Annemarie Ahearn: Founder, Salt Water Farm

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Annemarie Ahearn founded Salt Water Farm in 2009, a cooking school for home cooks on Maine’s Penobscot Bay. She began her studies at Colorado College, during which time her interest in food developed while living in Aix-en-Provence, where she studied Provincial cuisine and visited the open-air markets.  Later, she apprenticed in the kitchen at Le Jardin Notre Dame in Paris. While in New York, Annemarie worked in the editorial department at Saveur Magazine and wrote a biweekly food column for The L Magazine, entitled the “Downtown Chef.” After attending the Institute of Culinary Education with a degree in both Culinary Arts and Culinary Management she worked for Dan Barber at Blue Hill Restaurant, as personal assistant to Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants and as a personal chef in New York. She also worked at the Slow Food Headquarters and before opening Salt Water Farm, she taught classes at “Cook and Taste,” a small, recreational cooking school in Barcelona.  Before turning 30, Ahearn was named “Top 30  Under 30” in Food & Wine Magazine, “changing the way America eats.” 

In 2013, Ahearn opened Salt Water Farm Cafe & Market in Rockport Harbor Maine, offering locally sourced fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner and garnered acclaim in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Boston Globe as well as Bon Appetite, DownEast Magazine and Maine Magazine.  Ahearn is also a contributing writer for DownEast Magazine, sharing recipes from her school and regularly teaches high school students in her community cooking skills through a program she calls “Back to Basics.”   

What do I do best?

Teach my students that there’s nothing to be afraid of in the kitchen.

What makes me the best version of myself?


What are my aspirations?

While this may seem silly, I’m ten years into building the business of my dreams and I just had my first child. I’m pretty content. I’d like to write a memoir by the time I’m forty.

My Biggest Success?

Making the leap from NYC to the wilds of Maine. Building a life here.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I opened a restaurant. It lasted for three years. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.

My Motto?

Work hard but know when to relax. Enjoy this life.  

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Nigel Slater. I love his work. 

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Oaxaca, Mexico . . . I go back every year. And of course, my home on the coast of Maine.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I don’t really care for objects the way I care for people and places. I try not to attach myself to anything.

My Current Passions?

Outside of cooking and entertaining, I love horses and riding them.