Maddi and Casey's Wedding

I claim to be a bipolar chef... a chef that travels pole-to-pole each year, but maybe the bipolarness is starting to leech more into my lifestyle. In my last post you can see that I was off in a remote forest at a rustic cabin gettin dirty for the weekend, barefoot and in tanktop, and now I'm in a full blown tux, which by the way I haven't been in in what... 17 years? My first question when I arrived to the wedding, "so when can I put my flip flops back on?"

Whoever spends a long, dark winter at the South Pole (less than 1300 people ever in history) gets a congressional medal of honor recognizing our bravery and dedication to polar science. Since the groom just graduated from West Point and was in his military jacket I decided to spice things up a bit and throw this on. It invoked lots of curiosity from the military men. Although Antarcticans don't shoot guns or run from bullets we do have to deal with the most extreme environmental and psychological conditions while spending a winter at South Pole. The history of Antarctic exploration is doted with plenty of failures, so trust me, it takes some guts and ingenuity to make a living down there.

Emma, Nora and Cody. Many years apart and in so many ways extreme.

The bride, my cousin, Maddi Klosterman. This young lady is the first cousin in the family to get married. Congrads. Of course, at the reception, folks began asking me when I was going to get married since I'm the eldest grandchild... probably never. Marriage ain't for me. But, if I meet a Pochahontas that can cruise down the same river of life in her own canoe (or kayak) and be a companion and be wild, then sure, let's ride.

Uncle Jim, father of the bride, and the bride.

The vows.

The rockstar of the family, Uncle Steve from Boston.

The beginning of dinner.

With only 1% camera battery power left I didn't take anymore photos of the dinner and reception. But, when I went back in time to the 1800s I just had to take my jacket off, put my flip flops back on and pull out my camera to remember that exact moment and awesome photo op (right before cousin Paul and I got kicked out of the antique tool workshop).


Unplugged in Hocking Hills

Eight years ago I stumbled upon a remote, rustic cabin hideway in Hocking Hills and to this day it is the most economical and placid retreat I have found so far in Ohio. Thus, I will keep it a secret sanctuary. With one week left before I journey to the Arctic it is now time to unplug from the grid and get back into the wild. This is my temple...

This was a good time to get to know my new camera. My objective: nature and the 200 year old hand built cabin. Although a cheap digital camera, it does produce some good quality shots as long as there is ample light. From here on out I will be outside in 24/7 daylight or in a kitchen setting, so light shouldn't be a problem for capturing the ice-free Arctic (?) or delicious Arctic cuisine. Nor will it be a problem when I journey to Antarctica in October where it will be once again... 24/7 daylight. Now begins my one year long summer.

Natural gas provides the local grid.

The pond.




3-days alone in the backcountry... my intentions became fixated on food, fire and photos. No internet and cell reception, thank goodness.

Owls, foxes, deer and a beaver were seen every day.

I wanted to gig a dozen or so bullfrogs for din din, but without any info on the ecoystem I wouldn't want to run the risk of wiping out the whole population... so steamed brocolli, cheesy noodles, sardines and an apple it was.



Top Chef in Kentucky

This morning I was given a chance to assist the operations of the Top Chef national tour. This gave me a behind-the-scenes opportunity to see how the chefs function, present and shed interest... i.e., the smiles and jokes. The two competing chefs (Eli and Richard) threw out some personal stories, which I could feel stirred interest in the crowd and I thought to myself, boy (or girl), if I ever had to chance to tell my personal stories while cooking in front of an audience the folks would never believe me; chased by a 600 lb bear on Kodiak, chased by angry one ton walruses while kayaking, successfully defended myself from a 5 foot shark in Florida with nothing but a knife, deep fried scorpions in Costa Rica, spent 9 months in isolation at South Pole doing nothing but cooking, died and came back to life... and that's just the tip of the iceberg. So, anyways, here's the scene at Krogers in Hebron, KY at 8 AM.

The competing chefs called the Cincinnati Culinary Art Institute and picked three volunteer cooks to help with the back kitchen tasks. While the two chefs are doing their 15-minute battle these three sweating cooks are preparing plates for the audience to try. Here are the three talking about the day's rundown.

And my job... low and behold... high and in front... was to hand out those plates to the audience and register the guests as they walked in. My partner... a beautiful ex-Bengals cheerleader.

The chefs...

Showing the cooks what to put out for the audience...

and figuring out how to hide the secret ingredient.

Hey, I know that face from a cookbook my Nannie gave me before heading down to the South Pole. More Cooking with Marilyn > found at South Pole. Marilyn Harris was one of the judges.

Everyone seated, time to cook.

More Judging by Marilyn.

At the last competion the Kroger's chef squad came out to watch the festivities.

Yeah, the field of cooking has a lot of opportunities. The reason why I got into cooking was to see new faces and new places. I never know what the next kitchen will bring...

Right before I left I got to see the chefs do a private demo and here's what they came up with...