The opportunity to cook for people, traveling from all over the world, from all types of backgrounds and lifestyles, is the best part of the work Kirsten does. The opportunity to live creatively has allowed her the time to pursue her interests: food cookery, culinary literature, gardening, teaching, and writing.
Below is an excerpt from the Winterlake Lodge Cookbook that shares with you a little about Kirsten’s philosophy of cooking.
“When Carl was a boy he lived in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He was drawn to a life in the outdoors even then, despite his urban upbringing. Carl pedaled around the neighborhood on his bicycle delivering newspapers, played baseball, or spent time in the woods. On some days he would ride down a long, rolling road to a rural farmhouse, tidy and cozy and situated next to a little pond. Carl dreamed that someday he would live in a house like that, a house in the country alongside a pond.
When I was young I loved cookbooks and cooking, organizing recipes on file cards, and planning dinner parties for friends. I spent many an evening going to the local library and checking out my limit of books.
One book that made a particular impression on me was The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Adries de Groot. The book is a memoir of a trip de Groot took to a valley in France called La Grand Chartreuse. The writing conjures up a romantic sense of living close to nature and the wild. Evocative writing and chapters with titles such as “A Journey to a High and Lovely Place” transport us to a small French inn where two women introduce de Groot to remarkable mountain cuisine and unforgettable regional wines. I wanted to be just like those women who cooked at the Auberge. I wanted to take care of weary travelers as they stopped along their way to somewhere from somewhere else.
And now, Carl has a house alongside a pond and I spend my days cooking for travelers who find their way to our door.”
At Tutka Bay Lodge, the emphasis is on the ocean-based cuisine of Kachemak Bay, Alaska. I have learned to harvest oysters this summer and how to face a lingcod in the eye. We have a beautiful view of Tutka Bay right out the window. It’s a small but efficient workspace, and the massive deck outside serves as a second kitchen in the summertime.
Winterlake Lodge has the most recent kitchen Carl has built. It is still a work in progress because we have to fly all the supplies in to the lodge by airplane but every year we make improvements. We have a commercial walk-in refrigerator that has replaced our root cellar for storage of our summer veggies. In the winter, the refrigerator actually insulates from the cold. A big work table divides the room. People can pass in and out as they please but they can’t go beyond the table. We are adding in a new pastry area of the kitchen for Mandy, a private employee dining room and a dishwashing room.