The 7th Annual Claw Down Judges
Joe Ricchio, Food Editor, Down East Magazine
Joe Ricchio is a Portland, ME based author who specializes in food, drink, and travel. He is the food editor for Down East Magazine and Host of Food Coma TV, in addition to freelancing for such publications as Bon Appetit, Vice, Boston Magazine, TheFix.com, First We Feast, and The Guardian. His blog, Food Coma, spawned a string of successful web-series entitled Food Coma TV, The Food Coma Show, and Off The Wagon with Joe Ricchio. Previously he was the Food Editor of Maine Magazine for six years. His clients for travel writing include The Ritz Carlton, Lark Hotel Group, and Villa Europe Luxury Rentals.
Merritt Carey, Sternman, Luke's Lobster, Tennants Harbor
From her childhood, Merritt’s life has always been connected to the sea, and to the small coastal villiage of Tenants Harbor. Aboard her 13ft Boston Whaler, Merritt’s first job was delivering cooked lobster, steamers and mussels, in waxed brown paper bags, for Mrs. Miller of Cod End.
Merritt attended Brown University and then went back to sea –aboard the second all-female team to compete in the Whitbread Around the World Ocean Race and then as a member of the first all-female America’s Cup team. Merritt settled in New Zealand where she enrolled in law school; returning to complete her law degree at University of Maine School of Law.
Merritt practiced law for a few years and then went out on her own as a consultant; over time her consulting practice increasingly involved fisheries and rural economic development. In 2016, with other local fishermen in the area, and Luke Holden from Luke’s Lobsters, Merritt helped found the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op; a vertically integrated co-op that works collaboratively with its downstream partners, Luke’s Lobster Seafood Co (processing partner) and Luke’s Lobster.
Merritt lives in Yarmouth, Maine with her husband and three children (Liam, 16, Madeleine, 12 and Grace, 8); and spends her summers in Tenants Harbor running the Luke’s Lobster shack that sits on the wharf of the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op. In her spare time, Merritt writes about her myriad of life experiences in her blog, Merritt in Maine.
Pamela Laskey, Director, Maine Foodie Tours
Maine Foodie Tours represents an amalgam of Pam’s passions. Always up for a great meal, she loves finding new restaurants, learning about up-and-coming chefs, pairing food and wine, gathering fun-loving groups of people together, and of course, as a born educator, sharing her knowledge with others. It has been a ten-year love-fest with the local Maine food scene, learning about dishes indigenous to this region and watching the creative culinary artistry grow in every direction. She is eager to share this information with guests on her tours and train new tour guides on the splendor of it all.
“I have so much respect for the resourcefulness of Mainers,” Pam says. “Whether it’s an old family recipe handed down from generation to generation, or a new way of presenting and serving one of our state’s staple crops, I’m just constantly amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of Maine artisans, cooks, brewers, distillers, bakers and chefs.”
Pam’s new goal in life is to have as much fun as possible, and surround herself with others who also don’t take themselves too seriously. The Maine Foodie Tours venture has been a delightful- and tasty- sojourn into the history and culture of Maine, a state that seems to continually reveal new and delicious offerings to adventurous and fun-loving foodies.