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Rob Evans, Hugo’s | Portland, Maine Restaurants

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At Hugo’s in Portland, Maine, Rob Evans uses his French, Italian, and Japanese cooking skills on “foods within the region that work together, while being creative and fun about it.”

Rob Evans, Hugo's

Rob Evans, Hugo’s

Heath Robbins

Rob Evans is having a good time. After years of cooking gigs that had him bouncing back and forth between Maine and Hawaii, Rob has developed a style and a philosophy that he calls “new American.” He uses his French, Italian, and Japanese cooking skills on “foods within the region that work together, while being creative and fun about it. I think about the ingredients, then build from there.”

Rob loves New England’s changing seasons, but at this time of year he’s more than happy to be cooking with fresh, wild greens, which he gets from forager Rick Tibbetts. “The stuff he finds in the wild is more organic than organic,” Rob says. “He constantly surprises me with beautiful local ingredients.”

Beyond what Rob calls his “responsibility to support the local guys,” using indigenous foods is important to him “because it’s all part of being in the place you are. If people travel to Portland, I want them to have a Portland experience — not to try to re-create something from the Napa Valley or Paris or Miami. This is Maine.”

HUGO’S. 88 Middle St. 207-774-8538; hugos.net

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