Food blogger turned food tour guide Kelly “Midgi” Moore takes cruisers and other tourists on the flourishing culinary route in her adopted town of Juneau, Alaska. And the fast-talker behind Juneau Food Tours has some stories to tell.
I Hate it When You’re Late
It’s really hard for a tour if you start off late, even 15 minutes, because everything’s coordinated. All the vendors will start calling and asking me what’s going on. It makes everything hard.
I Hate Picky Eaters
One attendee was lactose intolerant and the other was low-sugar and low-carbs. I called the restaurants to get it all set up for alternative foods and everything and once the people got on the tour, they ate everything. I’m glad they enjoyed the food but, ugh — face palm — it would be awesome if you say “I’ll make an exception.” Also, tell me if you don’t want wine or beer. I’m buying that alcohol and if you don’t drink it, it makes me sad.
An Alaska food tasting, clockwise from top left: crab bisque; halibut tacos; sourdough bagels; cured reindeer. (Photo collage: Ko Im)
Don’t Come Full
One of the worst things you can do is have a big breakfast before a food tour. If you’re coming off a cruise ship, make sure you eat a little something so you don’t have an upset stomach, but know you’re going to be eating quite a bit on the tour. You want to be able to take advantage of the culture through its food.
Mind Your Manners
Don’t chew with your mouth open. No one wants to see that. There was one guy who had stuff all over his face and he didn’t wipe it off until someone told him. That was weird, but I don’t judge. I want you to get involved in your food!
Don’t Pig Out
I always tell people “I’m not your mom.” You don’t have to finish your food. This is about you and your experience. I encourage you to get outside the box, though. Taste the essence of Alaska.
Related: Confessions of a Cruise Ship Chef
Kelly “Midgi” Moore doesn’t eat on her tours — she has a lot to talk about! (Photo: Ko Im)
We Don’t Get Comped
We pay for all the food. It’s not free. Nothing’s complimentary to us because we’re a business. We have vendors who we pay. I like to eat here, although we don’t eat on the tour.
Don’t Be Cheap
You should tip accordingly. Gratuities are misunderstood. Most people average $5/person when you ate a $129 meal. It would be nice if people understood that.
Kelp marmalade, anyone? (Photo: Ko Im)
Please Don’t Wander Away
We might think we’re not doing a good job. I’m wondering, “Did I forget something, mess something up, or you’re losing interest?” It’s difficult because you’re focused on that one person instead of the group. I kind of reign the person back in as best as I can, but sometimes I go “OK, fine, you’re on your own.”
Act Like You Care (Even If You Don’t)
We see so many amazing things here in Alaska — bears, eagles, etc. I always want to point that out to visitors because I get to see it all the time but I don’t want them to miss it. I had one visitor who saw five eagles in one tree and she was like, ‘meh.’ I was pretty excited by that!
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