My Afternoon at The Lost Kitchen
We received an e-mail a few months back from none other than Erin French. You probably already know this, but she’s the chef behind The Lost Kitchen. We’re huge fans of her cookbook, and we’re delighted SKORDO spices will be a part of The Lost Kitchen’s winter market.
Throughout the last few weeks, Erin, Lauren (Erin’s trusted assistant), and I discussed what ingredient’s Erin would like to carry, the art that would be on the website, and all the technical tasks you complete in order to get a shop up and running. I was taken aback by Erin’s reason for this market in the first place. To paraphrase our phone call, it’s about bringing other Maine brands she enjoys along with her as she has so many eyes on The Lost Kitchen (she has a TV show too).
Driving to Freedom, Maine for the first time to deliver Erin’s items, I received an e-mail a few miles out: “Hi Anne, Just a note to let you know that when you arrive, look for the door with the linen curtains and come on in. I am inside but you may notice no cars in the lot. I ran to work since there's no going to the gym ;-) – Erin”
It was 21 degrees at the time, so needless to say, hearing that Erin was running to meet me increased my respect for her ten-fold. I knock on the door and Erin greets me with a smile (behind the mask) and a welcome. She’s in the middle of preparing mashed potatoes for Lauren… It’s Lauren’s birthday and everyone on The Lost Kitchen team is bringing a dish to Lauren’s house to complete a birthday dinner.
I look around -- this restaurant is stunning. The light bouncing off the snow and coming in through every angle, the view of the water, an “old mill” turned into a warm enveloping hug. She explains that typically there would be fresh flowers everywhere, candles lit, etc. and it becomes quite magical. I can only imagine, but I have to say seeing it in this way is perhaps even more special. A magical place, paused until the next round of lucky diners get to see it shine.
Instead of the flowers and candles, the shop is filled with incredible Maine goods. Everything home and gifts -- from vintage candlesticks Erin and her husband selected personally to linen pillow cases and artisanal Maine Maple Syrup. We get to talking about Erin’s journey, owning a restaurant during 2020, SKORDO’s journey, podcasts, our last date nights, and more.
Thirty minutes go by, and now we’re touring the mill. We walk through the downstairs kitchen and in the shadows I can envision Erin and her team of women bustling, preparing local ingredients to cook in their open kitchen that evening for service. We go through the wine cellar where guests can select their wine prior to dinner. It’s now filled with local Maine goods for the market. She shows me the turbine that provides the electricity for the entire mill (how cool is that!?) … She talks about the man that built it like he’s her neighbor, because he is. Afterall, this is the town Erin grew up in and I can just feel the connection she has to this space and this ground.
As I thank Erin for her time, we snap a selfie. She gives me a copy of her cookbook with the new cover on it (We cannot wait to get this in our stores!), and I give her a few spice blends for her to play with. She encourages me to enjoy some alone time listening to podcasts on the drive home (a rare moment since I have twin babies at home), and suggests I take a peek at the new one-room buildings being put in the nearby woods for distanced dining. As expected, they are simply delightful. I spent a few quiet minutes standing in the woods admiring these buildings, and letting my gratitude for this state and the wonderfully kind, talented, and hard-working people who reside here sink in.
That evening, I received another e-mail from Erin with ideas with ideas for future collaborations. We cannot wait!
In the meantime, I’ll be shopping The Winter Market when it launches at 8am this Saturday. Set your alarms, friends! Erin and her team have put together a shop that truly represents a tapestry of Maine’s wonderful offerings, sent to you from her magical mill.
SKORDO's Lost Kitchen Shop Collection