Local and Northern Foods
Northern Inspired, Globally Edible
Local Foods Demonstration / Friday Lunch
Arctic Foods Tasting / Saturday 5 -7 PM
Sirpa Welch is the Executive Chef at the Consulate General of Finland and owner of Scandinavian Kitchen in LA.
“As long as I can remember cooking has been a part of my life. I gained a love and appreciation for traditional Finnish food from my mother and grandmother. It was only natural that I dedicate my future and pursue a career in the culinary arts. I attended the Culinary School in Finland 1992-1995. Immediately following graduation I developed my experience by working with selected restaurants in Finland. I was afforded an opportunity to work with the Consulate of Finland in Los Angeles. I have been able to develop good business relationships with the current and former consuls as well as the guests over the past 21 years. Many of our guests in Los Angeles are health conscious and particular about what they eat, so I make sure we always have good selection of fresh local organic produce.
I have been the executive chef at the Consulate of Finland since 1997 and I established Scandinavian Kitchen in LA in 2016. It is a privilege to be able to represent my country and its culture through the cooking and event preparation.”
Sigurdur Helgason began his career at The Perlan restaurant in 1998, and shortly after he was voted Comme of the Year in 1999. Between 1999 and 2001 he worked for the president’s office of Iceland as a pre-vide chef assistant under strong guidance of Sturla Birgisson. He graduated with highest honors in 2001. During his career he worked in Luxembourg, England, Ireland and New York to build an impressive reputation. In 2010 he started working at Grillið, and he became head chef in 2011. Siggi placed 8th in the world-renowned Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France, in 2015. Siggi is the executive chef of the Radisson Blu Saga hotel, where he overlooks all 3 venues, including Grillið.
Frida Johansson has served as the Executive Chef of Sweden’s Ambassador to the United States of America since May 2010.
Frida has extensive fine dining experience at renowned restaurants such as the Park Avenue Café and Valand in her native Sweden, Kommilfoo and Bernardin in Belgium, and the Mudbrick Vineyard in New Zealand as well as other restaurants in Sweden, Italy, and Austria.
Frida’s creativity, versatility, and dedication to detail is manifested primarily through New Nordic cuisine, with ingredients local to the capital region reinvented through the lens of Scandinavian techniques and traditions. Unlike many of her Nordic peers, however, Frida is far from a minimalist when it comes to plating. Her desserts – sometimes whimsical, often awe-inspiring – have included edible snowglobes and chocolate nougat pinecones, among others.
Frida has been the Executive Chef for three Swedish Ambassadors to the United States: Jonas Hafström, who recruited her based on the recommendation of acclaimed Swedish chef Leif Mannerström, Björn Lyrvall, and Karin Olofsdotter, the current Ambassador.
Frida’s job is more than just cooking; as Executive Chef, she is responsible for developing and executing a food diplomacy program. Every year, Frida feeds more than 7,000 guests at the Residence of the Swedish Ambassador and House of Sweden, each of whom leaves with a new experience of Swedish culture informed by what they taste, smell, and see on their plate. For this reason, Swedish values of environmentalism also play a role in Frida’s work, from buying responsibly sourced meat and fish to minimizing the carbon footprint of a menu.
In recent years, Frida has been able to share her food more widely through media coverage by NPR, Fox 5 News, Diplomatic Connections, and the Georgetown Dish as well as through exhibitions in other American cities. You can follow her on Instagram at @swedishembassychef.
Chef Aaron Apling-Gilman graduated with honors from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. After graduating, he quickly rose through the kitchen ranks, and by the age of 26 had achieved Executive Chef/Restaurant Manager at River’s Edge Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska. This position changed his life through many new learning experiences that eventually led to his decision to step back to continue his culinary education.
Aaron then worked as a chef under Chef Michael Rusconi at Lon’s in the boutique hotel Hermosa Inn in Phoenix, Arizona. He then moved on to take the Sous Chef position at The Old House Restaurant in Sante Fe, New Mexico under the tutelage of Chefs Brian Cooper, Eugene Staples, and Charles Kassels. Before returning to Alaska, Aaron helped Chef Charles Kassels reopen the Paradise Valley landmark, El Chorro Lodge.
Aaron is an avid fisherman and hunter, skills he aptly developed from his grandparents, and also enjoys foraging when time allows. As the Executive Chef of Seven Glaciers, Aaron brings his knowledge of the unique Alaskan culinary landscape to create an experience that is focused on guest satisfaction and education through local, Alaskan cuisine. Dealing with as many local purveyors & farmers as possible from Kenai to the Mat-Su Valley, Aaron’s goal is to establish a sense of place and broaden culinary horizons.
Within the Wild Adventure Company’s mother-and-daughter chef team, Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, bring guests a unique culinary experience alongside Alaska’s outdoor adventures at their family’s backcountry lodges. Guests experience a sense of place through the flavors of seasonal and regional ingredients. As the owner and chef of La Baleine Café in Homer, Mandy continues that focus, serving up homemade dishes that feature the freshest local seafood and produce.
The Dixons also share Alaska cuisine on a global stage as Culinary Ambassadors of the U.S. State Department American Chef Corps; featured chefs at the James Beard American Restaurant in the USA Pavilion at the Expo Milano in Italy; guest chefs aboard both Silversea Cruises and Holland America Line cruise ships; and featured chefs at the James Beard House in New York. Mandy also represented Alaska in the Great American Seafood Cook Off in New Orleans in August 2014.
The Dixons co-authored the IACP-award-winning “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook — Coastal Cuisine from the Wilds of Alaska” in 2014, a follow-up to the second edition of “The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook,” published in 2012. Both cookbooks feature favorite dishes served at each lodge, while sharing stories of life in Alaska’s backcountry.
Kirsten Dixon has been cooking in the backcountry of Alaska for more than 30 years. She attended the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and earned a master’s degree in gastronomy from Adelaide University in Australia. Mandy Dixon grew up in her mother’s kitchen, going on to train at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California, and the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California. She also worked as a pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville, California, for several years before returning to the family business.
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, Tutka Bay Lodge, the Cooking School at Tutka Bay, home goods boutique RusticWild and La Baleine Café, all in Southcentral Alaska.