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Paleo Nick's Story Part 2

December 05 2022 – Jessica Tischler

Paleo Nick's Story Part 2
Paleo Nick's Story Part 2
Alaska was insane. 

To detail my the next six years of my life with words would be impossible.

Because of my experience at the fish processing plant, I landed a summer job at the Quinnat Landing Hotel in King Salmon, Alaska in the summer of 2003. Jessie graduated with a degree in Kinesiology from UC Boulder and came up to work with me. I proposed to her on a day trip to Katmai National Park and we married that fall.

We started our married life in Anchorage and things went crazy! I worked for NANA Management Corporation, managing a restaurant in one of their Marriott properties. After three years, I ventured off on my own and launched Massie's Fine Catering. I catered weddings, business luncheons, dinner parties, and even launched two food booth concepts - Wings 'n' Rings and The Panini Press.
Because of my experience at the fish processing plant and The Quinnat Landing, I got a call from Mike Overcast of The Tordrillo Mountain Lodge - a remote helicopter ski lodge. That was a big break for me and allowed me the platform to put together all I'd learned up to that point. 

It was a dream come true, serving food in the mountains and Jessie (and our dog Charley) could come too!

My claim to fame was being featured in a one second clip of Warren Miller's Playground 2007 while serving crab to Cody Townsend and Chris Davenport!

I met all kinds of incredible people at the lodge. Laird Hamilton, Don Wildman, Vinod Khosla, Bing Gordon, insane skiing talent like Cody and Chris, The All Mountain Boys, Andrew Cader, helicopter pilots like Angus and Glen, mechanic Ken, all of the guides, masseuses, Ron Fairbanks, Tommy Moe, owners Mike and Jenny and Henry and Karen.

Reading books is valuable, but meeting people is 10X!
Here's Laird Hamilton driving the Argo right up to the kitchen window. While we got to get out each day, TML was still a grind with 14+ hour days, seven days a week. The fish processing plant was 16 hour shifts for 70 days straight, so I had trained for it!
Being around these high-caliber humans had a drastic effect on me. It was like we all pushed each other to be our best.

It was about teaching and sharing and helping each other get better across the board. It was a unique experience that I haven't found anywhere else. All I can think is that Alaska brings out the best in people. Just to be there is a privilege, so people are on their best behavior. 

Robert Service wrote of Alaska, "It's the beauty that fills me with wonder. It's the stillness that fills me with peace."

Looking back, Alaska is where I was most at peace...
One of my favorite pictures from TML. I applied what I learned from Chef Al Levinsohn to the bounty of Alaska and the result was magic! This is Salmon Crusted Salmon with a Veggie Trio, Fried Leaks and a Balsamic Reduction. 
In 2008, we were plucked from Alaska by one of the guests of TML. 
They asked Jessie and I to move to Aspen, Colorado as a live in Chef and house manager and that's where the next chapter of this story takes place...

I'll continue it in Part Three.
Your Pal, 
Paleo Nick