I've known Chef Ben Hasty for about 10 years, since he was a 19 year old culinary student. I've written many stories about him for The Portsmouth Herald and for magazines because he's a chef who has always been on the culinary vanguard in our area a leader, an innovator. He has always been a talent to watch, full of great ideas and much enthusiasm.
I wrote about him when he was the sous chef at The Dunaway back in 2006. And then when he became Executive Chef in 2008. I wrote about him when When he brought a pig named Lucy to The Dunaway from his family farm. When he headed up the kitchen at Epoch in Exeter in 2010. And when he was Executive Chef at When Pigs Fly in Kittery. He's made a big difference in our restaurant scene.
And so has his life and business partner, Jennifer Fecteau. I've known Jennifer for years, too, primarily as a bartender who not only makes a great drink, but can handle a crowd and bring people together. She gives front of the house service--most recently at The Wentworth By the Sea Hotel and Spa--that personal touch that gets people to come back again and again. Warmth, personality, and professionalism will certainly abound in this new restaurant thanks to her.
I look forward to telling you all about what's going on at the new Thistle Pig Restaurant in South Berwick and how they build, progress, and grow. We're going to have some fun, some laughs, and some great ideas flying around!
Rachel Forrest is the food writer and restaurant critic for The Portsmouth Herald, Seacoast Online and many other publications. She is the co-author of Maine Classics with James Beard Award winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier.