Brian Hill is the owner and chef of the acclaimed Francine Bistro, a bustling culinary hot spot hidden away above the harbor in the small coastal village of Camden, ME. Chef Brian purchased the restaurant in September 2003, and expanded the dining room in 2007 from 25 seats to 44. The bistro features an innovative daily menu consisting of appetizers, salads, and entrees, created almost entirely from local organic, meat, fish, vegetables and cheeses. The breads, desserts, and even the ice cream are all made from scratch.
Brian credits his appreciation for the organic farming industry to his upbringing on his family’s organic Maine vegetable and goat dairy farm. His first professional cooking job, as a bread baker, was with Todd English at the original Olives restaurant in Charlestown, Massachusetts, before moving to the main kitchen for additional training. Brian worked the brick ovens and stoves at Chef English’s ground breaking pizzeria, Figs. In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles and cooked Euro-Californian cuisine at Rockenwagner in Santa Monica. From there, Hill was offered a sous chef position at the Mauna Lani hotel in Hawaii under former Rockenwagner chef, Trey Foshee. After a two and a half year stay in Hawaii, Hill took a position at Susan Spicer’s legendary Bayona in New Orleans. Soon after, Brian felt a longing for New England and eventually returned to Boston. He took a position as chef at two of Todd English’s restaurants. While in Boston, Hill also assisted chef Rene Michelena in opening Centro, a tiny rustic trattoria in Cambridge which drew rave reviews. He cooked barbeque at the Linwood Grill, was chef de cuisine at the elegant French bistro, Aquitane, and pulled a three month stint in Manhattan “indie kitchen” Patio Dining.
Then like a salmon, the ambitious young chef headed home to Maine in search of a little bistro to call home. In the years Hill has owned Francine Bistro, the restaurant has gathered a loyal following for all four seasons drawing in travelers from near and far.