Steven #2

Video Shot in: 2009

Stephen Johnson, a cook and baker at Ilisagvik College in Barrow, shares his experiences working in the Arctic since 1980. Originally from Gladstone, Oregon, and later Anchorage, he started his cooking career in 1967 and moved to Alaska in 1978. His work journey includes managing a tourist hotel and working for Simon and Seafort’s in Anchorage. To support his growing family, he worked on seismic exploration for oil in the Arctic, adapting to the unique challenges of cooking in remote locations. He recalls adjusting to the saltwater environment, which impacted both cooking and personal hygiene, and shares anecdotes about encountering polar bears and vast herds of caribou. Stephen’s time in the Arctic has been marked by long periods away from his family, relying on mail and phone calls for communication. He mentions the impact of the internet in easing communication with his wife and six grandchildren. His family’s involvement in the Arctic includes his stepdaughter, Irene Bedard, known for voicing Pocahontas in the Disney movie. Stephen’s narrative highlights the resilience and adaptability required to live and work in the demanding environment of the Arctic.