The Butcher & The Baker is comprised of Jessica and Esben Raahede. The two are partners both in business and life, and complement each other where one lacks. Jessica having spent years working with a local butcher shop, learned the art of whole carcass breakdown, and more importantly, the importance of sourcing mindfully and sustainably raised meats. This only added to her skill sets, having already obtained a degree from The CulinaryInstitute of America and spent years training as a chef. Though she identifies with the title of “TheButcher” she more strongly defines herself as a woman who loves food.
Esben, of course, fills the role of “The Baker.” Born and raised in Denmark, he spent years looking up to his grandfather, a professional baker in Århus. As he discovered his own passion for baking, he developed a particular knack for sourdoughs and the rye breads the Danes are so well known for. Esben doesn’t describe himself as a professional baker, but rather one who can prepare what his mother has taught him, of which she learned from her own father. To Jessica, his bread is the best she’s ever tasted.
The way that these two ended up crossing paths is a serendipitous tale of good timing. The long story being too long to tell here. The short story is that they met while they sailed aboard a large Norwegian sailing ship in international waters. Their relationship bloomed just as they decided they had enough of the sailing world and were looking to come ashore. In the most literal sense, they were hoping to become more grounded and Maine was a natural choice. They talked a lot of how they envisioned their life on land and always they talked of their passion for growing food, of knowing where their food comes from, and of further culinary preparations to transform that food into a meal shared with others.
How fortuitous when they found themselves living on Oaklands Farm, a working farm in Gardiner, Maine producing grass-fed beef, lamb, pigs, and chickens. It was here that they planted a vegetable garden and dreamed of hosting dinners overlooking the fields, where the diners shared a table with the farmers, and the farmers shared their story of growing the food. It was a full-circle vision in the simplest of terms, a true farm-to- table, or rather, table on farm.
And so they have taken that original vision, one that they did see through (and still do, in a sense) and have reworked it to be able to share beyond their home. While they still host dinners on the farm, they also are able to translate their passion from away. Whether it is in the form of catering private events, weddings, business lunches, or family dinners, they hold true to their ideals of mindfully prepared food. They consider this less a profession, and more a passion.
The Butcher & The Baker, LLC encompasses an idea and it is one of community, connectivity, hard work, and sustainability. What they can offer is a meal tailored specifically to their customer’s needs, with ingredients that are sourced locally and prepared in a way that honors the efforts taken to produce it. To Esben and Jessica, that is what real food is.