Food Frontier


Chef Rob Kinneen is on a mission to give Alaskan cuisine global prominence.

There’s something mysterious about Alaska. Maybe it’s the image of snowcapped mountains and vast, unpopulated territories. But, when it comes to Alaskan food, there’s so much more than just legends of whale blubber and seal meat.

In an age for taking everything local, Alaskan chef Rob Kinneen has made it his mission to educate the world about what people really eat in his native state.

He shares this information through local food dishes at Crush Wine Bistro & Cellar in Anchorage, where he works as the executive chef, and on (a nod to Alaska’s status as the 49th state).

The website, which is devoted to Alaskan food and cuisine, was started by Chef Kinneen and his wife, Carolyn, three years ago.

“The food circle in Alaska is broken,” says Kinneen, pointing to costly shipping conditions and the export of prized seafood. “We’re trying to bring light to what’s available here and now,” he explains, hoping to change the perceptions of the past 50 years, which he says “valued convenience in the form of frozen chicken and canned food.”

Truth is, Alaska boasts a foraging culture that’s unparalleled in the U.S. From beer made with Alaskan barley to the rare berries found in Fairbanks, Alaska is flush with unique delicacies that go far beyond the Dungeness crab and wild salmon that most people associate with the state. There’s much to be celebrated in Alaska’s indigenous food selections: wild asparagus from the southeastern beaches, iodine-rich bladderwrack seaweed, and medicinal tea made from devil’s club, a protected relative of ginseng.

“To me, these foraged foods are more representative of the food culture in Alaska,” says Chef Kinneen, who not only works with local foragers and forages a bit himself, but also buys direct from farms and regularly shops at the Anchorage farmers’ market for carrots, beets, and more during the state’s short warm season.


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