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Alaska’s own Kirsten Dixon honored at UAA Celebrity Chef Invitational


For the first time in 20 years, an Alaska chef will play the starring role at University of Alaska Anchorage’s Celebrity Chef Invitational.

Chef Kirsten Dixon will take her turn as the event’s celebrity chef on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. in UAA’s Lucy Cuddy Hall. Dixon will oversee the preparation of a five-course meal with a focus on Alaska ingredients, a special theme in honor of the event’s 20th anniversary.

Working with 10 UAA culinary alumni and many volunteers to prepare the locavore extravaganza, the menu will feature Alaska seafood, farm-grown vegetables, wild berries and other Alaska specialties.

“This year’s event is all about locally grown and Kirsten is Alaska’s own locally grown celebrity chef,” said Timothy Doebler, UAA assistant professor and program director of culinary arts, hospitality/dietetics and nutrition.

Dixon has been involved in UAA’s culinary arts and hospitality program as an advisory committee member and teacher for more than 15 years. But she began her career in Alaska as a nurse. It was only when she moved into the backcountry that she developed her love of cooking and traveled to Paris to train at Le Cordon Bleu. She also received her master’s degree in gastronomy from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Today Dixon is widely known across Alaska as the co-owner and chef of Within the Wild Adventure Company. She’s been serving Alaska-inspired meals to visitors and Iditarod mushers alike at Winterlake Lodge for more than 20 years. More recently she and her family opened Tutka Bay Lodge and the Cooking School at Tutka Bay near Homer, as well as a home goods boutique and a café on the Homer Spit.

In October, Dixon will release the second edition of her award-winning Winterlake Lodge Cookbook with 30 new recipes and all new tales from her family’s life in the backcountry. Recipes range from Alaska salmon curry to wild blueberry and raspberry bars to green tomato salsa, made with tomatoes from her greenhouse.

The Celebrity Chef Invitational serves as a fundraiser as well as a showcase of the UAA culinary and hospitality program. Proceeds raised go to the University of Alaska Foundation and provide for scholarships, maintenance of educational, equipment and a state-of-the-art hospitality training center, faculty development and more.\

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, a café in Homer. 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. Kirsten writes a cuisine column for AlaskaDispatch.com and a travel column for HuffingtonPost.com. For more information on the company, go to www.withinthewild.com.

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