Alaska News

Reality Check: Food truck defies 'police state' of Nome on 'Bering Sea Gold'

Thanks to a boring Super Bowl (uh, I mean, "Go Seahawks"), there were no new shows on Sunday night. So, like anyone who doesn't care about football, I ate 3,000-plus calories and closely followed the Super Bowl Twitter feed while "watching" the game. My football avoidance led me on a bizarre social media adventure into the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet, where I found some truly great gossip that I will now share, so you don't have to waste four hours of perfectly good living.

Tidbit 1: The first season of "Alaskan Women Looking for Love" is airing in the U.K., and there have been several hints from Tina Kilborn (@Alaskan_Tina) that there will be some kind of announcement after it's done airing overseas. For those who missed it, "Alaskan Women" was a six-part series on TLC last fall that featured six Alaskan women who traveled to Miami in search of men to love. It had its moments, but much of the show felt staged and forced. Example: They had all the girls go out to a swanky nightclub in XtraTufs and T-shirts so they'd look out of place. Regardless, the premise is ripe for comedy, so I'm hoping the big news is that it will be renewed for a second season.

Tidbit 2: Most Alaska reality TV stars are Seahawks fans. But many Broncos fans gave up on the Super Bowl and turned on the "Alaska: The Last Frontier" marathon on Discovery Channel.

Tidbit 3: Former Anchorage resident Luke Adams (@LukeAdams14) will appear with his mother on "The Amazing Race: All Stars." Adams has appeared on "The Amazing Race" twice before and will again be partnered with his mother.

Tidbit 4: A woman from Cordova, Lauren Padawer, appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank" looking for investors in her company, Alaska Glacial Mud. Apparently, this show features entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas to millionaires. Padawer was unsuccessful at wowing the millionaires, but she's had much more interest in her products since the show aired.

With that important "breaking news" out of the way, there was a new episode of "Bering Sea Gold" on Friday night. The Wild Ranger, one of the gold dredges, shut down after the crew quit because they weren't finding enough gold. All of Emily Riedel's crew quit after she left for a few days to go "river diving" with Glen Lebaron, a fellow eccentric miner. The show implied there was more to it, because they flashed back to Riedel and Lebaron sitting close together drinking beer that was going "straight to [Emily's] head."

The true gold of this episode didn't come from the Bering Sea, but Zeke Tenhoff's mouth. Tenhoff is one of the stars of the show and was formerly a diver on The Edge and The Clark. His life began to spiral out of control after he lost his best friend and partner. After a few run-ins with the law, he decided to get his life in order by starting up a food truck called Au Gratin (the "Au" is a pun, because it's the symbol for gold on the periodic table of elements -- the more you know).


He's starting this food truck up with his girlfriend Sarah Dunn. Here's how Tenhoff describes their meeting: "Sarah is definitely like an angel. At the end of last ice season, Sarah was the first person I met when I got to New Orleans. I texted 'B+B' at 3 o'clock in the morning, and it was Sarah on the other end of the phone. And she's like, 'show up at 10,' so I showed up at 10 at her place and we've been together ever since."

I have so many questions. Why would he text a bed and breakfast? Why was he in New Orleans? Was the bed and breakfast her home, or did she invite him to another location where she lived? Did he show up at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m.? How did she decide to move to Nome? Does this food truck have proper licensing?

None of these questions were answered, unfortunately, but he did explain why he's getting into the food truck business: "Food makes everyone happy ... I wonder if it can make the people of Nome forget that they think I'm a crazy drunk a--hole."

And finally, as they were pulling their dilapidated new food truck illegally through Nome, Zeke left us with these words of wisdom: "I think that in a place as far removed from the rest of society as Nome, Alaska, I should be allowed to be a little bit crazy. You know what? Nome should not be the police state. Down in New Orleans you can do whatever the f--- you want."

I can only hope there will be an "Alaska State Troopers" episode where they arrest other Alaska reality TV stars, because it seems like an illegal food truck in the police state of Nome would be a great place to start.

• Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage, where she reviews Alaska reality TV.

By Emily Fehrenbacher / For


Emily Fehrenbacher

Emily Fehrenbacher lives in Anchorage and writes "Reality Check," a regular look at reality television set in Alaska.