LS: Tell us a bit about you what makes you tick?
GH: I’m Guy Hernandez, chef/owner of Bar Lola in Portland Maine. Stella, my wife and Bar Lola co-owner, and I are interested in food and community and how they come together. We look for ways to grow and feed our curiosity every day
LS: What are some of your favourite local produce/products?
GH: We are very fortunate to have access to an unbelievable amount of local products and produce. So much so that being local becomes a given and not an exception. Our attitude has been we like to buy from people we know. Chances are, if we’ve met you and we hit it off, you’re approaching your business of making and growing products in a way that is compatible with the way we prepare and serve those products in our restaurant. I’m not sure if we have a favorite product per se. We like the excitement and challenge of talking to a farmer and asking ‘What have you got that’s new and good?’ and going from there.
LS: Any tips for how you take advantage of seasonal fruit & veg?
GH: Working seasonally has its challenges because everything comes at once. There are no tomatoes, no tomatoes, no tomatoes and then all of a sudden there’s nothing but tomatoes. We take inspiration from our grandparents and do a lot of canning and pickling. It’s a satisfying practice and pays off when all that’s around are beets and potatoes. Not that beets and potatoes aren’t full of potential themselves.
LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you/your work/your family?
GH: The questions of local came up a while back when I mentioned a Vermont cheese we use and someone asked if I thought that was local. We like to work with people we know and the people we know are typically people we’ve met, and we’ve met you, that means you’re probably within a day’s drive. That’s not a hard a fast rule, but it’s a start.