157 High St, Portland, ME 04101, United States

Chef de Cuisine

EliIreland

A Maine native, Chef Irland returns to the East Coast following several years working in California with world-renowned chefs including Jose Andres, Michael Mina and Victor Cassanova before most recently leading the kitchen at The Flintridge Proper in La Canada, Calif.  Irland is a former contestant on The Food Network show Chopped (episode 18-08) and is a graduate of the Paragon Culinary School in Colorado Springs.

Irland and executive chef Brian Anderson collaborated on the new Congress Squared menu to “offer the kind of approachable food and warm service experience Mainers want,” said Irland.  “Mainers want food that is as simple and straightforward as they are,” Irland continued.  “But this is a sophisticated food town, not unlike Los Angeles in many respects, because there is a lot of competition and a lot of great talent.  There aren’t too many unexplored niches, so our challenge is to do it better.”  To that end, Irland and Anderson present an ingredient-forward menu dominated by small plates that are expertly wrought, yet completely familiar.

Oxtail poutine, a fine dining riff on the heartiest, most craveable comfort food, features local Kennebec potatoes elevated by rich, braised oxtail and fresh, local cheese curd all burnished with a glossy beef demi-glace.  Slow-roasted heirloom carrots glazed with local honey and refreshed by crunchy walnuts are Irland’s favorite item on his new menu.  Come to Congress Squared and as we inspire you to Eat Well.