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Voyage To Alaska with Kirsten and Mandy Dixon

To be honest, we had to look up Tutka Bay on the map. FYI: it’s in Alaska.

Tutka Bay Lodge is located nine ocean miles from the charming seaside community of Homer, Alaska, along the Kachemak Bay. Access to the lodge is by a twenty-five minute water taxi south across the bay from Homer. Along the way, you might observe various shore and water birds, sea otters, sometimes Orcas, Humpbacks and other marine mammals.

That said, it was with pleasure that we did so. For when “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook” came across our desk and we started flipping through the pages of this wonderful tome, we knew that not only did we want to know more about it, but we also needed to find a way to get its authors, the mother/daughter culinary team of Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, on our show.

For those thinking that the food in the book may resemble something they may spot on the Kilcher Family dinner table in an episode of Discovery Channel’s Alaska: The Last Frontier, fear not, there’s not one Moose recipe in the book. No frontier cooks, both Kirsten and Mandy have been trained professionally, with Kirsten attending Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and Mandy the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu’s California outpost.

Chef Kitsten Dixon
Chef Kirsten Dixon
Chef Mandy Dixon
Chef Mandy Dixon


Yet, the inspiration for their culinary interpretation stays close to their home base on the coast of Alaska, where Kirsten and her husband Carl settled three decades ago to open The Tutka Bay Lodge on the coast of Kachemak Bay, now also home to the Cooking School at Tutka Bay; and Winterlake Lodge, a “fly-in only” lodge in Alaska’s Wilderness.

Winter Lake Laodge
Situated on the western edge of the Alaska Range, Winterlake lodge nestles on fifteen acres along Mile 198 of the Historic Iditarod Trail. The lodge overlooks Finger Lake where we land by float plane in the summer and ski plane in the winter. The property offers five individual guest cabins, a central main lodge, gardens, sled dog lot, and a sauna house. The hand built, knotty pine guest cabins provide luxury and cozy space to rest and rejuvenate after a day’s adventure.

Billed as a cookbook to celebrate “Coastal Cuisine from the Wilds of Alaska,” The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook is a glimpse into the sophisticated side of working with Alaska’s seafood-heavy food bounty. Sure, it’s got a bunch of Salmon and Crab dishes, and it certainly features recipe items that are of an Alaskan “foragers” origin like Bullwhip Kelp and fresh Rose Hips, but it’s in no way a locavore cookbook. It’s just a damn good cookbook that will inspire all who read it to delve into the well thought-out recipes that line its pages.

Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook
Winner of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Cookbook Award. Available nationwide.

To make things even more enticing, along the way The Tutka Lodge Cookbook is laced with recipes that show local ingredient-based dishes peppered with global inflections inspired from the many trips Kirsten and Mandy have taken in their never-ending quest to learn the world’s different cuisines and bring them home to their inquisitive clientele.

The Connected Table LIVE
Melanie Young and David Ransom are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. For us on Twitter@connectedtable. Listen to all our shows anytime on and the free iHeart App.

Two of Alaska’s most celebrated and inspiring chefs, we’re thrilled to welcome Kirsten and Mandy Dixon to The Connected Table LIVE! on Wednesday March 2, 2016, 2:25pmEST to talk about their Award-winning cookbook (winner: the IACP Cookbook Award), their Lodge-focused life in hospitality, and if we’re lucky, a quick tutorial on how to make Salmon Bacon (see recipe below.) Connect Follow: Twitter@withinthewild

Salmon Bacon with Rhubarb Lacquer Author: Kirsten Dixon

6 ounces alaska cold-smoked salmon lox (about 10 slices)
1⁄2 pound rhubarb, washed, trimmed, and chopped
1⁄2 cup honey
1⁄2 cup apple cider
1⁄2 shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon freshly ground coarse black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat the foil with spray release or with oil. Lay down each of the pieces of salmon onto the baking sheet. Set aside.

Place the rhubarb, honey, apple cider, shallot, and about a teaspoon of black pepper into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until the rhubarb is cooked and begins to fall apart. Add a little additional apple cider if more liquid is necessary.

Cook for about 30 minutes until the mixture has reduced down to a thick syrupy consistency.

Brush the salmon with the rhubarb lacquer. Place the baking sheet onto the center rack of the oven and bake for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the bacon is just crisp.
Makes about 10 slices of bacon.

By Melanie Young

The Connected Table is a media production company, radio show, podcast and blog specializing in wine, food and travel. Listen to The Connected Table LIVE and The Connected Table SIPS on iHeart and other major podcast platforms. Melanie Young and David Ransom are wine and food specialists, speakers and writers. We are experts in helping brands promote their products, destinations and services through custom content.