Page 14 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
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 Local C hefs, G lobal Talent Creativity, Fusion and Exploding Flavor story and photos by Scott Vlaun
 The open kitchen at Le Mu Eats’ new location on Main Street in Bethel provides an immersive experience into a seasonal cuisine with influences from the American South, Asia, and beyond.
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”
~ James Beard
It seems that western Maine is seeing a resurgence of creative food to meet a pent-up demand, and three (sort of) newcomers have emerged as fresh stars on the scene. All have found a unique approach to revitalizing restaurant spaces, new and old, with a fusion of cuisines, sometimes in unusual, but fortuitous combinations. These include Sushi Tacos, an Asian treatment of Southern fried chicken, and a Main Street pizzeria, transitioning from Pan Pizza to hand-tossed sourdough pies with the finest Italian ingredients. All three sport partially open kitchens where diners can share in the enthusiasm of the chefs as they ply their craft. In all three restaurants, I couldn’t help noticing the gratitude expressed by the customers, who appreciated the passion and commitment of these folks who are working hard to feed these unique dishes to their communities and visitors alike.
Laotian Fusion In Bethel
Le Mu (“The” in French, and “Pig” in Laotion) Eats was a fixture in Bethel long before the owners bought and remodeled the former Café DiCocoa into Bethel’s hottest new restaurant. Their long journey began in the American South, where chef Sayvepen Sengsavang hails from, and ended up in Maine where Elise Sengsavang has her roots. The couple has found a home fitting of the creative cuisine that has won the hearts and tastebuds of, not only those from Bethel, but they’ve become a favorite stop on the foodie trail for miles around.
The decade-long journey began in Virginia where “Sav” and Elise created a series of pop-up dining experiences where they would transform an existing
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