February 03, 2012

Tlingit chef promotes local foods

Charismatic Tlingit chef raises awareness of Alaska's local food movement

By Alex DeMarbanIn Alaska, natural means everything from spruce tips to caribou to grasses and plants many residents know little about. Raising awareness in Alaska about the "store outside your door" is Kineen’s mission.

“People say Alaska is a food desert. You know, I’m Alaska Native, and my family was eating well long ago,” he said. When Kinneen was executive chef at Orso restaurant in downtown Anchorage, he spiced up menus with foods from the land whenever possible. Kinneen is on his own now. He's launched a website to promote his message and he's even been on NBC’s Today show, where he whipped up Thai rolls with Alaska prawns and fireweed.

Lately, Kinneen's also worked with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage on projects that have helped him document traditional foods and recipes throughout the state.
Comment:  For more on Native chefs, see Cherokee Nation Entertainment's Executive Chef and Cooking Academy Has Native Culinary Department.

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