What’s in a name? As it turns out—Shakespeare’s words notwithstanding—a lot. And in recent months, we’ve been thinking a lot about our name—how it came to be, the meaning it projects and why it was time for a change.
When I started ZEST in 2014, the food scene across Maine was experiencing a rush in food consciousness like never before. Young, creative chefs—both homegrown and transplants from big cities—were opening restaurants that put local and in season ingredients onto their menus. More small farms began to dot the landscape, producing healthy birds, contented cows and heirloom fruits and vegetables. For home cooks, the bounty always found in farmers’ markets was enhanced by fantastic quality and a vast variety of products.
Over the next decade, Maine made a name for itself on the national food scene. Our chefs and restaurants were getting James Beard nominations and awards. In 2018, Portland was named Bon Appetit’s “Restaurants Destination of the Year.” Nearly every city and town had a food scene worth exploring.
The name ZEST worked. And in some ways, it still does. But since the 2019 expansion to lifestyle content, we have followed and published stories around other areas of creativity in Maine. Along with food-related stories, we’ve profiled architects, builders, artists and musicians, craftspeople, adventurers, and makers of all kinds.
Maine is a big, varied, beautiful state that attracts creative people and allows them the mental and physical space to follow their dreams.
So we decided it was time for the name of our magazine to represent who we are now and all of our collective interests, with stories you can expect—and maybe a few you wouldn’t.
And, as fate would have it, during a phone chat with artist and gallery owner Cynthia Winings, she used 'creative Maine' in a sentence, and I said, "AHA." Thank you, Cynthia!
Welcome to CREATIVE MAINE. As always, with plenty of zest!