Portland, ME 04106)


Guestroom reservations can be made by individual call-ins or by clicking here and typing in the code "RES"! All reservations must be made by Friday, March 17, 2023. In order to receive the preferred rates, for which you are contracted, individuals with telephone requests must identify themselves with the Research Chefs Association. Individuals need to call (888) 627-8401. Room block rate $169 per evening


Thank you to our generous sponsors who helped bring this event to life!

Platinum: AAK FoodserviceSartori Cheese

Gold: Del-Val, Culinary CultureEd MiniatEastern Fish Company

Silver: EFCOBell Flavors & Fragrances

Emerald: Grande Custom Ingredients

Ruby: Deli StarNuSpiceKayem FoodsJain Farm FreshHannaford



Satori Footer2.png

For questions or concerns about your event registration, please contact