• Sitka Seafood Festival announces new director; will host art auction on Saturday, Oct. 5

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(The following letter to the editor originally appeared on Page 2 of the Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with the writer’s permission.)
 
ssflogo2The fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival (SSF) is scheduled for Aug. 1-2, 2014. The festival continues to grow each year. This past year we brought in more than 100 out-of-own guests, had some national recognition from a couple of well-known culinary magazines, and continued to have more and more local support. 
 
Over the past four years, we have had a small group of volunteers working extremely hard to follow through with our mission statement, to “celebrate wild Alaskan seafood.” We have done this through education, such as bringing in amazing speakers such as a 2012 McArthur Genius Award-winner David Montgomery, and accomplished author, professor and chef Becky Selengut to offer free presentations to the public. We also started the new culinary scholarship award this past year which we hope will continue to grow to give a passionate future culinary artist more experience and funds to pursue their career further. 
 
We offer entertainment, including local and headliner bands such as the well-known band Trampled by Turtles, aerial silk dancers, Ninja acrobatics, and of course, the addition of the Scottish Highland Games and this past year the full- and half-marathon. But, even with all the other fun events going on, the focus of our festival is based around celebrating the culinary aspect of our amazing, local seafood products.  
Carolyn Kinneen

Carolyn Kinneen

I am writing this letter today to introduce you to the new director and co-directors of the Sitka Seafood Festival. I am so extremely excited with the potential of where this festival can go. If anyone gets the pleasure to meet our new directors, I think they will share in my enthusiasm, because these folks encompass what this festival is all about, and I think it can only get better from here!  The 2014 SSF Director is Carolyn Kinneen, along with co-directors Jeren Schmidt and Robert Kinneen.  All past board members, including myself, are staying active with the festival. 

Carolyn Kinneen is wife to our four-time returning guest chef Robert Kinneen, and has been active in the festival since the start. She currently lives in Anchorage, but with the help of our local co-director, Jeren Schmidt, should be a wonderful fit.  Carolyn works in many different areas of food-related advocacy and policy, and sits on multiple boards pertaining to Alaskan-based foods.  She has experience in running a large array of projects including the TEDx Anchorage lecture series, as well as the Alaska Food Policy Council

We are very excited to have Carolyn on board. If anyone would like to hear more about Carolyn, or pick her’s or any other board member’s brains about the future SSF, we will be holding an open “meet and greet” at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct 4, at Baranof Island Brewing Company (215 Smith St.).  Come say hello and welcome Carolyn, Rob and Jeren to their new positions, and feel free to pass along any suggestions, concerns or input you may have. 

Thank you for your continued support Sitka!  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 5th annual SSF Aug 1-2, 2014. And please attend our upcoming fundraiser, the Live Art Auction with the Fishermen’s Eye Gallery, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 5, at the Westmark Sitka Hotel.

— Alicia Haseltine, past SSF Director, current board member

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• Alaska Journal of Commerce article spotlights local food offerings of Sitka chef Josh Peavey

Josh Peavey, right, talks over Baranof beer at a recent all-Alaskan dinner at Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar in Sitka. The entire menu down to the butter and the bread was made by Peavey with only Alaskan ingredients. (Courtesy Photo Josh Peavey)

Josh Peavey, right, talks over Baranof beer at a recent all-Alaskan dinner at Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar in Sitka. The entire menu down to the butter and the bread was made by Peavey with only Alaskan ingredients. (Courtesy Photo Josh Peavey)

The Dec. 23-29, 2010, edition of the Alaska Journal of Commerce statewide business weekly newspaper has a feature story about the local food offerings of Sitka chef Josh Peavey. The article also was featured in the Dec. 29-Jan. 4 issue of Capital City Weekly.

Peavey is the executive chef at the New Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar. He also owns The Alaskan Kitchen catering company. Peavey’s wife, Alicia, headed up the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival in August.

In the article, Peavey discusses his efforts to serve more local foods in his restaurant and catering meals, even if that means looking elsewhere in Alaska to find ingredients. In November, Peavey hosted an all-Alaska-ingredients fundraising dinner that included some produce from the Sitka Local Foods Network and several types of finfish and shellfish from a variety of Sitka fish companies. The meal also included pork from North Pole, reindeer sausage from Anchorage, dairy products from the Matanuska-Susitna valleys and even beer from Sitka’s own Baranof Island Brewing Co.

• Sitka Conservation Society hosts wild foods potluck and annual meeting on Saturday, Nov. 13

The Sitka Conservation Society, which helps sponsor the Sitka Local Foods Network, is hosting its community wild foods potluck and annual meeting from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

This annual event gives Sitka residents a chance to share meals made with locally foraged food, from fish and wild game to seaweed, berries and other traditional subsistence foods. Doors open at 5 p.m., with food service starting at 5:30 p.m. Families are asked to bring in dishes that feature local wild foods, and if you can’t bring in a dish that features wild foods you can use a wild plant to garnish a dish made with store-bought foods. Local cooks can enter their dishes in a wild foods contest, too. The event also features live music from the SitNiks and a short presentation on the Tongass Wilderness. There also will be booths about local programs and projects before food is served.

This event kicks off the Sitka Conservation Society’s “Wild Week,” which features events from Nov. 13-20. Another local foods-oriented event is the “Eat Wild” benefit dinner that takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the New Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar. Hors d’oeurves start at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Bayview chef Josh Peavey will prepare the meal, which also includes a sampling of locally produced beer from Baranof Island Brewing Company. Tickets for this special event are $60 each and available from Old Harbor Books and the Sitka Conservation Society.