Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 9:42 PM on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Within the Wild Adventure Co. expands offerings



Staff Report


 

Photo courtesy Within the Wild Adventure Co.

originally a World War II troop carrier, then a crabbing boat, the Widgeon II has been repurposed yet again into a cooking school. Located on a lagoon across from Tutka Bay Lodge, the boat was moored to shore during a high tide by the previous owner, who then built a two-story wooden structure onto the deck. With some added renovations by the Dixons, the Widgeon II is now a rustic outpost adapted for cooking classes, large enough for 12 guests per day, and special events.

Within the Wild Adventure Company, best known as the operator of three remote Alaska wilderness lodges, opened new doors last month with a small retail store on the Homer Spit and a new home for the Cooking School at Tutka Bay.

RusticWild is a home goods boutique that reflects the Within the Wild Adventure Company lifestyle and its seaside home, according to a press release. It opened May 5 on the Spit, the departure point for visitors headed to the company's Tutka Bay Lodge, a 30-minute water taxi ride away across Kachemak Bay.

"Our store is a personal collection of objects that we enjoy," said co-owner and chef Kirsten Dixon. Those objects include organic bath products, gardening seed collections, Japanese glass floats, linens from France, and gourmet foods, such as kale chips.

Homer visitors who want more than a snack can head to the Cooking School at Tutka Bay, which offers globally themed cooking classes with locally sourced ingredients for day-trippers or Tutka Bay Lodge overnight guests.

While the school launched with chef Dixon at the helm last year, it officially opened the doors to its permanent home, the Widgeon II, this month.

Originally a World War II troop carrier, then a crabbing boat, the Widgeon II has been repurposed yet again into a cooking school.

Located on a lagoon across from Tutka Bay Lodge, the boat was moored to shore during a high tide by the previous owner, who then built a two-story wooden structure onto the deck.

With some added renovations by the Dixons, the Widgeon II is now a rustic outpost adapted for cooking classes, large enough for 12 guests per day, and special events.

While classes are offered daily, the cuisine themes change weekly. A schedule and reservation details can be found online at www.withinthewild.com.

Japan-based chef and cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh will be a guest teacher at the lodge in late July. She will conduct a series of classes, based on her two latest books, "Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen" and "Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions."

The Widgeon II will also host a writer's retreat from Sept. 2-5, led by the national bestselling author of "Devotion," Dani Shapiro.

The Dixons are currently building a wharf from the lodge to the Widgeon II, so some classes are also taught on the Tutka Bay Lodge main deck, seaside west deck or in the main lodge.

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, Redoubt Bay Lodge, Tutka Bay Lodge, the Cooking School at Tutka Bay and RusticWild.

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 is currently at work on her third cookbook, and writes a weekly cuisine column for AlaskaDispatch.com.

For more information or to make a reservation at the Within the Wild Adventure Company's remote wilderness lodges and the Cooking School at Tutka Bay, go to www.withinthewild.com.

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