The collaboration of two chefs from different restaurant venues across our nation, joining together for an extraordinary meal and experience, is not unique, but in the case of Celebrity Chef Eric Klein and especially Chef Matt McPherson, it was a chance of a lifetime. The Looking Glass Restaurant at the Bluenose Inn in Bar Harbor, Maine, with its marvelous views, was the location for this farm to table repast.
One can only imagine what went through the mind of the young Matt Mcpherson when the opportunity unveiled itself. Here was a top Chef from the world of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago entering his kitchen and in his demur way taking over Matt’s domain. At the same time, you had to wonder how Chef Eric felt not having his own utensils and cookware.
You might say what brought them together was their passion for food and love of what they were both creating. This devotion for their craft certainly came through during our gourmand experience.
Several food, wine, and travel writers joined these chefs on this culinary adventure. It started with a trip to the Eden Farmer’s Market, where the two chefs officially met and decided on what they needed for the upcoming luncheon. Although they had been conversing for several weeks, it is not the same as meeting face to face. Chef Eric was coming off the Holland American Cruise Line as Celebrity Chef for the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association’s annual conference.
As we strolled this Bar Harbor Farmers Market, the chefs made their choices amongst the rows of purveyors. Although small, this market had a colorfully, pleasant atmosphere with quality fruits, vegetables, cheese, and more. It contained all that was needed to create a most elaborate lunch.
Looking Glass Restaurant
From the market, we made our way to the Looking Glass Restaurant that sits atop the hill overlooking Bar Harbor. The panoramic views are magnificent. With clear skies and this unobstructed vista, one could not ask for a better day. We stopped in the garden and watched the chefs pick fresh herbs, tomatoes, and a variety of other vegetables. The morning dew left droplets of water on the tomatoes. Perhaps these drops were an indication of how fresh and wonderful the upcoming meal was about to be.
Blue Nose Inn
While the chefs began their cooking, some of us explored the Blue Nose Inn with General Manager and co-owner, Jim Ash. The quaint hotel is named after a 1920s racing ship, and fishing vessel called the Blue Nose that was based out of Nova Scotia. The hotel is a green-certified hotel that affords incredible views of Frenchman Bay. Comfort is at the top of the list, while at the same time, there is a distinct simplicity to the tastefully designed rooms. The hotel features an indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center, and the Eden spa.
Two Chefs Luncheon
After our tour, we strolled back to the Looking Glass Restaurant for our extraordinary luncheon. While waiting for lunch, we sipped Blacksmiths Sparkling Maine Blueberry wine, which is made from wild Maine blueberries and Vidal Blanc. It was quite delicious and refreshing. As a side, Blacksmiths is one of Maine’s oldest wineries.
Our five-course meal began with Local Oyster with Pickled Radish along with Bar Harbor Halibut on the Rocks. The presentation was inviting as the oyster in a shell lay on a granite slab surrounded by seaweed with a lone smooth pebble upon which the halibut sat.
The second course was Peeky Toe Crab accompanied with Mint, parsley, avocados, lemon vinaigrette, and basil blossoms. Also featured were Cherry Tomato Salad with local goat cheese, basil blossoms, pesto, and extra virgin olive oil.
Next served was a Local Corn and Lobster created with butter-poached lobster, corn and mascarpone spume, and French summer truffle.
The main course was a Local Pork Loin and Tenderloin with grilled peaches, Looking Glass Swiss chard, cipollini onions, mixed herbs, and fava beans.
Ending the meal was Local Sautéed Plums and Raspberries served with port wine, crumbled cannoli, and a Local Goat Cheese and Honey Ice Cream, which was garnished with herbs.
The food was yummy, and although the portions were small, we all felt very satiated. Accompanying our meal were several wines from Cellardoor Winery in Maine. The Pinot Gris, with its buttery pear flavors, went well with the first several courses while the Pinot Noir, a bright wine with hints of blueberries, was a perfect match for the pork and dessert.
Erik Klein describes his meals as “making memories something special,” and this meal was certainly that. Erik continued by saying that he considers himself very humble. You could see this as he worked with Matt. Both respected each other, letting their individual talents shine through. For Erik, food should be simple and based around bringing together family and friends. A master of the kitchen, his food highlights the best qualities of nature. Erik states that “food has soul,” and it is this philosophy that is the heart of his cuisine and was elevated with the cooperation of Matt McPherson.
The Looking Glass Restaurant
50 Eden Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609