The University of Alaska Anchorage Culinary Arts Department hosted the 20th annual Celebrity Chef Invitational Sept. 19 at the Lucy Cuddy Hall.
This year, for the first time, an Alaska chef — Chef Kirsten Dixon — created the menu featuring all Alaska ingredients. Ten UAA Culinary Arts graduates assisted current students in preparing the menu. For the past 20 years, the event has been used to benefit the school's scholarship program.
Dixon, her husband Carl, and daughters Mandy and Carly are the owners of Within the Wild Adventure Co. The company owns the Winterlake Lodge, Redoubt Bay Lodge, Rustic Wild, the Tutka Bay Lodge and Cooking School at Tutka Bay, a home goods boutique and La Baleine Café in Homer.
Dixon has been cooking in the Alaska backcountry for more than 20 years with culinary degrees from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and Adelaide University in Australia. She's studied and cooked around the world, and an updated version of her second cookbook — "The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook" — is due out this month.
Dixon's menu featured silver salmon, king crab, wild mushrooms, Kachemak Bay oysters, Alaska vegetables, beef tenderloin and a cheesecake with wild raspberry sauce.
The event raised more than $40,000 for the scholarship program, boosted by a $20,000 donation from the Cuddy family.