Kinley's Chef Nominated for National Culinary Award
Brett Knipmeyer is among the nominees for "Best Northwest Chef"
ANCHORAGE - Being head chef of a restaurant comes with a lot of responsibility, but Brett Knipmeyer has a little bit more on his plate.
“I'm the sole owner, executive chef, wine purchaser, general maintenance, light bulb changer, Bob Vila of the culinary world,” said Knipmeyer.
He’s been in the food business for more than 20 years and opened Kinley’s Restaurant and Bar in 2006.
Like most chefs, he’s got a soft spot for swine.
“I'm not shy with bacon,” he said as one of his cooks put strip after strip onto the grill. “I do love the pig. The pig is one of the greatest animals ever blessed on the culinary scene. We have bacon on our tenderloin burger, on our halibut BLT,” Knipmeyer added.
While he may spend the lunch hour flipping burgers and building BLTs, his other culinary creations are getting some national recognition.
Knipmeyer is nominated for a James Beard “Best Northwest Chef” award. That’s the Academy Awards of the culinary world.
“It's nice to be included and I'm glad to see Anchorage and Alaska get noticed and I'm thrilled it was me they picked this year,” said Knipmeyer.
Kinley’s is a lunchtime hangout for locals but even the out-of-towners make it their go-to for good grub. They weren’t surprised to hear the news.
“He deserves it,” said Geoff Lang—a Denver, Colorado resident—who eats at the restaurant whenever he’s in Anchorage on business. “Great food, an unusual take on things. I like it. They change up the menu, every time I come here there's something different.”
“I think it's well deserved,” said bartender Bridget Sullivan. “I think there's a lot of really good food up here and I'm glad people will be able to know that and see that.”
The menu changes twice a year but staples like the almond crusted halibut are a mainstay. Knipmeyer said he doesn’t know what dish put him over the top.
“Who's to say a burger couldn't win. And since I have no idea how I got nominated, I couldn't tell you how I would win either.”
Winners will be announced in May. He’s competing against 14 other chefs who hail mostly from Seattle and Portland.
“Anchorage is starting to become recognized as a place with quality food that's worth noticing and I'm really please to be added to that list.”
Whether or not he takes home the top prize, Knipmeyer’s proud to put the Last Frontier on the forefront of cuisine and, as they say at the Oscars… it’s an honor just to be nominated.