Grilled tequila-lime infused chicken breast. Seared duck with raspberry sauce. Seafood alfredo.

These as just a few of the dishes prepared and served at the Green Ladle by students receiving a culinary education one entree at a time.

The program is part of the Lewiston Regional Technical School and is located next to the high school off East Avenue. Thirty applicants are accepted annually from six area high schools; Lewiston, Edward Little in Auburn, Leavitt in Turner, Oak Hill in Sabattus, Poland and Lisbon.

The hands-on job training at this top-notch cooking school offers experience and technical education from seasoned professional chef Dan Caron.

During the two-year program, students don’t just learn to cook.

“We provide students with a taste of what a career in cooking is all about,” explained Caron. “We teach the students every aspect about operating a restaurant by first learning in a teaching situation, then in the actual cooking environment with state-of-the-art cooking equipment. Lesson plans include food safety, time management, budgeting and hospitality.”


“We prime them for their next big step in life,” he added. “My goal, along with the help of pastry chef Bri Doyle and catering coordinator Pat Sarrazin, is to give our graduates confidence to walk into any entry-level position or feel a step ahead of other students entering a school for the culinary arts.”

Eadie Guzman of Leavitt and Brooke Stevenson of Lewiston are currently just two of the 60 students chopping, mixing and roasting their way to a career in the culinary industry at the Green Ladle.

Both seniors have been captivated by food preparation since childhood.

“I’ve always had a passion to cook,” said Eadie. “I started off with cake mixes when I was around 11 years old and I would try all different kinds . . . being creative with changing flavors or frostings. Spaghetti and meatballs have always been a favorite of mine to make and still is.”

“You were lucky!” said Brooke with a laugh, during a recent interview. “It was always a struggle at my house. As much as I wanted to be in that kitchen, my parents were always afraid I’d burn the house down, so mostly I just watched Rachael Ray on television. When I did get the chance to cook, it was mac and cheese from a box with hot dogs.”

Besides instruction and hands-on experience, Caron offers numerous work-based activities to the future chefs.


“On occasion we bring in guest speakers or chefs to do demonstrations. Students also have opportunities to do job shadowing, internships and get experience with in-house competitions. We are also involved with ProStart culinary competitions, which is sponsored by the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.”

Eadie admits that the class is a tough one.

“We are here every other day, all day. . . . It can get pretty hectic. We start with a demonstration and then it’s checking for our assigned jobs. One day I could be head chef and the next day I could be slicing carrots or baking bread.”

“It is crazy at times,” added Brooke. “We get here at 8 a.m. and can find out we are cooking for 80 people that will arrive in a few hours. Thank God for a huge pot of coffee!”

Along with their classmates, the girls have learned the importance of sanitation, knife skills and how to make things from scratch.

For Eadie, participating in the culinary program has enhanced her baking skills.


“I’ve learned how to make eclairs, muffins, cream puffs, breads and cookies. And much of it is due to chef Doyle. She is my idol and is a wonderful teacher and mentor who inspired me to become a baker.”

“We also learn about the foods we cook with,” she added. “Like where ingredients come from or how processed foods are made.”

For Brooke, it’s learning what it takes to become a chef.

“It isn’t just cooking; it is menu planning, budgeting and time management. To be a chef takes total dedication and hard work.”

Competitions steam up the Green Ladle students on their journey to success as well.

“We have cooking and baking competitions within our class,” said Eadie. “The competitions have guidelines, so the difference in winning or losing could be as simple as garnishing or how it’s displayed. Cooks, like Brooke, had to debone a chicken, prepare pea soup and create their own salad and dressing. Bakers had to make a cake, which is what I did. I came in third with my pastel de tres leches cake.”


“We also compete in ProStart,” said Brooke. “We first competed in-house, making an appetizer, entree and dessert, and chef picked four of us to compete at the state level. I was involved in making a lobster with tarragon sauce over ravioli, and my team went to states.”

These young ladies enjoy cooking for the Green Ladle, which is open year-round for banquets, weddings, business meetings and catering. The restaurant is open to the general public for lunch only, on Thursdays and Fridays, January through May.

“The meals are awesome,” said Eadie. “We use only the freshest ingredients, and all the food — like candied grilled French lamb chops, chicken cordon blue and seafood alfredo — is prepared by the students. And the desserts too, like assorted cheesecakes and mini pastries. It’s really satisfying to see customers enjoy what we cook.”

“It’s like, come eat our homework,” Brooke said with a laugh. “And it’s so much more than just the great entrees. We make lots of different salads, potatoes, veggies and homemade breads and rolls. And then there is the seafood chowder, which I thought I would never like, but it ended up to be my favorite.”

Mishaps occur, but the students learn from them.

“I burned my hand,” said Eadie. “And to top it off, all I was doing was boiling eggs and I didn’t realize the handle was hot and I dropped the whole thing on the floor. I’m much more aware now of kitchen safety.”


“I got a job last year at a restaurant in Turner,” added Brooke. “I dropped an entire fillet of salmon on the floor as I was taking it out of the refrigerator. I learned to be more careful, as my first day on the job could have easily been my last.”

This program has opened many doors for the students.

“Recruiters come to school, as well as local restaurant owners, looking for workers,” said Brooke. “It’s a great opportunity. I work right now for Clover Manor as a dietary assistant. I love my job so much I have even turned down offers from restaurants.”

I’ve had offers as well,” said Eadie. “I care for my sisters after school so I haven’t had the chance to take a job, but chef says I am a good worker and ready when I’m able to.”

And it’s obvious that local restaurants respect the hard work and see the value in the program as well.

“I couldn’t say enough of the job that Dan Caron and the folks at the Green Ladle do,” said Mike Peters at Mac’s Grill in Auburn. “We are fortunate to have one of their students working with us on weekends. She does a great job and we are very happy to have her. We try to be as supportive as possible when it comes to being involved with the various events that the school does each year, and the students are all very motivated and helpful. It’s fun to see the kids that still have that drive and enthusiasm.”


Paul Landry at Fish Bones American Grill in Lewiston agrees.

“Our executive chef graduated from the second class at the Green Ladle, and our sous chef came from there as well. I’m such a fan, and we are lucky to have this program. It’s a win-win situation for both the students and local restaurants.”

Where do these girls see themselves in five years?

“I hope to open a bakery,” said Eadie. “It would be the dream of a lifetime to cook sweets for customers all day and see the smiles on their faces.”

For Brooke, it would be working at DisneyWorld or on a cruise line like the Royal Caribbean.

“I love cooking for the masses, especially if they are on vacation. It would also give me a great opportunity to travel. And I’m sure by then I won’t be burning any kitchens down. I’ll still be preparing my favorite mac and cheese with hot dogs, but it will be from scratch, not out of the box.”


Pastel de tres leches (Three milk cake)

Recipe by student Eadie Guzman


1 baked yellow cake (two 9-inch round layers)

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 can condensed milk

1 and 1/5 cups whole milk


Strawberries and kiwis

8 ounces of Cool Whip

4 ounces of strawberry cream cheese

Mix all milks together, cool in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Once cooled, pour onto the cake. Make sure it gets spread out evenly with no dry spots. Blend cool-whip and strawberry cream cheese until well combined. Spread the mixture on top of your cake evenly. Cut the strawberries and kiwis as you desire then put on top for decoration.

Lobster with tarragon sauce over ravioli

Serves two

Recipe by student Brooke Stevenson and ProStart team


Ravioli dough ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

Additional flour as needed

Filling ingredients:

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped


1 tablespoon fresh chives,chopped

2 teaspoons white truffle oil

Zest of 1/4 orange

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg white

2 Maine lobsters (1-1/4 pounds each)


4 ounces Ricotta cheese

4 tablespoons asiago cheese

1 whole egg, beaten (egg wash)

Lobster preparation procedure:

In a large stock pot, bring 2 inches of sea-salted water to rapid boil. Add lobsters, cover and cook for 9 minutes. Remove lobsters and place on ice. When cooled, shuck, being careful not to break tail as it will be used in plating. Carefully cut tail meat and tail shell in half lengthwise. Do not discard antlers.

Ravioli dough procedure:


Mound the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together eggs and begin to incorporate the flour.

After the flour and eggs are incorporated, knead dough by hand. Slowly add more flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky. Continue to knead for another 2 minutes, and dust your surface with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest.

After resting period, lightly roll dough out by hand, using palms. Begin to roll dough using pasta maker. Start at first setting and work through the machine several times until setting 5.

Once dough is uniform and desired thickness, lightly dust work surface. Use a very large round cookie cutter to make 4 equal-sized rounds of pasta dough.

Ravioli procedure:

In a medium-size bowl, mix herbs, truffle oil, orange zest, salt and pepper. Dice knuckle meat and meat from 1 claw. Add to mixture.


In a separate bowl, briskly whisk egg white for one minute. Mix thoroughly with the lobster meat mixture. Fold in ricotta and asiago cheese.

Divide lobster truffle mixture into 2 equal portions, and scoop onto 2 centers of ravioli rounds. Whisk egg white to prepare egg wash. Brush egg wash around the edges of the pasta rounds, and place unused pasta round on top. Gently press edges down with lightly dampened fingers.

Cook ravioli for 3 minutes in 2 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water. Drain. Immediately before serving, saute in tarragon creme sauce (below).

Tarragon cream sauce:

2 ounces unsalted butter

1 shallot, chopped


1 bunch of fresh tarragon

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups light cream

Kosher salt and white pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, tarragon and garlic. Saute until garlic and shallots are translucent. Deglaze by adding white wine and continue cooking at medium heat, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half. Add light cream and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Saute lobster tail meat in tarragon creme sauce. When cool, put lobster tail meat halves back into their shells.

Plating procedures

For each plate, place 1 ravioli on a bed of wilted spinach (recipe below). Top with interlocking lobster tail halves in their shells. Garnish each plate with two lobster antlers.

Wilted spinach

Recipe by student Brooke Stevenson and ProStart team


2 ounces butter


8 ounces fresh spinach

1 shallot, minced

Juice from lemon

Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a medium-sized saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until translucent. Add spinach and lemon juice. Saute until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Smoked gouda mac n’ cheese with caramelized onions and bacon

Recipe by student Colby Perron


Cheese sauce:

1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound flour

1/2 gallon milk

4 tablespoons ground mustard

1 pound peeled and (small) diced smoked gouda cheese


Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 large onions sliced very thin, cut into half moons

1 pound bacon, fine chopped

1/2 pound thin-sliced smoked gouda cheese



Cook 16 ounces elbow macaroni until done; mix with cheese sauce.

For cheese sauce:

Put milk in a double boiler; scald before adding roux. To make roux, melt butter in large saute pan and whisk in flour. Add some roux to the milk, a little at a time, do not over thicken; you still need to add cheese. When the sauce is partially thickened add cheese, whisk to incorporate. Once cheese is melted, add ground mustard, salt and pepper.

Heat large saute pan and melt second butter, add onions, let caramelize until golden brown, remove and set aside. In the same pan saute the bacon to render the fat; save this fat because you will need it later. Remove fat from pan and continue to caramelized bacon until golden brown. Add onions and bacon to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly.

Grease 1 large casserole pan with rendered bacon fat, combine cheese sauce with cooked pasta and cover with sliced gouda. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and bubbly.

The Green Ladle’s seafood alfredo

Recipe by Chef Dan Caron



4 tablespoons oil

4 ounces each: lobster, scallops, Maine shrimp

2 ounces red pepper (diced small)

2 cloves garlic chopped (roasted)

2 tablespoons basil, oregano


1 tablespoon parsley

1/2 cup white wine (reduce to half)

2 cups light cream (reduce until thickened)

3 ounces parmesan cheese

Directions: Saute over medium heat in the order listed. Serve hot.

Chocolate mint layered torte

Cake ingredients:


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 large eggs


1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling ingredients:

1 pint chilled whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract


2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Glaze ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup real semi-sweet chocolate bits

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon mint extract


Mint leaves, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with 9-inch round piece waxed paper; grease waxed paper. Set aside.

Combine all cake ingredients in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Remove waxed paper. Cool completely.

Combine chilled whipping cream and mint extract in small bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding 2 tablespoons sugar, until stiff peaks form. Reserve 1/2 cup filling for garnish; refrigerate.

Cut each cake layer horizontally in half using serrated knife. To assemble torte, place one split cake layer on serving plate; spread with 1/3 filling. Repeat with remaining cake layers and filling, ending with cake layer. Refrigerate torte at least 1 hour.


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 1-quart saucepan; stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon mint extract. Spread glaze over top of torte, allowing glaze to drizzle down sides. Garnish with reserved 1/2 cup filling and mint leaves, if desired. Refrigerate until serving time.

Espresso torte


5 ounces chocolate, semi-sweet, chopped

3 ounces chocolate, unsweetened, chopped

1/4 pound butter, unsalted, cut in pieces

4 large eggs, room temperature


1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup espresso, cooled to room temp or use 1/4 cup coffee, double strength (cooled to room temp)

1 tablespoon espresso beans, sifted, finely ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Whipped cream for accompaniment


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with kitchen parchment. Butter the parchment and lightly flour the pan.

In a small, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Whip the eggs, sugar, brewed espresso, ground espresso beans and salt on medium-high speed until thick and voluminous, at least 8 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and mix in the butter-chocolate mixture.

Sift the flour over the batter and fold until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.

Set a plate over the torte and carefully invert the torte onto the plate; peel off the parchment. Flip the torte back onto the rack to cool completely before slicing.


Serve with whipped cream.

Sopapilla cheesecake bars

Recipe by student Haley Fournier


16 ounces softened cream cheese

2 packages crescent rolls

1 1/2 cups white sugar


2 egg yolks (save the whites)

2 tablespoon melted butter/margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla

Cinnamon sugar

Set the oven for 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-13-inch pan.

In a mixer, mix cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until completely combined.


Roll out one package of crescent rolls large enough to cover the bottom of your pan and place in pan.

Spread half of the melted butter mixture over the crescent roll dough in the pan.

Top that with the cream cheese mixture. Spread evenly.

Roll out the second crescent roll container large enough to cover the bottom layer.

Brush that top layer with some of your egg whites, then with the last of the melted butter.

Lastly, sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 25-35 minutes. Cut as desired.

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