Story last updated at 1/7/2009 - 10:51 am
Anyone who was in Juneau when Alaska first became a state may have been one of the 3,000 people who were fed by Chef Andres Aquíno Cadíente. Working as the head chef at the Baranof hotel at the time, Cadíente was in charge of the meal at the original statehood celebration in 1959.
Cadíente was originally from the Philippines and enjoyed cooking as a child. In his early 20's, he took an eight-month course for cooks and bakers from a United States Army School. He then enlisted in the Army and was given a position as a cook at Fort McKinley in Rizal, Philippines. After three years there, he came to the United States.
Cadíente spent several years living and cooking in Los Angeles with a brief time in Chicago as well. However, California's weather was his "environmental preference" so he went back west. During his time there, he continued his culinary training under various chefs of many different styles of cuisine and subsequently became well versed in cooking methods of all around the world.
He came to Alaska in the early 1940s to cook for the Army Corps of Engineers. He quickly moved on to run the kitchen in the Baranof Hotel, and also owned and operated three cafes in town. He met his wife, Irene, as she worked as a waitress in one of his cafes.
In 1963, he retired from the Baranof and became the head cook on the Malaspina, the state's first ferry. He worked for the Marine Highway until 1976 and then went to Prudhoe Bay to cook for the oil and pipeline workers.
Cadíente died in 2002 at age 97. Perhaps the secret to his long life is in his cooking. He brought lots of flavor to Juneau in his lifetime, and still continues to do so through his recipes.
His cookbook, "El Mundo: International Menu-Cookbook & Bakers Manual & Facts," was published in 1974.
Cadíente's vast range of culinary influence is evidenced by the various recipes in "El Mundo." The cookbook is arranged in categories such as appetizers, soups, salads, and main entrees, but he also includes a special "Alaska Cookery" section. Included are recipes like "Chicken Adobo Ala McArthur," named after General Arthur McArthur, Jr., who Cadíente said was called the "living god of the oppressed Filipinos" during World War II.
The "Harris Alaskan Clam Bake" can be found along with a dedication to Mr. Fred Harris, co-founder of Juneau. Cadíente wrote, "He would rise from his coffin to protest the moving of the Capital if he could."
A wide variety of world recipes make an appearance, everything from "Stuffed Australian Lobster" to "Scallopini of Veal Au Marsala" (one of his favorites). There are also several recipes fusing different styles of food together, such as Filipino-Spanish and Tlingit-Russian.
The Cadíente family donated 20 copies of the cookbook to be sold at the Statehood ball last Saturday. There are still a few copies available for $20 each. To obtain a copy, contact Capital City Celebrations at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 957-6665.