Executive chef and co-owner of Flux in Lisbon Falls, Jason LaVerdiere, was named a semifinalist for Best Chef Northeast by the James Beard Foundation. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald file

LISBON — Getting an email from your accountant early in the morning can make a business owner queasy. But for Jason LaVerdiere, that’s how his head-spinning Wednesday started.

“Congratulations on the James Beard nomination,” it read. “I was like, no way,” LaVerdiere said.

The executive chef and co-owner of Flux in Lisbon Falls has just been named as a semifinalist for Best Chef, Northeast, by the James Beard Foundation.

The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries. It happens once a year, but for most chefs it comes once in a lifetime. It’s the first for LaVerdiere, who opened Flux with his brother in 2018. Four other chefs in Maine were named semifinalists and they are among a total of 20 chefs in the region, which includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire.

LaVerdiere grew up in Winslow and graduated from Winslow High School. His formal culinary schooling comes from Southern Maine Community College, after three years of studying biology at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Like many great chefs, LaVerdiere says he found his passion for cooking at home, beside his mother. As a teenager he worked at a pizza shop and then at the former Apollo’s Bistro in Waterville.


Most of his experience came in kitchens.

“I definitely picked up most of my experience from just working in the industry,” he said. “I’ve worked at probably 10 different restaurants in the Portland area.”

LaVerdiere and his brother, Tyson, describe Flux as modern American cuisine, with a changing menu, depending on the seasons and availability of local products, which has become a hallmark of modern American cuisine.

The brothers made it through a very challenging pandemic, and LaVerdiere says business is good in Lisbon Falls.

“You pretty much have to make a reservation, or there’s a good chance you’re not going to get a seat here on a Friday or Saturday night,” LaVerdiere said. It’s clear his culinary colleagues agree with the customers, propelling him to national recognition through the James Beard Awards nomination.

Winners of the James Beard Awards will be announced June 5.

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