Recent Reviews and Comments:
- Clarissa Wei, VICE Munchies, Nov 24, 2016
"This Maine Chef is Growing and Making Asian Food from Scratch"
"At Tao Yuan, her menu is a mash-up of New American influences with Asian garnishes. Aged duck breast, for example, is paired with a gastrique inspired from the sauces of the Shanxi province of China. Lamb tartare is decorated with rice crackers and fish is pan-seared and flavored with black bean chili and pickled ginger. Bao Bao Dumpling House, on the other hand, is more traditionally Chinese. Dishes include zha jiang mian, or noodles with broad bean paste, and an impressive collection of dumplings – some typical (pork and cabbage), some quirky (shrimp and bacon)."
- Jocelyn Ruggiero, The Boston Globe, Aug 2, 2016
"Why are so many woman chefs drawn to the coast of Maine?"
" ...Stadler sees the arrival of more female colleagues in Maine as a boon: 'Part of what drives people to Maine is the food, so the more places that people have to come, and the more food tourism is driven here, the more we all benefit.'"
- Julia Bainbridge, Condé Nast Traveler, Jan 28, 2016
"10 Young Chefs to Watch in 2016: Cara Stadler"
"The chefs behind some of the best restaurants in the world are just 30 years old. Or 27. Or 25. This month, we're celebrating 10 rising stars who are following their own tastes and instincts."
- Cara Stadler, Saveur, Nov 12, 2015
"A New England Thanksgiving with A Chinese Twist"
"The turkey is exceedingly moist and permeated with earthy Chinese spices and smoky flavors. It may not be exactly what you've always had on Thanksgiving, but it's so drop-dead delicious that you just might consider starting a new tradition."
- Jen Karetnick, FSR Magazine, Oct 2015
"A Chef's Decisive Odyssey"
"Those small, French-Asian plates, an unusual but happy addition to the Maine arena, change constantly according to what ingredients are in season. For instance, the peaches—from the out-of-the-way orchard that Tao Yuan is named for—may only be around for a week or so. But diners can almost always count on having the popular steamed buns from Stadler’s great-grandmother’s recipe."
- Cara Stadler Named a Food & Wine Best New Chef, April 1, 2014
"2014 Best New Chef Award Profile"
"Why She's Amazing: Although Stadler is only 26, she's already cooked in top French kitchens and launched a buzzed-about supper club in China. Now she masterminds an outstanding, Asian-inspired small-plates restaurant in Brunswick, ME."
- Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News, March 11, 2014
"'With every bit of growth, you work a little bit harder’: Brunswick chef’s star keeps rising"
"While her skill and creativity has sent her to the top of the list of young American chefs, it’s Stadler’s work ethic that’s kept her going. She will open a Chinese dumpling house in Portland this summer; she and Tao Yuan (pronounced “U.N.”) staff are working on building a greenhouse and aquaponics setup to supply the restaurant with greens and Asian produce year-round"
Meredith Goad, Portland Press Herald, February 20, 2014
"Four Maine chefs make 2014 list of semifinalists for Beard awards"
"Cara Stadler, chef/co-owner of Tao Yuan, a popular Asian fusion restaurant in Brunswick, joins 24 other nominees from around the country in the “Rising Star Chef of the Year” category. Stadler recently announced plans to open a dumpling house on Spring Street in Portland’s West End."
Kathleen Pierce & Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News, February 19, 2014
"...named semifinalist for James Beard Rising Chef Award"
"Cara Stadler of Asian-French restaurant Tao Yuan in Brunswick saw the tweets Wednesday morning and was surprised. 'I’m totally shocked. I thought we were off the radar in the grand scheme of things,' said Stadler, one of seven Maine culinary talents to be deemed James Beard Award semifinalists this week."
- Nancy Heiser, Maine Sunday Telegram, September 29, 2013
"Dine Out Maine: A food critic dishes on life as an undercover gastronome"
"My top restaurant from the last 12 months is Tao Yuan (originally Tao), in Brunswick. A dinner here is a journey across Asia, using local ingredients of the season. Steamed buns with braised lamb tongue, salt cod brandade with pureed celeriac, or simple Asian slaw – nothing here is ordinary. The menu is always changing and a dish rarely disappoints."
- Rachel Forrest, Seacoast Online, July 11, 2013
"Subdued elegance; Head to Tao Yuan for innovative Asian dishes"
"...There are so many more dishes to try, all delightful mixes of classic French cuisine and Far Eastern flavors, along with locally sourced ingredients. So smart, so delicious. I'm also eager to see what happens with Chef Cara Stadler. At 26, she's already soaring."
Maine Eater, June 12, 2013
"Aquaponics, Pop-Ups, and Year One at Tao"
"... 12 months since, Tao and its chef, Cara Stadler, have racked up some major accolades:
- Tao Received 4 1/2 stars from the Portland Press Herald'sNancy Heiser, who wrote in January "I find it remarkable that this well-traveled, 25-year-old chef is turning out such uncommon food after just six months in business."
- Stadler was Eater Maine's Chef of the Year,winning the prize can of custom-labeled San Marzano tomatoes to display with pride.
- Last month, Stadler was nominated for the prestigious Eater Young Gunsclass of 2013, which recognizes "50 of the brightest and most promising up-and-coming under-30 talent in the United States restaurant industry."
- Portland Press Herald, January 9, 2013
"Dine out Maine: Tao takes you on a heavenly journey, one small plate at a time"
"...Something about our meal was clarifying. It was as if the chef had taken the best thinking about current cuisine -- top-notch seasonal ingredients, new ethnic touches, garnishing details, tasting plates, an emphasis on local fare -- and melded it into a new concept with an Asian flair. The result was sublime dishes that tasted as if they were already beloved classics. Rating: Excellent/Extraordinary (4.5/5 stars)"
- DownEast Magazine, November 2012
"Tao: Brunswick's Best New Restaurant"
"Cara Stadler, chef-owner of Tao, is on a quest for that perfect combination of flavor, texture, beauty, and aroma. A taste of several of her small and often exotic plates is all it takes to discover she is accomplishing her goal."
- The Portland Pheonix, September 26, 2012
"The newest best reason to go to Brunswick -- The Tao of deliciousness"
"Early this year on this page I urged Mainers to stop complaining about our choices for Chinese food — to cease wishing for "a transcendent Chinese place that surprises and delights." Stop wishing for something and it will arrive. Here in Maine, the OM has worked — within months of that column, Tao Yuan Restaurant in Brunswick began to serve Chinese inflected dishes that are surprising and delightful."
Beth Harpaz, Associated Press Travel Editor, July 20, 2012
"Brunswick, Maine: Art, Civil war and soon a train"
". . . And for an innovative menu that combines Asian influences, classical cooking and local ingredients, check out Tao, 22 Pleasant St., a newly opened spot whose chef, Cara Stadler, trained in France, lived in China and is a fourth-generation Mainer. Delicious, inventive dishes include calamari, eggplant and cherry peperonata mixed with fiddlehead ferns, a Maine delicacy. Other Tao standouts like pork buns and dumplings would be at home on a dim sum menu."
- Joe Ricchio, The Maine Magazine blog, July 19, 2012
". . .The true standout of the evening is the Singapore Chicken Rice, a Hainanese dish that is so revered in that country that it is actually even served on its airlines. Stadler's version involves chicken cooked sous vide before it is seared to attain crispy skin. The rice is cooked in both chicken and duck fat in an effort to achieve rich, intense flavor, and the whole dish is topped with a Chinese salsa verde of sorts, consisting of scallion, ginger, and cilantro, cooked with a bit of sugar and scalding chicken fat."
- Evelyne Holingue, July 18, 2012
"A French Woman Living and Writing in the USA"
". . .Who would expect a Maine restaurant that offers Asian food to top a Californian restaurant? And yet, Tao, located a block off Maine Street, only a few blocks away from the College, is one of the best new places I tried in a long time.
". . . We each chose three dishes; and between the tuna tartar, the turnip cakes, the bean buns, the grilled goat cheese, the red fruit pane cotta, the flourless chocolate cake and the excellent coffee, we enjoyed one of the best meals of our summer, and definitely the best Asian food in ages. Flavors matched the impeccable presentation.
". . .Ah! What would the French do for good food!"
- Pia and Will Neilson, Solo Bistro blog, July 10, 2012
". . .That said, I am myself compelled to mention a new competitor in Brunswick that is doing a stellar job: Tao. A tasteful renovation of the former Teahouse and Provisions space on Pleasant Street (reportedly by the same contractor who did Solo Bistro), an original small plate menu of Chinese-inspired food you are unlikely to see elsewhere, expertly executed by the young Chinese American chef/owner trained in Beijing and Paris . . . . This is a quality operation with a modern sensibility that is original, coherent, and pleasing to the eye and palate. Definitely worth a visit for food lovers!"
About Cara --