‘Mumbai to Maine’: A true feast for the senses

Posted:  Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 8:15am
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A dash of humor, liberal sprinkling of personal stories, a splash of gorgeous cinematography featuring the Boothbay region and Mumbai, blended well … just a snippet of the recipe used for the pilot of a new six-part series “Mumbai to Maine.”

The pilot for this new cooking show, created by Cherie Scott, directed by Ryan Leighton, cinematography by Cody Mitchell, and opening theme song and reprise composed by Guy Scott premiered at the Harbor Theater Dec. 11 to a full house. The ticketed event, the proceeds of which went to benefit BRTV Media Center, featured live music by Max Ater and feasting on an array of foods, from those with an Indian flair to original dishes created by local chefs.

The project took six months to film. Over 600 shots were captured. The finished 24-minute piece consisting of 34,346 frames was edited by Mitchell and Leighton, both natives of Boothbay, over two weeks. In his opening comments, Leighton said of his friend and co-collaborator, “Cody is the one who made the project look good.” And those in the audience can attest to what a stunning, engaging finished product it is.

The creative pair edited in shifts. “I’d forge ahead with the story and Cody would finesse and make sure everything worked effectively on a technical level,” shared Leighton post-premiere. “We know we want to cover different types of stories as they relate to the seasons. Right now our priority is to keep filming and developing a unique narrative and voice for the show. Making a television show that's appealing both for a local and national audience is our main goal for this series. There are elements from the pilot that will develop into larger things. It’s all about the stories.”

“What really matters is the experience,” Mitchell told the audience. “We grew up here. For me, re-seeing and re-experiencing the beauty in this region (while filming) I thought, how do we present it to someone who hasn’t seen it?”

Cherie Scott’s story takes us with her to  Mumbai, India, the home of her childhood, her family, her mom’s cooking, the tantalizing scents of the foods cooked by the street vendors that remain vivid to this day; the family’s move to Canada and Cherie’s move to New York City where she met Guy, their move to Maine; her love of cooking for family and friends and her love for the Boothbay region and the community here.

The parallel narrative is that of Kim Martin who with her partner Denise Demeter owns Eventide Specialties on Boothbay House Hill Road in Boothbay Harbor. Everyone around these parts knows Eventide is the place to go for olive oils from all over the globe – extra virgin, to be sure, fused, infused and specialty oils.

The friendship of Scott and Martin, and their shared passion for cooking and food, are explored in the pilot. Martin arrives at Eventide at 3 a.m. seven days a week and begins making the breads. In the film, Martin tells us what a joy it is to be up at that hour doing what she loves to do. She notes the sounds of the lobster boats and how comforting it is to hear them; how connected she feels to the community. Martin said she was very pleased with the pilot. “They did a great job,” she said smiling. “Just great!”

Throughout the film, the connection with community and nature felt by those in the film – and residents in the audience – blend seamlessly with the preparation and sharing of food. In this case, yummy Indian dishes.

Now, Cherie Scott is a mighty potent force, which means she’s always in motion. So, when she says in the film, “Maine has totally slowed me down” a knowing chuckling arose from the audience.

When Scott is preparing school lunches for her children, Sophia and Justus, and she cuts the crust from a PBJ, again there is an audible response – though subtle.

The footage in Mumbai was captured by Jon Homer, the son of the Scott family’s neighbors Jane and Jerry Homer.  Jon works in India periodically.

The scenic shots of the Boothbay region are emotionally stunning. The visuals, for the Boothbay region viewers, will remind them of why they live here and make viewers from away wish they did!

All of the voiceovers were recorded in Guy Scott’s studio, G3Logic Media Design. Working on “Mumbai to Maine” was the second time Guy worked with Leighton and Mitchell, the first being “The Boothbay Region: A Place to Call Home.”

“Those guys are about as creative as they come. This region is so lucky!” Guy Scott said. “As far as ‘Mumbai to Maine’ is concerned, I've created music for many video projects through the years, but seeing this project start as an idea in Cherie's head, and then watching it unfold on that screen ... and hearing my music play as Cherie narrates... It was just an amazing thrill for me. So proud of her!”

At the “Mumbai to Maine” pilot premiere, the Mumbai dishes at the premiere, prepared by Eventide Specialties, included black beluga lentil dahl shooters with garlic butter Naan toast points; warm roasted curried chickpea salad, and chicken tikki masala kebabs with a cilantro mint chutney. Original Maine fare: Chef Stephen Richards prepared oak smoked Maine lobster charred corn chowder with Aroostook county potatoes, the bacon man back-strap bacon, chervil and lobster shell cream, warm strata crouton and tamale butter; Chef Michael Whitney of Family Thyme Catering & Culinary Events with Sedgley Place served his roasted chicken and corn fritters with island curry drizzle and poultry skin cracklins; Chef Dick Reid of Thistle Inn served cornbread with honey butter and soppressata crumbs and a Finnan Haddie dip with house chips. Blueberry Cardamom Tarts, Vanilla Chai Cupcakes, and maple sugar cookies with vanilla drizzle were the Maine and Mumbai inspired desserts by Jennifer Keegan. And Coastal Maine Popcorn Company provided bags of handmade gourmet maple Maine popcorn, handed out minutes before the premiere. Boothbay Craft Brewery craft beer, Thistle Inn’s wine and sangria, and the Merry Auld Tea Company’s Eventide Chai were donated.

Cherie Scott said the goal was to show people how life should be lived, not to tell them, while sharing that passion for cooking and sharing good food with family and friends. We can't wait to produce the rest of the series and keep showing the world what it’s like to live in Maine and especially how privileged we are to be a part of our close-knit community.”

The inspiration and sense of belonging that feeds the spirit and the outstanding natural beauty of the Boothbay region that feeds the soul are important ingredients for the series.

“It’s a kernel and we’re waiting for it to pop,” said Leighton.

Cherie Scott has already begun pitching the pilot to production houses and media channels in Maine and nationwide. “My dream for this pilot would be to shoot an entire episode from Mumbai.”

If you missed the premiere and haven’t seen the pilot for “Mumbai to Maine,” visit https://vimeo.com/306001053