Proudly sharing Maine's authentic, sustainably produced food and beverages with the world.
Chef and Co-owner / Big Tree Hospitality: Hugo’s, Eventide Oyster Co. and The Honey Paw – Portland, ME
Mike Wiley, a 2018 James Beard Award winner, studied literature and creative writing at Colby College and rhetoric at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He worked at various kitchens in Colorado, including the Black Cat in Boulder, before returning to Maine. Hugo’s proved a perfect fit: a kitchen that fosters creativity and enjoys access to the finest ingredients. Mike is tickled to be cooking right here in the thick of it.
Events: Seafood Charcuterie Demo & the Grand Tasting at Sunday River
Sushi Chef & Restaurateur - NORWAY and Chef / Nordic Aquafarms - Belfast, ME
My name is Jonathan Romano, I am 43 years old, and am married to my Norwegian wife Anne Lene Romano. I have 3 adult children Celina, Julie and Sarah Romano. I was born in Manila but my family is originally from Samar in the Philippines. I came to Norway when I was 2 years old and have lived here since. I have adopted Norway as my home country, having lived in Oslo for over 40 years.
With my interest in food I stopped my marketing studies to learn more about cooking in a professional manner. I attended and took my degree at the biggest culinary college in Oslo. In fact I was the best student in my school’s history with A as my average score. I started my apprenticeship in one of the most iconic restaurants in the hills of Oslo called Holmenkollen Restaurant. My abilities let me fast-track my apprenticeship (one year) and lead to me passing my exams with distinction. I then worked freelance for about 1 year in a number of Michelin starred restaurants such as; Bagatelle (2 stars), Statholdergaarden (1 star). I also worked in the best hotels in Oslo such as; The Grand Hotel and Hotel Continental.
My area of expertise has always been seafood. This naturally led me to work with sushi, which was confined to only three restaurants in Oslo at the time that I started. I learned the intricate techniques quickly and felt that it was something I could excel in. After a year I got an offer to open a brand-new sushi restaurant that called Alex Sushi. This was the beginning of a historic period in the Norwegian sushi scene. Alex Sushi became the best restaurant in Norway and I am very proud to announce that I am one of the biggest sushi pioneers in Norway. I began to change the landscape of the cuisine by creating fusions between French and Japanese cuisine. I also began experimenting with a wider range of techniques and made my own twist; with a focus on Asian/Norwegian flair in the taste profile. I invented a lot of dishes that are used throughout the whole of Norway and in Scandinavia. I am so grateful that many restaurants are «copy» using my dishes that I have invented. It is so overwhelming, and I am humble over the fact that my food is adopted off so many Chefs.
Following my early successes, I was headhunted to open new sushi venues for several investors. These ventures were a huge success. After so many years of hard work I began to feel the need to establish myself independently and so I started my own sushi chain in Oslo called Jonoe. We were the most innovative company in the city and everybody had their eyes on us. Eventually, I moved away from the Jonoe concept and made my own personal brand Jonathan Sushi & Asian Dining. Under that name, I managed to open 4 franchises in Oslo and made some appearances in national television. In 2015 I made a partnership (merger) with an another sushi group in Norway and which became the countries largest sushi group. I was a co-owner of 16 restaurants throughout Norway. One of the highlights of that venture was my involvement in co-making Norways first sushi Michelin Stared Sushi Restaurant, which is named Sabi Omakase. I am so proud of this accomplishment specially when the head-chef was my apprentice in the earlier days. Another major accomplishment was when I head coached the world champion (Vladimir Pak) in the sushi World Cup 2017 in Japan. To win this title was a dream come true even if it was not me holding the Gold medal, I know I was a part of something amazing.
In the end of 2018 I decided to sell my shares in the sushi group and to focus more on working with production of the Norwegian Salmon. I am still opening restaurants but more as an investor. I have recently opened a restaurant in Kirkenes which is on the top of the Norwegian map. This year I am planning to open in Tromsø with a major focus to use local-, sustainable ingredients.
I also dream about to contribute in the restaurant business in USA to connect the Norwegian food, culture and products to strengthen sustainable production of food in the future. Also to be a pioneer to influence the Americans to eat more fish and shellfish. Make it more available and learning about the great opportunities for preparing fish dishes, and how easy it actually is. To be a front person to give the visions and the importance of land-farming and the benefits that this gives us. Educate the American people why fish is so important for us humans and for the environment. I want to show the diversity of eating fish raw, fried, grilled, baked etc. My visit to Portland is a fantastic starting point since this place is similar to Norway in many aspects. I am looking forward to be a part of SashiME and my attendant to the event. Hopefully to establish some contacts with influencers that completes my vision together with Nordic Aquafarms.
My plan is also to invest in the Philippines and by taking a piece of Norway back to my roots. I find myself in the perfect moment to do so as a Filipino/Norwegian, and with the tremendous potential of the Filipino market. My children are adults now and my wife is willing to move, which makes this vision of mine possible. My dream is to develop a concept that defines my love for cooking and my love for fish. My plan is to combine nutritious produce of the highest level, which will be transformed into a delicate blend of perfectly executed dishes. I want these dishes to create the sense of Norway meeting Asia, to express the best of both worlds.
I want to show the greatness of food making from different culture form the best produce from Norway.
- Events: SashiME Rising and the Grand Tasting at Sunday River