Laura Cole

Laura Cole

Owner/Executive Chef
229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern
Denali National Park and Preserve, AK

“The Idaho® Russet is a work horse in my kitchen. The texture is a baseline that can be used across the board – in just about everything.”

Vibrant, healthy soup works hot or cold.

I followed a boyfriend to Alaska after college, found a job in a lodge and fell in love with cooking. 229 Parks is one of only three restaurants operating along a 300-mile stretch of highway in Denali National Park. While I built it for the locals, it's become a destination. Our remote location means driving 600-700 miles a week to get ingredients. I have a 50-acre farm, raise a reindeer herd and maintain a root cellar. It’s important to me to cook locally and to have a sense of ingredients. We make everything from scratch based on what’s available. We have fun.

The soup is so lovely and not difficult to make. It's vibrant and healthy. The potatoes are loaded with nutrients, the dill is a wonderful palette cleanser and the leeks aid in digestion. You should feel good about what you create, how it looks, how it tastes and how it feels in your body. On a cold day, the soup can be served hot. On a warm day, I like it chilled. Idaho® Russets are the foundation of this recipe. Their texture is a baseline that can be used in just about everything. Our season is too short to grow russets here, so I use Idaho® Russets all the time.

I find kitchens to be warm and welcoming places. I get to produce something that’s immediately giving and, 99.9% of the time, I’m satisfied with being a chef.

Laura Cole built 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern from the ground up in 2013 with the help of family and friends. Her food showcases Alaska’s bounty. The James Beard foundation named her a semi-finalist for Best Chef: Northwest in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.