Maine's Culinary Revolution: Rod Browne Mitchell on Harvest on the Harbor 2008
Rod Browne Mitchell will be honored as a culinary leader during the inaugural Harvest on the Harbor, October 23 through 25. Watch his video of the revolution — some say evolution — of Maine's culinary existence in the video to the right of the screen. He details the vibrant, diverse state of Maine food growers, purveyors and chefs and explains why Maine has become home the country's leading chefs.
Experience Maine's culinary advancements during Harvest on the Harbor and learn more about the three-day event here.
About Rod Browne Mitchell:
Raised on the coast of Maine in a family with a tradition of fishing, hunting and guiding, Rod Browne Mitchell developed his passion for the sea and fishing at the side of his Grandfather Browne. Working summers with his uncle fishing by hook and line out of Boothbay Harbor, and with his cousin, a guide on the Kennebec River, further honed his appreciation of what it takes to find, harvest and care for seafood. In 1976 he earned a degree in marine biology from Southern Maine Technical Institute in South Portland, Maine. An entrepreneur at heart, in 1979 Rod opened and managed a wine and cheese shop, the Winemporium in Camden, Maine, where he cultivated his taste for fine wines and excellent food.
It was here in the early 1980's that he met Chef Jean Louis Palladin. Jean Louis, new to the United States and frustrated with the quality of seafood, asked Rod to find him fresh scallops. From Rod’s knowledge of the local waters, experience as a scuba diver, and understanding of the local fishing culture, the now classic “Maine Diver Scallop” was introduced to America’s cuisine at the talented hands of Chef Palladin. Rod’s true professional expertise had been discovered. His love of the sea, the thrill of the discovery and hunt, combined with his passion for great food and perfection now combined in the pursuit of new products for Jean Louis. Soon live urchins, Piballes (glass eels), live Lamprey, and the sweet Maine crabmeat which he coined “Peekytoe” (from the name “picked toe” used by the cottage industry of Maine crab pickers) were being served at the finest restaurants in the country. As more young talented chefs were trained or inspired by Jean Louis Palladin, the demand for Rod’s expertise grew. Moving on from the wine store, Rod established his first wholesale business, Caspian Caviar, in 1984. From his Camden location he continued to source and ship seafood and caviar to his growing customer base of fine young chefs throughout America.
In 1991, Rod and his wife Cynde established Browne Trading Company (named for his grandfather, Earl Browne) with headquarters on the working waterfront in Portland, Maine. From here he was able to expand his sourcing to procure products from ports around the world and pioneered overnight shipping of the highest quality seafood to chefs and home gourmands around the United States. His relationships and sources of international caviars began to bring Browne Trading to the forefront of the caviar industry as well. Rod’s understanding of the best methods to care for and deliver seafood from the moment of harvest to the kitchen have single-handedly raised the bar in the fine dining seafood industry.