The Pandemic Closed His MDI Restaurant, So Chef Carter Light Went All in on Sausage

Now he’s grinding out a living with Colvard & Company.

sausage made by Carter Light at Colvard & Company
By Will Grunewald
Photographed by Alberto Lopez
From our February 2022 issue

For his sausage biz, former Coda chef-owner Carter Light hired a Coda server as his sales rep, two cooks as his production assistants, and another cook as his delivery driver.

Carter Light opened Coda, in Southwest Harbor, in 2015, and its cozy dining room and comfort-food-meets-small-plates menu made it a bustling hangout. Then, the pandemic put it out of business. “I think I was in the same boat as a lot of people in that there wasn’t much of a backup plan,” Light says. “The restaurant was the plan, and it was working until all of a sudden it wasn’t.” He did, however, already have a small side hustle: house-made sausages were a Coda staple, and he had spun off a separate sausage venture, Colvard & Company, contracting out recipes to an independent processor. Once Coda was vacant, Light turned a nook into a production facility and moved the whole enterprise in-house. “It didn’t really explode until we started making everything ourselves,” he says. “That turned out to be such a selling point.” Now, markets and restaurants from Mount Desert Island down to Portland carry his sesame-sriracha, maple-sage, and massaman-curry links. “Everybody in the culinary world has that thing they really enjoy — butchering, molecular, baking, whatever — and sausages are mine,” Light says. “I think there’s something very cool about an end product that seems so simple but takes so much creativity and effort and precision to get right. At the end of the day, it’s a sausage, but that’s intriguing to me.”