Chef Dixon tabbed for Great American Seafood Cook-off

Photo/Andrew Jensen/AJOC

Gov. Sean Parnell and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute chose Chef Mandy Dixon to represent the State of Alaska at the Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans on Aug. 2.

A lifelong Alaskan, Dixon is the chef and owner of La Baleine Café, a seaside café on the Homer Spit. She also serves as Within the Wild Adventure Company’s pastry chef.

“Mandy is a talented chef,” said ASMI’s Communications Director Tyson Fick. “We already know she cooks well under pressure. We’re certain she’ll be a strong contender in this competition.”

Dixon will proudly represent Alaska in the annual cook-off that brings 19 chefs from across the country together to compete for the title of “best seafood chef in the nation.” Each chef will utilize ingredients from their home states. The cook-off is held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and is open to the public.

Other chefs will represent the states of Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Cook-off judges include Ben Pollinger, executive chef of Oceana restaurant in New York City; Kris Moon, senior director of strategy and development for the James Beard Foundation; Barbara Mathias, co-publisher and vice president of Food Arts magazine; Brian West, chef-instructor at CIA-San Antonio and Susie Selby, owner of Selby Winery.

“For the competition, I’ll be making an Alaska seafood ramen bowl with king crab beignets as a nod to the New Orleans locale,” Dixon said. “This dish has the ability to show Alaska’s diverse seafood and culture through the techniques and its ingredients.”

Dixon’s homemade ramen noodle dish tied her for second place in the Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off, held in Anchorage in 2013.

While Dixon grew up cooking alongside her mother, Chef Kirsten Dixon, at the family’s wilderness lodges, she completed her formal training at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, Calif. After working in restaurants for the next four years, she enrolled in the intensive pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif., in 2006. During school and following her graduation, she worked as a pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville, Calif., before returning to the family business in Alaska in 2010.

Dixon is the co-author alongside Chef Kirsten Dixon, of “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook — Coastal Cuisine from the Wilds of Alaska,” which will be released in October 2014. She was the food stylist for the second edition of “The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook,” published in October 2012.

07/23/2014 - 12:26pm