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Grill seekers

Show to feature Alaska employee’s signature dish

Chuck Pfeifer and family inside their food booth
Palmer, AK, Retail Associate Chuck Pfeifer and his wife Esther, a USPS contract driver, pose inside their food booth with their granddaughter, Aaliyah, and son, Charlie, both 5.

Alaska State Fair visitors may not know Chuck Pfeifer by name, but they know his “umiak,” one of the annual event’s most popular food items.

Viewers of the Cooking Channel series “Carnival Eats” will soon know about the local favorite, too.

The Palmer, AK, retail associate is slated to appear on the show’s Thursday, Feb. 1, episode. He’ll be shown preparing the food inside the booth that he and his wife Esther, a USPS contract driver, operate every summer during their free time.

So what’s a umiak?

It’s half a jalapeno pepper stuffed with cheese and wrapped with grilled salmon and bacon. The dish was inspired by Pfeifer’s family.

“I was trying to get my kids to eat more fish,” he said. “And everyone loves cheese and bacon.”

Fish On! Camp Grill, Pfeifer’s booth, came highly recommended to the “Carnival Eats” crew.

“Chuck loves cooking and cooks for a lot of people,” said Esther.

Host Noah Cappe watched Pfeifer prepare the umiak during an August taping of the show. Esther won’t soon forget Cappe’s reaction to trying the dish.

“He took a bite and said, ‘Oh my goodness, this is so good,’” she said.

Pfeifer, who has cooked professionally for 10 years, said he’s “excited that people enjoy my food that much.” He also knows what it means for the locals to like his cooking.

“If you can sell salmon to an Alaskan, then you’re doing something right,” he said.

The Cooking Channel site’s Feb. 1 lineup lists show times for “Grill Bill,” the “Carnival Eats” episode that will feature Pfeifer and his umiak.

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