"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." - Julia Child
In what has become the burgeoning economy of fine food that Portland has and still is becoming, Aurora Provisions is considered an institution among the community. For over 20 years in the same location, always independently owned (incidentally by women), we have grown from a small, neighborhood market and gathering place to a regionally celebrated, one-of-a-kind hybrid of great food. Whether in our ever growing and changing market, our café at the PMA or in our highly regarded catering department, Aurora has earned its place in the fiber of the food world.
The beauty of our food is in our commitment to seasonal products and menus. It’s a common sight to see the same trucks from our farmers’ market pulling up to our back door with everything from organic mushrooms & heirloom tomatoes to locally raised meat & fresh milk. We have spent 15 years nurturing our relationships with growers and farmers who are now counted as friends and family. We are proud members of SlowFood USA, MOFGA and support Maine’s growing sustainable and community supported agriculture endeavors.
Marika Kuzma Green
Marika, a trained artist, moved to Belfast, Maine as part of the “back to the land” movement of the 70s – not realizing that this was even a “thing” back then. Her mother, a Ukrainian schooled in Austria, instilled in her, at a young age, an innate sense and appreciation of good food, fresh ingredients, expert preparation. Having grown up with this thoughtful, homemade food, she brought this spirit with her to her new endeavors as a cook in Maine. She and Michael Hurley opened the Belfast Café in 1978 when sourcing a green head of lettuce or a fresh loaf of bread proved a challenge and quickly became colleagues with those in the growing local food movement. Later, she took this talent around Maine, South Beach and the Caribbean, on and off boats as a private chef and in upscale, gourmet market kitchens such as Lyon Frères, an institution known for bringing the European market experience to the US. Back in Maine, she served as an Executive Chef of MBNA for many years before landing in Portland in 2001, where she purchased Aurora Provisions and has been at its helm ever since. Aurora has provided the palette to combine all of her talents and provide a home base for a talented team of genuine and passionate people.
Leslie cut her teeth in the food business opening a dance club/café at Vassar College during her junior year while in the Film & English Departments. From there, it was her senior film thesis on Jamaican migrant apple farmers that instilled a love of farms and local products… She made lots of apple pies that Fall! Previous to her 15 years at Aurora, she managed the Impudent Oyster in Chatham, Mass. where she honed her cooking & catering skills. Her passion for local food led to her involvement with Cultivating Community where she served as a board member and past board president, Slow Food Portland’s steering committee and as a founding member of Maine Fare. She holds a Higher Certificate in Wine Studies from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. When she’s not conjuring up new & innovative catering menus, Leslie is happiest cooking with friends and family by the ocean.
Chuck is a Vermont native from a small ski town. Starting at the bottom like all true chefs, he quickly went from dishwasher to line cook at a young age. After spending his freshman year at Emerson College in Boston, he realized there was something missing, and enrolled at the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Coming to Maine 15 years ago, he has had the pleasure of being Sous Chef to Alison Cummings of the Star Fish Grill and Lee Skawinsky of Vignola/Cinque Terre. He is proud to be executive chef of Aurora Provisions where he effortlessly leads an innovative team, cultivated by his passion for the best ingredients and love of fine food.
Hannah Lake White
Hannah has been in love with food and hands on design since her first job at North Creek Farm in Phippsburg, Maine. Due to a background in theatre and communications, her events are the eclectic marriage of putting on a show, designed around a perfect meal. Over the past seven years working for Aurora, she has often worn many hats, allowing her to gain an understanding of the many facets of such an extensive business. Her credits also include manager to multiple recognized restaurants including Five Fifty-Five and Petite Jacqueline, where she cultivated her love of fine service and hospitality. Hannah is happy to be home at Aurora – a place where she can thrive, learn, and create.