Topping in at 6+ feet, Joel Carpenter definitely commands the room. However, the impressive height belies the twinkling blue eyes and kind countenance of Joel’s welcoming nature. An Alaskan since the ripe old age of nine, when his family moved to Fairbanks, Joel has lived in Juneau for about a year and a half. For him, Juneau’s beautiful mountains with big trees shrouded in clouds is what Alaska is all about. Well, that — and food.

Joel has settled on a career in the food industry, which he loves, but he had a couple of side tracks along the way: logging and neurobiology research. You might think these things have no connection, and you’d be right, according to Joel. The logging provided money to get him through school (and as his brother said, “it’s a manly job.”). The neurobiology research was part of a medical school path.

Along with playing the piano and cooking, Joel is a lover of gardening, and he is looking forward to doing a little container growing on his balcony this summer. However, Juneau’s hiking trails tend to call to him, and he loves wandering the forest and beaches, searching tide pools, and discovering the secrets of Shaman Island in Juneau.

While Joel is comfortable camping at -60 degrees Fahrenheit up north, he’s much more at home here in Alaska’s capital city. As he says, he loves to share “how great our food scene is for such a small town and the diversity we offer.” If you’re lucky enough to have Joel as your guide, engage him in conversation and watch those blue eyes twinkle.

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