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Tea With a View at Southern Maine Community College

Tea With a View at Southern Maine Community College

At a new tea service in South Portland, the chefs get credit for their crumpets.

By Michaela Cavallaro
Photographed by Danielle Sykes

Hospitality and culinary students at Southern Maine Community College hone their chops at the Peter A. McKernan Hospitality Center, a restored 1902 Fort Preble officers’ quarters overlooking Casco Bay. There, they run an eight-room inn, cater weddings, and, since June, host a monthly Sunday-afternoon tea on a glassed-in porch. Tea & Tides guests enjoy savory bites, scones, and sweets, nearly all house-made and the product of extensive student testing. Quinn Beckler, a sophomore who helped develop the program, says he’s gotten schooled in scones; the flaky, barely sweet affairs pair perfectly with the clotted cream he preps for each event. Students tried five different versions of a roast beef, Boursin, and asparagus sandwich before landing on one wrapped in soft multigrain bread and held together with a neatly knotted chive. It’s an elegant way to end a weekend — though that’s only half the point. “Part of my mandate is to be public-facing,” McKernan Center executive chef Jill Hannaford says. “The other part is to challenge our students.”

Tea & Tides is held year-round, every three or four weeks. $29.75 per person, seatings by reservation only. 207-741-5672.