Within the Wild Adventure Company opens La Baleine Café on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula
Within the Wild Adventure Company’s executive pastry chef Mandy Dixon will officially open the doors to her family’s new seaside café, La Baleine, in Homer, on May 9.
After a soft opening and a few private events late last summer, the café will serve breakfast and lunch daily through the summer from its location on the Homer Spit. Within the Wild Adventure Company, run by the entire Dixon family, owns the home goods boutique, RusticWild, next door, as well as Tutka Bay Lodge and the Cooking School at Tutka Bay, situated across Kachemak Bay. The family owns an additional wilderness retreat, Winterlake Lodge, northwest of Anchorage.
Working in partnership with her mother, Within the Wild Adventure Company co-owner and chef Kirsten Dixon, the younger Dixon designed a menu of traditional and modern rustic-style Alaska dishes and pastries for the café. The cuisine places a heavy emphasis on locally sourced and grown ingredients from around the Kachemak Bay area.
Armed with ingredients from the Homer farmers market, La Baleine Café will feature a frittata of the day made with fresh veggies, Alaska grown potatoes, thick-cut bacon, homemade ketchup and hearty greens. Another menu highlight, the salmon bowl, will feature brown rice, roasted root vegetables including beets, seasonal greens and grilled salmon served with a miso ginger dressing.
Within the Wild Adventure Company will donate a percentage of the café’s proceeds to Cook Inletkeeper, a community based non-profit organization with a mission to protect the habitat of Cook Inlet.
“Opening a café is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Dixon said. “Since we bought Tutka Bay Lodge, our family has become more involved in the Homer community and formed relationships with fishermen and local food purveyors. The café will be another way for us to interact with our neighbors, as much as we do with the travelers who visit our lodge and cooking school. Food brings everyone together.”
As the company’s pastry chef, Dixon assists in overseeing the kitchen staff at Tutka Bay Lodge and Winterlake Lodge; helps to manage the Cooking School at Tutka Bay; develops new recipes and assists with special events. Working alongside her mother, Dixon has served as a guest chef on Holland America Line, American Safari Cruises and Silversea Cruises and in 2009 was a featured chef at the James Beard House in New York. She was the food stylist for the recent edition of the “Winterlake Lodge Cookbook,” published in October 2012.
Dixon grew up in Alaska’s backcountry at the remote wilderness lodges that her family owns. She left Alaska in 2002 to train at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, Calif. Four years later, in 2006, she enrolled in the intensive pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif. During school and following her graduation, she worked as a pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville, Calif. She returned to the family business in 2010.
About Within the Wild Adventure Company
Within The Wild Adventure Company is a partnership, in existence since 1983, between Carl and Kirsten Dixon and their daughters, Carly and Mandy Dixon. The family owns and operates Winterlake Lodge; Tutka Bay Lodge; the Cooking School at Tutka Bay; a home goods boutique, RusticWild; and La Baleine Café, all in Southcentral Alaska. Both Kirsten and Mandy are Le Cordon Bleu-trained chefs, who have cooked and studied with chefs as far ranging as Julia Child and Thomas Keller. For more information on the Within the Wild Adventure Company’s remote wilderness lodges and the Cooking School at Tutka Bay, go to www.withinthewild.com