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Maine’s Cara Stadler Blends Chinese Flavors with Local Ingredients

On a frosty March weekend we visited the tiny college town of Brunswick, Maine, for a family gathering that included one of the best and most creative Asian dinners we’d experienced in a long time. And, I thought I’d be eating just lobster and chowder all weekend!

Duck Three Ways
Duck Three Ways
Fried goat cheese with local strawberries
Fried goat cheese with local strawberries
Radish salad with trout roe shiso heirloom tomato and buttermilk yuzu and whte soy dressing
Radish salad with trout roe shiso heirloom tomato and buttermilk yuzu and white soy dressing

 

Cara Stadler‘s Tao-Yuan blends local ingredients, Chinese flavors and the chef’s French training into creative dishes that are light in spirit (and on the stomach) and heavy on crisp, balanced flavors, from spicy, salty and savory to delicately sweet. Cara was inspired by her Chinese mother, Cecile. who runs Tao-Yuan with her as well as Cara’s local dumpling bar Bao Bao. Cara and her mother also ran the successful Gourmet Underground dining club in Beijing.

Chef Cara Stadler
Chef Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan Restaurant

Cara recalls her mother’s extensive Asian dinners at home, an early influence that inspired her to pursue cooking versus a traditional college degree. At 16 she presented her parents a 10 year business plan that convinced them to let her follow her dream. She enrolled in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and trained in top rated restaurants in France and China.

Now in her late 20s Cara has met and exceeded her 10 year plan, with Tao Yuan and Bao Bao, as well as recognition in 2014 as a Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef, a James Beard Foundation Award 2015 Semi-Finalist and a major feature in the November 2015 issue of Saveur magazine. Yet, her growing fame has grounded her even more. Cara’s focus is on her next 10 year plan including a hydroponic garden and aquaculture. –Melanie Young

assortment

Website: Tao Yuan  Facebook/TaoYuanRestaurant   Twitter@Tao_Maine

Instagram: @taoyuanrestaurant

We visit with Cara Wednesday, November 11, 2:28p.m EST on The Connected Table LIVE! Tune into W4CY or listen post show on iHeart.com. Here is the cut and paste link: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/

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