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If Bellingham, Washington is all you would expect of a small, blue-collar city, busy, chaotic, dense, nearby Lummi Island is everything the opposite, sleepy, calm, sparse. After a 15-minute ferry crossing, stepping off into another world rehydrated the senses. The simplicity of the island stripped away the city coating, a rural palette cleanser, in preparation for an interview with Chef Blaine Wetzel, 2014 James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year and owner of The Willows Inn.

“When I came to the Willows in 2010, I had never even heard of Lummi Island, Blaine explains. “But I was looking for a job back in the U.S., which is a hard thing to do from, overseas. I found The Willows on an ad on Craig’s List, sent in a letter and was hired.”

Blaine had been apprenticing at Noma of Copenhagen…the visionary restaurant’s motto: “…we look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture, hoping to rediscover our history and shape our future.”

“At 18, I started working at great restaurants, including Alex at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas, a very personalized, chef-driven place.”

The beginnings of his connection to local, wild ingredients came from an event at La Berge Carmel, a California restaurant that worked with one small farm.

“A surfer dude came in one day with a crate of mushrooms that he had foraged from the wilderness. For the first time, I made the connection between myself as a chef as the link between dining and the source…..which in this case was the forager. I cooked and I was interested in foraging, but I hadn’t put the two together.”

From La Berge Carmel, Blaine went to Manresa, a restaurant with its own farm. After Manresa, came Noma. Initially going to Copenhagen as a volunteer to experience their unusual approach to ingredients, Blaine naturally fit in and stayed for three years as the restaurant grew from eight to 40 staff. Noma was the last in a series of experiences that ultimately shaped his ultra-locavore approach for The Willows.

The Willows on Lummi was the chance to bring these experiences together. The concept was simple but extreme: virtually everything served at The Willows was to come from the island itself or the surrounding waters. At the time, The Willows had its own farm and the island was known for its fresh seafood and wild mushrooms…a good start.

“This was a chance to localize the Noma philosophy, but take it further,” he explains.

This extreme locavore approach is what diners enjoy from the inception of their visit. They slowly assembled on the restaurant’s west-facing porch, watching the sun paint sorbet colors over Orcas, Sucia, Sinclair & Cypress Islands. The view and the scent of the pine trees was in-sync with the Spotted Owl, The Willows take on a gin fizz with nettles, egg whites and Douglas Fir. As the sun continued its slow descent, the guests were escorted, family-like, into the intimate dining room…just one gathering at 6:30 sharp for a fixed ten-course meal with bits of delectables in between.

As part of its local dynamic, The Willows has two full time farmers, growing only for the restaurant using all bio-dynamic practices: “We are constantly learning from the previous year about planting and growing,” according to Blaine. “We don’t plant common varieties, only heirloom and natives.”

Ten percent of the plots are devoted to experimental R&D to understand taste and growth characteristics: “We’re getting to know the plant for next year, before we consider putting it into our menu.” Seeds are sourced from Uprising Organics and the farms have an active seed saving program of their own.

This sensitive connectivity to sources and food reveals an intricate web of unexpected relationships. On this day’s menu was a braised seaweed dish using Ulva, or Sea Lettuce. “Too much sun on the shallows burns the plant, so we have to be careful harvesting in summer. Spring is the best time,” explains Blaine. “Storms will also blow off the tender tips.”

The Willows menu develops over the course of the day: “If we get rain today, it effects the menu. We need a fully supported kitchen to react to those dynamic conditions.”

Dinner at The Willows is a casual ceremony. Blaine, chefs and staff glide in and out of the kitchen in a continuous dance, arranging, serving, clearing. From kitchen to table to kitchen, to table, each dish is served in its own creative guise with a sense of place. Steam escaped from the first dish, served in a closed cedar box containing a single smoked Samish Bay Mussel atop a bed of hot beach rock…perfectly cooked, the steam enhancing the silky smokiness…provocative, simple.

The glow of the setting sun seemed to activate the ingredients in the progression of appetizers. Next was Wild Plum Skins in Young Grape Juice. Tying the senses together, a school of skins floated in a pool of wild grape juice, thyme flavored oil and baby geranium flowers…each a spoonful of juicy freshness…mouthwatering, bright in flavors.

The rest of the meal was equally provocative. Guests were swept away by Local Albacore In a Broth of Smoked Bones, Crispy Crepe with Steelhead Roe, Salt-Roasted Beets, Halibut Skin, Aged Leg of Venison with Purslane Leaves, Kale with Black Truffles, Smoked Sockeye Salmon, Grilled Shitake Mushrooms, Lummi Island Rockfish steamed with Cherry Tomatoes and Lovage, Bread from Local Grains with Pan Drippings, Slices of Fresh Geoduck Clam, Flax Seeds, Slow-Roasted Lamb, Wild Chamomile and Blackberries, Black Huckleberries with Woodruff and Malt.

By dinner’s end each of the staff had touched each of the tables, met each of the guests and enriched the experience with communal grace and engaging explanations.

At The Willows Inn, Blaine is tapping into nature, Avatar style, with intuitive connection. Invoking the bounty of his surroundings, he nuances nature for the taste buds.

Photography by Julie Ann Fineman
To see more photography from this story, click here.

It’s simple really – the fastest way to a travelers heart is through his or her stomach. No matter where you go, you need to eat. A tried and true way to get a feel for the local culture is by eating the local fare. Owners should strive to surprise and delight tourists through the quality of their food, their service, or their decor. The list we’ve compiled below represents the best restaurant in each state in the USA. These winners were chosen based on a mouth-watering menu, impeccable service, delightful atmosphere and positive traveler feedback. So feel comfortable choosing any of these spots on your next road trip, or try the winner near your hometown to see what all the fuss is about!

Alabama (Birmingham): Hot and Hot Fish Club
Alaska (Girdwood): Seven Glaciers Restaurant
Arizona (Phoenix): The Breadfruit
Arkansas (Little Rock): The Pantry
California (San Francisco): State Bird Provisions
Colorado (Boulder): Black Cat
Connecticut (Westport): The Whelk
Delaware (Wilmington): Domaine Hudson
Florida (Miami Beach): Yardbird Southern Table and Bar
Georgia (Atlanta): Watershed
Hawaii (Lahaina): Mala Ocean Tavern
Idaho (Boise): State and Lemp
Illinois (Murphysboro): 17th Street BBQ
Indiana (Indianapolis): Late Harvest Kitchen
Iowa (Grinnell): The Prairie Canary
Kansas (Lawrence): Genovese
Kentucky (Louisville): Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar
Louisiana (Houma): Cristiano
Maine (Portland): Petite Jaqueline
Maryland (Bethesda): Black’s Bar & Kitchen
Massachusetts (Sturbridge): Cedar Street Grille
Michigan (Kalamazoo): Food Dance
Minnesota (Wayzata): 6Smith
Mississippi (Greenwood): Delta Bistro
Missouri (Clayton): Niche
Montana (Missoula): The Pearl Cafe
Nebraska (Lincoln): Dish
Nevada (Reno): Beaujolais
New Hampshire (Glen): The White Mountain Cider Co.
New Jersey (Princeton): Agricola
New Mexico (Santa Fe): Shokho Cafe
New York (New York): The Spotted Pig
North Carolina (Charlotte): Carpe Diem
North Dakota (Bismarck): Pirogue Grille
Ohio (Broadview Heights): Cork & Cleaver
Oklahoma (Nichols Hills): The Coach House
Oregon (Portland): Pok Pok
Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh): Cure
Rhode Island (Bristol): Persimmon
South Carolina (Charleston): McCrady’s
South Dakota (Rapid City): Tally’s Silver Spoon
Tennessee (Nashville): Kayne Prime
Texas (San Antonio): The Granary ‘Cue and Brew
Utah (Salt Lake City): Pago
Vermont (Waterbury): Hen of the Wood
Virginia (Falls Church): 2941
Washington (Lummi Island): Willows Inn
West Virginia (Charleston): Bridge Road Bistro
Wisconsin (Madison): Harvest
Wyoming (Jackson Hole): Snake River Grill

FOUR’s pick of the 10 best restaurants in the USA …

COI, San Francisco
Chef | Daniel Patterson

Style | A culinary journey through Northern California.

Typical dish | The menu changes daily, depending on what is available locally, however expect fresh Pacific influences and locally sourced ingredients in dishes such as the red trout cooked over lemon leaf spring vegetables, flowering cilantro.

Menu | Eight-course tasting menu at $195.

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, NYC
Chef | Cesar Ramirez

Style | Kitchen counter-cum-three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Brooklyn’s hip Williamsburg.

Typical dish | The tasting menu changes daily so it’s impossible to pin down a ‘typical’ dish, however there is definitely a seafood and shellfish theme to the menu.

Menu | Over twenty small plate courses at $255.

Le Bernardin, NYC
Chef | Eric Ripert

Style | Texture, flavour and freshness are the key components of Ripert’s Le Bernardin seafood restaurant.

Typical dish | It’s all about the fish, such as the barely cooked scallop with brown butter Dashi.

Menu | Four-course prix-fixe at $135/ Chef’s Tasting $198.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York
Chef | Dan Barber

Style | Taking the farm-to-fork idea one step further, Barber serves dishes that not only reflect the season’s harvest from greenhouse, field, pasture and forest, but that also present the full diversity of what the landscape in the area has to offer.

Typical dish | Roasted parsnip steak soil-aged for 14 months, rich bordelaise sauce made from the bones of grass-fed animals, and marmalade of beef shank (instead of ketchup) with cream spinach and caramelised onions on the side!

Menu | Five-course tasting menu at $108.

The French Laundry, Napa Valley
Chef | Thomas Keller and chef de cuisine David Breeden.

Style | Contemporary French-American cuisine in the rustic setting of Yountville, Napa Valley.

Typical dish | ‘Oysters and Pearls’, which involves a sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and white Sturgeon caviar and The French Laundry Garden Beets, a dish including Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm, Royal Blenheim apricots and wholegrain mustard vinaigrette.

Menu | Seven-course prix-fixe at $295, vegetable option also available.

Avance restaurant, Philadelphia
Chef | Justin Bogle

Style | Leaning towards the avant-garde in presentation, Bogle’s style is firmly rooted in the seasons, with his menu reflective of his relationship with local farmers and artisans.

Typical dish | It’s all about the ingredients, with dishes such as the king crab, egg yolk, rye bread and nasturtium.

Menu | An la carte menu is on offer along with a five- and eight-course Chef’s Tasting menu, from $138.

The Willows Inn, Lummi Island
Chef | Blaine Wetzel

Style | Seasonal and local fare, fished, foraged, and farmed daily by Blaine and his team.

Typical dish | Stinging nettles with salmonberry blossoms and pine shoots.

Menu | A tasting menu that lasts three hours in a location that’s only accessibly by ferry! $13 for vehicle and driver, and $7 for each vehicle passenger.

Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Chef | Dominique Crenn

Style | Poetic culinary creations that take diners on an emotional journey.

Typical dish | Beet sorbet, chocolate crumble, mandarin pudding, soft chocolate and chocolate roots.

Menu | Grand Chef’s Tasting Menu at $195.

Alinea, Chicago
Chef | Grant Achatz

Style | Surprise-filled fine dining, characterized by chef Grant’s unwavering commitment to creativity.

Typical dish | Duck Board; Duck neck rillettes, duck confit, duck breast and duck mousseline.

Menu | 18 courses, varying by season, product availability and the evening.

Eleven Madison Park, NYC
Chef | Daniel Humm

Style | Three-starred dishes focusing on the extraordinary agricultural bounty of New York and the century-old culinary traditions that have taken root there.

Typical dish | Lavender glazed duck with fennel and peaches.

Menu | Multi-course tasting menu, $225 per person.

Everybody knows about The Willows Inn, and no one does. Or that’s at least what it feels like sometimes. Written up in nearly every national food and travel magazine, not to mention all the regional coverage it’s gotten, you’d think it was old news. Yet, surprisingly—or maybe not, given its tucked-away location on tiny Lummi Island—I often get a puzzled look when I ask Seattleites about it. After all, I’ve been here four years and have only this month made it out there for an overnight stay and dinner.

Given that chef Blaine Wetzel just took home the 2014 Best Rising Star Chef honor from the James Beard Awards, though, it’s likely that even more people will flood the dining room in the coming years, from both nearby and afar. (The ferry to get there is just outside of Bellingham and carries only about 20 cars at a time.)

I had no intention of writing this story before visiting the Inn. Rather, it’s a birthday gift (from June, but we could only get a spot in August), and I’ve been relishing the date all summer. I knew Wetzel, from Olympia, had made a name for himself by working at the world-famous and revered Noma in Denmark under chef René Redzepi. I knew he’d come back to the Pacific Northwest and turned The Willows Inn into a utopian culinary retreat—a place where the ingredients for his rarefied dinners are sourced from the inn’s own farm, the fish are caught right off the coast by reef-net fishermen, and the lamb is raised from island farmers; where everything from the butter to the broths infused with local herbs is made on the premises. I’d also talked at length with journalist Joe Ray, who spent a year living on Lummi collaborating on a cookbook with Wetzel, forthcoming from Running Press.

Yet none of this prepared me for the experience at The Willows Inn. Hours before the 6:30 dinner seating, we’re lounging on the deck of one of the Inn’s separate cottages—about a mile down the road, situated so close to the great, open expanse of the Sound that we watch a young seal gliding its slick body through the sea while an otter lumbers onto shore 20 feet from us. I begin to understand the fuss Ray made over his year living here. I spot a large Dungness crab off the pier and watch a terrifyingly big jellyfish undulate near the rocky beach, haphazardly strewn with beautiful, gray-washed driftwood. The sky is clear and the sun still warm. I feel a peace I haven’t in a long time.

When we drive the short distance to the Inn for dinner, I’m both blissful and incredibly eager. We’re led into a bar area, though one that feels more like a handsome beach house’s living room, and seated next to another couple. We order drinks. Then a bowl of rocks—in which are nestled two deeply cupped shigoku oysters—is whisked before us. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the oyster I slurp down is the coldest, freshest, most delicately briny one I’ve ever eaten. It sets the tone for the rest of the meal.

The couple next to us is beaming, and instantly engages us in conversation. There’s a palpable sense of excitement throughout the sitting areas and the dining room, with its unencumbered views of the Sound—a childlike excitement, even, from people who, like me, have so obviously been looking forward to coming here for some time and would have to sit on their hands to contain it. It makes for easy conversation and a laid-back vibe despite the “seriousness” of the food we know we’re about to indulge in.

Ten minutes later we’re led to our table, and I open a small, chapbook-like, leather-bound menu, with pencil drawings of fish, mushrooms, and other edibles throughout it. Though the first item listed is plum skins, a server tells us we’ll instead be eating an off-menu “snack” (we get several of these surprise items throughout the multicourse meal.) A couple beats later, a chef—yes, the chefs here also serve some of the dishes!—sets a small wooden box in front of each of us. Before lifting the lids, from which wafts of light smoke will rise, he tells us that inside are caramelized mussels, smoked for four hours. It sounds utterly precious, I know. But when you bite into a mussel that’s been given this much care, it gives you pause and makes you aware of the essence of what you are eating.

I had originally decided not to do the wine pairing ($85 on top of the $165 per person prix fixe), but, caught up in the reverie of the evening, I change my mind. It’s a smart choice, because even wine pairings here are done differently. Instead of getting a glass pour per entrée, the server brings an entire bottle and allows you to fill your glass at your leisure through a couple of dishes until it’s replaced with another bottle. There’s also a lovely cider—Eagle Mount from Port Townsend—served at the beginning of the dinner.

The meal is mostly one hit after another, served beautifully; it reminds me of a Japanese kaiseki meal, a many-coursed pageantry of seasonal delicacies. Plum skins in a fragrant broth of young grapes and thyme are startling in their simple perfection. Salt-roasted beets cooked in a bread dough with dill, lavender, and parsley seeds along side a gin-infused yogurt taste like no other beet preparation I’ve ever had; the aged venison leg topped with grated cured egg yolk and heart and served with a housemade rye bread and purslane tastes like some kind of gourmet version of a BLT. When one young, earnest chef serves it to us, we jokingly ask him which leg it is, the left or the right, to which he answers “I’m not sure.” We tell him we’re kidding. When he leaves, we chuckle, but also marvel at how young these chefs are—Wetzel included, of course—yet how incredibly talented.

Potatoes cooked entirely on the grill get seasoned with smelt rather than salt and are served with a watercress purée; geoduck comes in a mussel broth with toasted breadcrumbs; and a warm piece of smoked salmon is sweet and caramelized and meant to be eaten with your fingers, which is why they serve it with a lightly steamed napkin. Toward the end of the meal, a basket of fresh-baked bread is timed perfectly and served with hot stones to keep it warm and a side of chicken drippings to dip it in. Again, the details . . .

After the night winds down, I leap at a chance to chat with Wetzel. He is young, handsome, and soft-spoken. When I ask him about his prestigious James Beard award, he sidesteps the question, joking about how it cost him a fortune to go to New York to accept it. When the subject of celebrity chefs comes up, his humor comes through again. “That’s what I wanted to be,” he says, pointing to himself. “But that obviously isn’t happening.” Lucky for him, I think. Having worked on books by many of those “famous” chefs, I think Wetzel is the better for his humility. He’s not trying to win us over; instead, he’s genuinely interested in what we think of certain dishes, and you can sense the wheels spinning in his head at our various assessments. Not that Wetzel is some naive youngster. When I mention Bon Appetit   ’s top 50 restaurants in the country, he asks, wide-eyed, “Are we in it?” When I tell him no, his indignation is obvious, if still somehow charming: “What?” he exclaims. “We were last year.”

The next morning we tour the Inn’s farm, and see many ingredients from our plates the evening before: lovage, blackberries, woodruff, tiny cherry tomatoes with the leaves taken off to concentrate the flavor. I bite into a piece of shiso and let its zingy flavor infuse my mouth, transporting me back to dinner and reminding me how much work Wetzel puts into making sure his food tastes like the most fundamental part of what makes it what it is—be it the leaf of an herb or the flesh of a fish.

If that seems counterintuitive—why would you need to “work” to make something taste like itself?—it’s not. Rather, it’s a gentle coaxing, an innate understanding of what other ingredients or preparations can make something shine. And here on Lummi, with its 900 residents and quiet natural splendor, there’s little distraction from that single-minded purpose. Wetzel was made for this place and vice versa—the chemistry as undeniable as that which exists on his plates. The Willows Inn 2579 W. Shore Dr., Lummi Island, 360-758-2620, Opens 6:30 p.m. four or five nights weekly.

The Inn is humble, on an island that’s just 10 miles long, with only about 900 residents.  And the 28-year-old chef seems humble, too, having found his restaurant gig in the classifieds.

In the rarified and competitive world of high-end cuisine, chefs approaching stardom tend to have a few grey hairs and a fair number of nicks on their fingers.  Chef Blaine Wetzel, however, was a mere 24 years old when he slid open the kitchen doors at The Willows Inn for the first time.  That was late 2010 and, thanks to his boy-next-door personality,  it was easy to wonder if he was even younger than his years.

The film industry has the Oscars, the music industry has the Grammy Awards. If you’re a chef or restaurateur, you want a James Beard Award medal around your neck.

Since 1990, the not-for-profit James Beard Foundation named after “the father of American cuisine,” has been honoring the outstanding names in the food and beverage industry.

There is no cash reward, but a win – or even a nomination – can substantially increase the buzz for business, according to foundation President Susan Ungaro.

Chef and restaurant winners are being announced on Monday, May 5 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City and Journalism, Books and Broadcast were announced Friday, May 2 at Gotham Hall in New York City.

We’ll be updating all the chef and restaurant nominees below as the winners are revealed. Explore the gallery above for pictures and color from last year’s awards.
Robert De Niro makes a cameo in the James Beard press room, celebrating Sirio Maccioni’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Best New Restaurant
Betony (New York City)
Carbone (New York City)
Coqueta (San Francisco, California)
Estela (New York City)
Winner: Pêche (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Outstanding Bar Program
Bar Agricole (San Francisco, California)
Winner: The Bar at the NoMad Hotel (New York City)
Clyde Common (Portland, Oregon)
Maison Premiere (Brooklyn, New York)
The Violet Hour (Chicago, Illinois)
Leo Robitschek and Will Guidara of The NoMad share some ham in the press room.

Outstanding Chef
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern (New York City)
Isaac Becker, 112 Eatery (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Suzanne Goin, Lucques (Los Angeles, California)
David Kinch, Manresa (Los Gatos, California)
Winner: Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza (Los Angeles, California)
Marc Vetri, Vetri (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Winner: Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery (New York City)
Dana Cree, Blackbird (Chicago, Illinois)
Belinda Leong, b. patisserie (San Francisco, California)
Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza (Los Angeles, California)
Christina Tosi, Momofuku (New York City)

Outstanding Restaurant
Hearth (New York City)
Highlands Bar and Grill (Birmingham, Alabama)
Winner: The Slanted Door (San Francisco, California)
Spiaggia (Chicago, Illinois)
wd~50 (New York City)

Outstanding Restaurateur
Winner: Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston, Massachusetts (No. 9 Park, Menton, B&G Oysters, and others)
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago, Illinois (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa Valley, California (Mustards Grill and Cindy’s Back Street Kitchen)
Caroline Styne, The Lucques Group, Los Angeles, California (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, and others)
Phil Suarez, Suarez Restaurant Group, New York City (ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges, wd~50, and others)

Outstanding Service
Blue Hill (New York City)
Quince (San Francisco, California)
Winner: The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California
Topolobampo, (Chicago, Illinois)
Vetri (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Outstanding Wine Program
A16 (San Francisco, California)
Bar Boulud, NYC
Winner: The Barn at Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee)
FIG (Charleston, South Carolina)
The Little Nell (Aspen, Colorado)
Andy Chabot of Blackberry Farm

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware)
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal (Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico)
Winner: Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, New York)
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery (Frankfort, Kentucky)
David Wondrich, spirits educator (Brooklyn, New York)
Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Winner (tie): Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig (Chicago, Illinois)
Katie Button, Cúrate (Asheville, North Carolina)
Jessica Largey, Manresa (Los Gatos, California)
David Posey, Blackbird (Chicago, Illinois)
Winner (tie): Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island (Lummi Island, Washington)

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Winner: Dave Beran, Next (Chicago, Illinois)
Curtis Duffy, Grace (Chicago, Illinois)
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern (Cleveland, Ohio)
Paul Virant, Vie Restaurant (Western Springs, Illinois)
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia (Chicago, Illinois)

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve (Alexandria, Virginia)
Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore, Maryland)
Brad Spence, Amis (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Winner: Vikram Sunderam, Rasika (Washington, D.C.)
Cindy Wolf, Charleston (Baltimore, Maryland)

Best Chef: Midwest
Winner: Justin Aprahamian, Sanford (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Gerard Craft, Niche (Clayton, Missouri)
Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe (St. Louis, Missouri)
Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Best Chef: Northeast
Winner: Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa (Boston, Massachusetts)
Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe (Boston, Massachusetts)
Gerry Hayden, The North Fork Table & Inn (Southold, New York)
Matt Jennings, Farmstead Inc. (Providence, Rhode Island)
Michael Leviton, Lumière (Newton, Massachusetts)
Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Best Chef: Northwest
Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins (Seattle, Washington)
Jason Franey, Canlis (Seattle, Washington)
Winner: Naomi Pomeroy, Beast (Portland, Oregon)
Ethan Stowell, Staple & Fancy (Seattle, Washington)
Cathy Whims, Nostrana (Portland, Oregon)
Naomi Pomeroy beasts it in the press room after her win.

Best Chef: NYC
Winner: April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig
Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen
Mark Ladner, Del Posto
Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto
Michael White, Marea
April Bloomfield wins Best Chef NYC.

Best Chef: South
Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar (Oxford, Mississippi)
Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Winner (tie): Ryan Prewitt, Pêche Seafood Grill (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Alon Shaya, Domenica (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Winner (tie): Sue Zemanick, Gautreau’s (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Best Chef: Southeast
Kathy Cary, Lilly’s (Louisville, Kentucky)
Winner: Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia (Louisville, Kentucky)
Steven Satterfield, Miller Union (Atlanta, Georgia)
Tandy Wilson, City House (Nashville, Tennessee)

Best Chef: Southwest
Kevin Binkley, Binkley’s (Cave Creek, Arizona)
Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine (Austin, Texas)
Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s (Houston, Texas)
Winner: Chris Shepherd, Underbelly (Houston, Texas)
Justin Yu, Oxheart (Houston, Texas)

Best Chef: West
Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions (San Francisco, California)
Michael Cimarusti, Providence (Los Angeles, California)
Corey Lee, Benu (San Francisco, California)
Winner: Daniel Patterson, Coi (San Francisco, California)
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal (Los Angeles, California)

Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, who was wooed to his job with photos of the region’s spot prawns and salmon, won the prestigious James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year on Monday night. In the first-ever tie for the coveted national award, Wetzel won the title along with Jimmy Bannos Jr. of The Purple Pig in Chicago.

Wetzel, 28, was also a finalist for the award last year. Past winners in the highflying category have included Bobby Flay and Marcus Samuelsson.

Wetzel had cooked at Noma in Copenhagen, named the world’s best restaurant in one well-known survey, before answering a Craigslist ad from then-owner Riley Stark about a chef’s opening at the inn. In 2010 he came to Lummi, where his intricate, carefully sourced, hyperlocal meals quickly made the dining room a national destination. (For background on the chef and the cuisine, see

Wetzel, who attended the awards in New York City along with his parents, said that he was “humbled by the opportunity and challenges” the award brought with it, and that he couldn’t wait to celebrate with his staff and the community on Lummi.

Naomi Pomeroy of Beast in Portland was named Best Chef: Northwest, beating out Seattle’s Renee Erickson (the Whale Wins, the Walrus and the Carpenter etc.), Jason Franey (Canlis) and Ethan Stowell (Tavolata, Staple & Fancy etc.) and Portland’s Cathy Whims (Nostrana).

Lake Union restaurant Westward had been a finalist in the category of restaurant design for restaurants with 75 or fewer seats. The Huxley Wallace Collective and Graham Baba Architects lost out to Grace restaurant in Chicago.

Former Seattle pastry chef Dana Cree, now at Blackbird in Chicago, had been a finalist for best pastry chef in the nation; the award went to far better-known New York chef Dominique Ansel, creator of the Cronut.

At the book division of the awards ceremony on Friday, Vashon Island residents Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern won the “Focus on Health” category for “Gluten-Free Girl Every Day” (Houghton Mifflin,$29.99.)

Rebekah Denn is a regular contributor to The Seattle Times blog All You Can Eat. Reach her at

Whether you are looking for an exotic extended stay or a quick weekend getaway, you may want to consider exploring the road less traveled. Check out these unique vacation destination ideas for any budget.

Pictured above: First Harvest 2014 Early Announcement Chefs
(Left to right: Blaine Wetzel, Albert Adria, Joshua Skenes)

Albert Adria, named by TIME Magazine one of the 13 most-influential persons in the world of gastronomy in 2013, continues the international flavor that has established First Harvest at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island as one of the top dining events in the world.

First Harvest DinnerAdria began his career at the world-renowned restaurant elBulli and co-founded its menu-creating culinary laboratory, elBullitaller, in 1998 with his brother Ferran Adria and Oriol Castro. After 23 years, Albert Adria left in 2006 and since has accumulated numerous awards as a chef, director, and author involved in culinary events all around the globe.

He operates five establishments. Both his movie-themed tapas restaurant Tickets and upscale cocktail bar 41° Experience have earned Michelin Star ratings. The others: Pakta (Peruvian-Japanese fusion), Bodega 1900 (Catalan tapas), and Yauarcan (Mexican).

In San Francisco, one of America’s elite dining centers, Skenes carries strong award-winning credentials He traveled a path similar to Chef Wetzel; as each earned Best New Chef recognition by Food & Wine Magazine–Skenes in 2011, and Wetzel in 2012.

Skenes co-owns and serves as executive chef of Saison, a Michelin Two-Star establishment in San Francisco’s South of Market District (SOMA). Previously, after graduating from the French Culinary Institute in New York City, he worked at high-end dining places of Boston and in California locales.

Wetzel, co-owner of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, plans to announce more marquee names to the First Harvest team when reservations open in May. His expanding reputation has enabled him to draw top-tier names that have made First Harvest one of the foremost culinary happenings around the world for three years in a row

Past chefs participating included Grant Achatz, Sean Brock, Kyle Connaughton, Dominque Crenn, Jason Fox, Christopher Kostow, John Shields, and Justin Yu from across the U.S., and internationally Kobe Desramaults from Belgium and Virgilio Martinez from Chile.



How does the team at Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA infuse the essence of their natural surroundings into every meal? With the words “fished, foraged, and farmed” serving as their shared mantra, it comes quite easily. This rustic Washington gem is also home to a fresh face in the culinary world – chef Blaine Wetzel. Recently, we set out to Lummi Island for a chance to meet this rising talent in his home kitchen.

Wetzel is one of 2014’s James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year nominees and boasts an impressive resume, having worked at the Phoenician in Arizona and Las Vegas’ Wynn Hotel, by way of Scottsdale Culinary, according to Food & Wine. At the age of 28, he’s a finalist for one of the food world’s most prestigious awards.

Presented by S.Pellegrino, the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award is given to a chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come. Being nominated for the award is an important moment in a chef’s career. In 2013, Mission Chinese Food’s Danny Bowien was crowned king of the young culinary world, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. In the last year, Bowien welcomed a baby boy and embarked on a new venture, a grab-and-go turned sit-down burrito joint, Mission Cantina in New York City.

This year’s finalists also include Jimmy Bannos, Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago; Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC; Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA; and David Posey, Blackbird, Chicago.

The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards will be held on May 2 and 5 in New York. The Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner will take place on May 2, the Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on May 5.

For tickets and information, visit the James Beard Awards website.

Chef Blaine Wetzel no longer feels offended when his entire dining room empties out onto the front porch of the Willows Inn mid-meal to watch the sunset over the waters of Puget Sound. Instead, he’s trained his servers to plan for the inevitable exodus, as if it were another course in his tasting menu. The restaurant has just one seating per night, at 6:30 p.m., and diners call months in advance to experience Mr. Wetzel’s earthy cooking. Every ingredient featured on the menu is sourced within a few miles of the Willows Inn. The five-course meal is interspersed with about 12 one-bite snacks, such as a single grilled oyster with tequila and sage or a beautiful sliver of sockeye salmon smoked in-house. Mr. Wetzel himself often pops out of the kitchen to deliver such bites and talk about the local ingredients and the beautiful surroundings from which he has sourced them.

2579 W. Shore Dr., Lummi Island, Wash., +1-360-758-2620;

Blaine Wetzel, a native of Olympia, Washington, has come a long way. After spending a year and a half in the Noma kitchen, he decided it was time to go back home to Washington and open a restaurant of his own. He checked out a bunch of locations and decided that an inn on a small island off the coast of Bellingham was the ideal spot. Not content with having his own kitchen, he identified a fertile plot of land on the island where he planted a garden to supply the restaurant with produce. Two years later we are seeing reviews like these: “brilliant restaurant, producing the type of magic that can be created only when a well-trained, creative chef finds the perfect spot from which to source the freshest and finest of ingredients”; “several of the vegetable dishes will stay with me forever”; and “his hot-smoked, Lummi Island reef net caught salmon might be the best thing I ate in 2012.”

After making a big splash in the semifinals of the food industry’s annual James Beard Foundation award competition, Seattle’s list of contenders was cut to a talented few when finalists were announced today.

Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn on Lummi Island made the final five for Rising Star Chef, a national award.

Still in the running for Best Chef Northwest are Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins, Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell of Staple & Fancy. Competing with them for the regional title are two Portland chefs – Naomi Pomeroy of Beast and Cathy Whims of Nostrana.

Chosen as one of five finalists for Outstanding Restaurant Design (75 seats or less) was Seattle’s Westward, which sits on the north shore of Lake Union and is part of Josh Henderson’s Huxley Wallace Collective.

The full list of finalists, or “nominees” as they are officially called, is on the Beard Foundation’s website. Winners will be announced May 5 at an awards ceremony at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Chef Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA is semifinalist for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award from the James Beard Foundation.

They’re here! This morning we announced the semifinalists for our 2014 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, from Outstanding Restaurant to Rising Star Chef of the Year. Our announcement took place in Orlando, one of Florida’s burgeoning culinary hubs. We’d like to thank Visit Orlando for making the event possible.

Scroll down to see if your favorite restaurant or chef is in the running. (For a refresher on how these names were selected, read this.) And don’t forget: we’ll announce the final Restaurant and Chef Award nominations, as well as the nominations for our Book, Journalism, Broadcast, and Restaurant Design Awards, at the Publican in Chicago on Tuesday, March 18.

The 2014 James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on May 2 and 5.

The 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists

Best New Restaurant
The 404 Kitchen, Nashville
Aragona, Seattle
Ardent, Milwaukee
Asta, Boston
Bar Sajor, Seattle
Betony, NYC
Brindille, Chicago
Carbone, NYC
Casa Rubia, Dallas
The Cavalier, San Francisco
Chi Spacca, Los Angeles
Connie and Ted’s, West Hollywood, CA
Coqueta, San Francisco
The Elm, Brooklyn, NY
Estela, NYC
Fish & Game, Hudson, NY
Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe
Laurel, Philadelphia
MilkWood, Louisville, KY
MW, Honolulu
Nico Osteria, Chicago
Pêche, New Orleans
Pinewood Social, Nashville
Ribelle, Brookline, MA
Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C.
Serpico, Philadelphia
Tosca Cafe, San Francisco
Trois Mec, Los Angeles
Uncle Boons, NYC
Virtù, Scottsdale, AZ

Outstanding Bar Program
Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, New Orleans
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
The Bar at the NoMad Hotel, NYC
The Broken Shaker, Miami Beach, FL
Butcher and the Rye, Pittsburgh
Canon, Seattle
Clyde Common, Portland, OR
Columbia Room inside the Passenger, Washington, D.C.
Cure, New Orleans
The Dead Rabbit, NYC
The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., Philadelphia
Hard Water, San Francisco
The Hawthorne, Boston
Kimball House, Decatur, GA
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY
Marvel Bar, Minneapolis
The Porter Beer Bar, Atlanta
Rivera, Los Angeles
Rogue 24, Washington, D.C.
Taste, St. Louis
Trick Dog, San Francisco
The Varnish, Los Angeles
The Violet Hour, Chicago
Williams & Graham, Denver

Outstanding Chef
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Isaac Becker, 112 Eatery, Minneapolis
Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde, NYC
Gary Danko, Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, West Hollywood, CA
Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune, NYC
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
Carrie Nahabedian, Naha, Chicago
Nancy Oakes, Boulevard, San Francisco
Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken, NJ
Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia, Atlanta
Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
Julian Serrano, Picasso at Bellagio, Las Vegas
Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle
Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco
Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC
Melissa Chou, Aziza, San Francisco
Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago
Steve Horton, Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis
Kate Jacoby, Vedge, Philadelphia
Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW, Honolulu
Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
Phoebe Lawless, Scratch, Durham, NC
Belinda Leong, b. patisserie, San Francisco
Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, Baked, Brooklyn, NY
Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, Spuntino, Denver
Tiffany MacIsaac, Birch & Barley, Washington, D.C.
Dolester Miles, Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Neil Robertson, Crumble & Flake, Seattle
Philip Speer, Uchi, Austin and Houston
Jonathan Stevens and Cheryl Maffei, Hungry Ghost, Northampton, MA
Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC
Nick Wesemann, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, MO
Jennifer Yee, Lafayette, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant
Bern’s Steak House, Tampa, FL
Canlis, Seattle
The Fearrington House Restaurant, Pittsboro, NC
Fore Street, Portland, ME
Foreign Cinema, San Francisco
Fork, Philadelphia
Greens, San Francisco
Hamersley’s Bistro, Boston
Hearth, NYC
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
Mélisse, Santa Monica, CA
Pearl Oyster Bar, NYC
Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
Primo, Rockland, ME
The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Spiaggia, Chicago
Terra, St. Helena, CA
Vidalia, Washington, D.C.
wd~50, NYC

Outstanding Restaurateur
Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, Washington, D.C. (The Bombay Club, The Oval Room, Rasika, and others)
Giorgios Bakatsias, Giorgios Hospitality Group, Durham, NC (Kipos, Parizäde, Village Burgers, and others)
Frank Bonanno, Bonanno Concepts, Denver (Mizuna, Osteria Marco, Bones, and others)
JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
George Formaro, Des Moines, IA (Centro, Django, South Union Bread Café, and others)
Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Concepts, Phoenix (Olive & Ivy, True Food, Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend, and others)
Ford Fry, Ford Fry Restaurant Company, Atlanta (The Optimist, JCT Kitchen, No. 246, and others)
Garrett Harker, Boston (Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, The Hawthorne, and others)
Mike Klank and Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta
Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston (No. 9 Park, Menton, B&G Oysters, and others)
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Larry Mindel, Poggio and Copita, Sausalito, CA
Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa Valley, CA (Mustards Grill and Cindy’s Back Street Kitchen)
Nick Pihakis, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Birmingham, AL
Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula’s Garden, Serpico, and others)
Caroline Styne, West Hollywood, CA (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, and others)
Phil Suarez, Suarez Restaurant Group, NYC (ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges, wd~50, and others)
Andrew Tarlow, NYC (Diner, Marlow & Sons, Reynard, and others)
Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, Philadelphia (Little Nonna’s, Jamonera, Barbuzzo, and others)
Rick and Ann Yoder, Wild Ginger, Seattle

Outstanding Service
Abacus, Dallas
Bacchanalia, Atlanta
Blue Hill, NYC
Brigtsen’s, New Orleans
Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, WA
L’Espalier, Boston
Komi, Washington, D.C.
L2O, Chicago
Lucques, West Hollywood, CA
Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
Marcel’s, Washington, D.C.
McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
One Flew South, Atlanta
Persimmon, Bristol, RI
Providence, Los Angeles
Quince, San Francisco
Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
Topolobampo, Chicago
Vetri, Philadelphia

Outstanding Wine Program
5 & 10, Athens, GA
A16, San Francisco
Addison at the Grand Del Mar, San Diego
Archie’s Waeside, Le Mars, IA
Bar Boulud, NYC
The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
Café on the Green at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Irving, TX
CityZen at Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
FIG, Charleston, SC
The Grill Room at Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans
The Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Marcel’s, Washington, D.C.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar, NYC
Picasso at Bellagio, Las Vegas
Press, St. Helena, CA
Rouge Tomate, NYC
Sepia, Chicago
Spago, Beverly Hills, CA
Troquet, Boston
Yono’s Restaurant, Albany, NY

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, Vanberg & DeWulf, Cooperstown, NY
Mike Floyd, Nick Floyd, and Simon Floyd, Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wine, Napa, CA
Stephen McCarthy, Clear Creek Distillery, Portland, OR
Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
Luca Paschina, Barboursville Vineyards, Barboursville, VA
David Perkins, High West Distillery & Saloon, Park City, UT
Tom Peters, Monk’s Cafe, Philadelphia
Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
Jörg Rupf, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA
Eric Seed, Haus Alpenz, Edina, MN
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
Ann Tuennerman, Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
Burt Williams, founder of Williams Selyem Winery, Healdsburg, CA
David Wondrich, spirits educator, Brooklyn, NY
Stephen M. Wood, Farnum Hill Cider, Lebanon, NH

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago
Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
Daniel Delaney, Delaney Barbecue, Brooklyn, NY
Chris Kajioka, Vintage Cave, Honolulu
Christopher Kearse, Will, Philadelphia
Matthew Kirkley, L2O, Chicago
Casey Lane, Tasting Kitchen, Venice, CA
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos
Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady, Honolulu
Rick Lewis, Quincy Street Bistro, St. Louis
Malcolm Livingston II, wd~50, NYC
Tim Maslow, Ribelle, Brookline, MA
Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty, Sons & Daughters, San Francisco
Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Ripple, Washington, D.C.
Ben Nerenhausen, Mistral, Princeton, NJ
Jorel Pierce, Euclid Hall, Denver
David Posey, Blackbird, Chicago
Ben Puchowitz, CHeU Noodle Bar, Philadelphia
Eduardo Ruiz, Corazón y Miel, Bell, CA
Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME
Eli Sussman, Mile End, Brooklyn, NY
Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles
Michael Toscano, Perla, NYC
Chris Weber, The Herbfarm, Woodinville, WA
Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Myles Anton, Trattoria Stella, Traverse City, MI
Dave Beran, Next, Chicago
Neal Brown, The Libertine Liquor Bar, Indianapolis
Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo, Fat Rice, Chicago
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago
Phillip Foss, EL Ideas, Chicago
Greg Hardesty, Recess, Indianapolis
Douglas Katz, Fire Food & Drink, Cleveland
Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine, Dayton, OH
Ryan McCaskey, Acadia, Chicago
Regina Mehallick, R Bistro, Indianapolis
Brian Polcyn, Forest Grill, Birmingham, MI
Iliana Regan, Elizabeth, Chicago
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
David Tallent, Restaurant Tallent, Bloomington, IN
Jason Vincent, Nightwood, Chicago
Paul Virant, Vie Restaurant, Western Springs, IL
Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria, Chicago
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Scott Anderson, Elements, Princeton, NJ
Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, VA
Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, NJ
Pierre Calmels, Bibou, Philadelphia
Anthony Chittum, Iron Gate, Washington, D.C.
Joe Cicala, Le Virtù, Philadelphia
Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore
Lee Gregory, The Roosevelt, Richmond, VA
Haidar Karoum, Proof, Washington, D.C.
Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Lovettsville, VA
Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia
Lucas Manteca, The Red Store, Cape May Point, NJ
Cedric Maupillier, Mintwood Place, Washington, D.C.
Justin Severino, Cure, Pittsburgh
Bryan Sikora, La Fia, Wilmington, DE
Brad Spence, Amis, Philadelphia
Lee Styer, Fond, Philadelphia
Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C.
Angelo Vangelopoulos, The Ivy Inn Restaurant, Charlottesville, VA
Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest
Justin Aprahamian, Sanford, Milwaukee
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
Clayton Chapman, The Grey Plume, Omaha, NE
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO
Doug Flicker, Piccolo, Minneapolis
Josh Galliano, The Libertine, Clayton, MO
Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis
Ted Habiger, Room 39, Kansas City, MO
Howard Hanna, The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, Kansas City, MO
Jamie Malone, Sea Change, Minneapolis
Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis
Ryan Nitschke and Nick Weinhandl, HoDo Restaurant at the Hotel Donaldson, Fargo, ND
Ben Poremba, Elaia, St. Louis
Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN
Phil Shires, Cafe di Scala, Des Moines, IA
David Swanson, Braise, Milwaukee
Jim Webster, Wild Rice, Bayfield, WI
Kevin Willmann, Farmhaus, St. Louis
Sean Wilson, Proof, Des Moines, IA

Best Chef: Northeast
Tyler Anderson, Millwright’s, Simsbury, CT
Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa, Boston
Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Eric Gabrynowicz, Restaurant North, Armonk, NY
Wesley Genovart, SoLo Farm & Table, South Londonderry, VT
Gerry Hayden, The North Fork Table & Inn, Southold, NY
Evan Hennessey, Stages at One Washington, Dover, NH
Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden, ME
Dano Hutnik, Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca, Lodi, NY
Matt Jennings, Farmstead Inc., Providence, RI
Michael Leviton, Lumière, Newton, MA
Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA
Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet Bistro, Portsmouth, NH
Masa Miyake, Miyake, Portland, ME
Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden, ME
Guy Reuge, Mirabelle, Stony Brook, NY
Champe Speidel, Persimmon, Bristol, RI
Benjamin Sukle, Birch, Providence, RI
Joel Viehland, Community Table, Washington, CT
Eric Warnstedt, Hen of the Wood, Burlington and Waterbury, VT

Best Chef: Northwest
Chris Ainsworth, Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, Walla Walla, WA
Andy Blanton, Cafe Kandahar, Whitefish, MT
Greg Denton & Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR
Eric Donnelly, RockCreek, Seattle
Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle
Jason Franey, Canlis, Seattle
James Honaker, Bistro Enzo, Billings, MT
Joe Kim, 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar, Bend, OR
Richard Langston, Café Vicino, Boise, ID
Nathan Lockwood, Altura, Seattle
Brendan McGill, Hitchcock, Bainbridge Island, WA
Trent Pierce, Roe, Portland, OR
Naomi Pomeroy, Beast, Portland, OR
Dustin Ronspies, Art of the Table, Seattle
Adam Sappington, The Country Cat, Portland, OR
Ethan Stowell, Staple & Fancy, Seattle
Jason Stratton, Spinasse, Seattle
Cathy Whims, Nostrana, Portland, OR
Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, OR
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: NYC
Jonathan Benno, Lincoln Ristorante
Fredrik Berselius, Aska
April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig
Paul Carmichael, Má Pêche
Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen
Mark Ladner, Del Posto
Paul Liebrandt, The Elm
Anita Lo, Annisa
Carlo Mirarchi, Roberta’s
Seamus Mullen, Tertulia
Joe Ng, RedFarm
Alex Raij and Eder Montero, Txikito
César Ramirez, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Masato Shimizu, 15 East
Justin Smillie, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
Alex Stupak, Empellón Cocina
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, Carbone
Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto
Michael White, Marea

Best Chef: South
Greg Baker, The Refinery, Tampa, FL
Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, MS
Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
Derek Emerson, Walker’s Drive-In, Jackson, MS
José Enrique, José Enrique, San Juan, PR
Justin Girouard, The French Press, Lafayette, LA
Chad Johnson, SideBern’s, Tampa, FL
Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, AR
Rob McDaniel, SpringHouse, Alexander City, AL
Jose Mendin, Pubbelly, Miami Beach, FL
James and Julie Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park, FL
Steve Phelps, Indigenous, Sarasota, FL
Ryan Prewitt, Pêche Seafood Grill, New Orleans
Hari Pulapaka, Cress, DeLand, FL
Horacio Rivadero, The District Miami
Henry Salgado, Spanish River Grill, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Alon Shaya, Domenica, New Orleans
Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans
Sue Zemanick, Gautreau’s, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast
Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur, GA
Jeremiah Bacon, The Macintosh, Charleston, SC
Colin Bedford, The Fearrington House Restaurant, Pittsboro, NC
Kathy Cary, Lilly’s, Louisville, KY
Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh, NC
Scott Crawford, Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, NC
Todd Ginsberg, The General Muir, Atlanta
Damian Heath, Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, WV
Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC
Scott Howell, Nana’s, Durham, NC
Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, NC
Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston, SC
Josh Keeler, Two Boroughs Larder, Charleston, SC
Matt Kelly, Mateo, Durham, NC
Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY
Daniel Lindley, St John’s Restaurant, Chattanooga, TN
Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC
Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville

Best Chef: Southwest
Charleen Badman, FnB, Scottsdale, AZ
Kevin Binkley, Binkley’s, Cave Creek, AZ
Bowman Brown, Forage, Salt Lake City
David Bull, Congress, Austin
James Campbell Caruso, La Boca, Santa Fe
Rob Connoley, The Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM
Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin
Jennifer James, Jennifer James 101, Albuquerque, NM
Matt McCallister, FT33, Dallas
Frederick Muller, El Meze, Taos, NM
Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s, Houston
Jeff Osaka, Twelve, Denver
Jonathan Perno, La Merienda at Los Poblanos Inn, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM
Martín Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe
Silvana Salcido, Barrio Café, Phoenix
Alex Seidel, Fruition, Denver
Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston
John Tesar, Spoon Bar & Kitchen, Dallas
David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas
Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston

Best Chef: West
Matthew Accarrino, SPQR, San Francisco
Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Josef Centeno, Bäco Mercat, Los Angeles
Michael Chiarello, Bottega, Yountville, CA
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Justin Cogley, Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel, Carmel, CA
Mitsuo Endo, Aburiya Raku, Las Vegas
Tyler Florence, Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco
Ed Kenney, Town, Honolulu
Mourad Lahlou, Aziza, San Francisco
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
Ludo Lefebvre, Trois Mec, Los Angeles
David LeFevre, MB Post, Manhattan Beach, CA
Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles
Daniel Patterson, Coi, San Francisco
John Rivera Sedlar, Rivera, Los Angeles
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Los Angeles
Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco
James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA
Ricardo Zarate, Picca, Los Angeles

America’s Best Hotel Restaurants.

It’s lucky for weary (and hungry) travelers that some of the top restaurants in the country are housed in hotels — from a temple of gastronomy (and veritable Picasso museum) in the Bellagio in Las Vegas to The Inn at Little Washington, a culinary destination in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. GAYOT has narrowed down the nation’s best options for hotel dining to present to you the top 10 U.S. hotel restaurants in alphabetical order.

Food experts have predicted foraging will be a major 2014 food trend. Naturally, restaurants that serve up dishes accented by wild local ingredients have been getting plenty of attention. Despite the spotlight on foraged foods, the practice of finding wild mushrooms, lettuces, herbs and other fare is shrouded in mystery for some chefs. But these foragers were waking up at the crack of dawn to find truly local menu items long before “forage” became a buzzword.

From stays in Texas to Tanzania, these hotels make you feel like a local.

Staying in a hotel with ties to a farm no longer has to be the design equivalent of rustic (e.g., flowers in a Mason jar). Every place on our list offers amazing landscapes, delicious local food, has a farm on site or has strong connections to local farms and is in some way committed to ecological sustainability. You’ll want to go to all of them!

Willows Inn Lummi Island, Washington

In 2011, the 103-year-old Willows Inn on Lummi Island (an isle 75 miles north of Seattle) was redesigned. New accommodations, including the stunning waterfront Beach House, were added. But the real reason people visit is the menu. Chef Blaine Wetzel (formerly of Noma) has created a prix fixe menu that focuses on the fished, farmed and foraged. All food comes from no more than 30 miles away.

2014 Restaurants of the Year
Source: January 2014 Hideaway Report

United States

THE WILLOWS INN, Lummi Island, Washington — {Formal} Inspired by an apprenticeship at Noma in Copenhagen, Blaine Wetzel has created a temple to all things local and seasonal in his native Washington. Chef Wetzel and his team forage daily for wild plants on the remote and unspoiled island, and procure meat and fish from within a tight radius. Kale never tasted so delicious as when Wetzel has crisped it and topped it with rye crumbs and black truffle. A dish of glazed beets with lingonberries and sorrel was extraordinary. And a pink crescent of salmon smoked for eight hours over green alder could almost have been candy.

FARMERS FISHERS BAKERS, Washington, D.C. — {Informal} Part of the Washington Harbour complex on the Georgetown waterfront, this distinctive restaurant is owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union. The menu reflects a dedication to local products, and the interior reflects an artisanal aesthetic: The chairs are handmade, and the impressive wood ceiling was installed by craftsmen from Canada. For lunch, I tried the rich butternut squash soup and continued with the chicken salad club. At dinner, look for hearty fare such as steak frites with farmer’s whiskey sauce.


LA COLOMBE, Constantia Uitsig, South Africa — {Formal} Tucked into a cottage on the Constantia Uitsig wine estate in southern Cape Town, this restaurant deservedly wins accolades from every quarter. Intimate and charming, it offers a multicourse menu of exceptionally inventive cuisine. Chef Scot Kirton combines contemporary French techniques with Asian influences. His ingredients are impeccably fresh and locally sourced where possible. We relished dishes 
such as Champagne-poached oysters, ostrich tataki and tartare, and quail and langoustines in a delicately spiced sauce. Be prepared to linger.

OLIVIER ARLOT, Montbazon, Loire Valley, France — {Informal} Chef Olivier Arlot’s new restaurant displays a relaxed style, with limestone floors and white-painted beams, and the service is akin to that of a chic auberge. Our outstanding meal included sautéed baby squid in a reduction of Chinon wine, grilled sea bream in curried tomato butter with a clafoutis (custard) of Provençale vegetables, and roast guinea hen with a gratin of spinach and Swiss chard. We also enjoyed a fine selection of Loire Valley chèvres, and concluded with shortbread topped with sautéed mirabelle plums and bergamot ice cream.



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Noma’s René Redzepi, British star chef Mark Hix and Simon Rogan, soon to open the new restaurant at Claridge’s, pick the food destinations they’re excited about for 2014.

Chef and co-owner of Noma in Copenhagen, awarded best restaurant in the world three years in a row

Seattle, USA
Take a boat to a place called Lummi Island. There’s a chef there called Blaine Wetzel, who works with local native Americans. If he feeds the fire right, that place could become one of the most influential restaurants in the world.

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Chef Alex Atala is changing things in Latin America. For decades in Brazil, it was bad variations of Spanish/Italian food. At his restaurant, DOM, Atala is incorporating Amazon-native dishes into the everyday. His excursions to the Amazon last seven, eight, nine days. The roots, the plants, the seeds, the flowers — each tastes different.

Kyoto, Japan
If you want a mind-blowing food experience (and old shrines to boot), Kyoto’s the place. You go into a little place where they fry pork chops — and they’re the best pork chop ever. In kaiseki meals, you see where fine dining’s tasting menus originated: you can sit for hours and eat things you’ve never seen, but some dishes are the same as they’ve been for the past 1,000 years.

Owner of the UK’s ever-popular Hix restaurants

Nashville, USA
I’ve not been but I hear that Nashville has a strong emerging food scene. Sean Brock of Husk has one of his restaurants there and people tell me of other good bars and restaurants they have visited.

San Francisco, USA
San Francisco is always interesting and the Mission District seems to open a new place every week — an area that has been under gentrification for a good few years.

Newly appointed Head Chef at Claridge’s and owner of five restaurants throughout the UK

Victoria, Australia
Dan Hunter has confirmed he will open his own restaurant ‘with rooms’, Brae, in Birregurra, Victoria following his success as head chef at Dunkeld’s The Royal Mail Hotel. Dan has a very similar ethos to us. This purpose-built restaurant with farm is a very exciting opening in 2014.

Barcelona, Spain
Ferran Adria’s El Bulli Foundation opens in 2014 and is going to be a place where chefs can create, discuss and interact with other researchers like journalists, scientists and philosophers. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen next and it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Manhattan, New York
One of Brooklyn’s best restaurants is opening in Manhattan. Brooklyn Fare, a small (18-seat) counter-style restaurant and the borough’s only three-star Michelin rated one, will open a second location on West 39th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues.

What’s cooking for the coming year? Comfort food and classic cookware are making big comebacks. Humble vegetables such as turnips are not just turning up at haute-starred restaurants — they’re also taking root on (gasp!) the dessert menus.

These forecasts on fare spiced up the Culinary Institute of America’s annual Worlds of Flavor conference held in California’s Napa Valley in mid-November.


“What’s near and what’s far is constantly shifting,” says Francis Lam, a judge on Top Chef Masters. Here are picks for top cuisines for 2014 — and notable restaurants around the world to experience them. The predictions come from The Culinary Institute of America’s recent Worlds of Flavor conference in California’s Napa Valley.

Peruvian cuisine combines ancient ingredients of the Incas with foods brought by Spanish conquistadors. “Peru offers tremendous diversity. Dishes reflect the sea, the Amazon jungle and the Andes mountains,” explains Virgilio Martinez, chef/owner of Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru and Lima in London. “The country has thousands of varieties of potatoes and nearly equal variety of corn and quinoa.” He showcases summit-to-sea abundance in causa, a potato dumpling stuffed with shrimp and avocado.

Encompassing 7,000 islands, the Philippines maintain culinary traditions brought by Malay, Spanish, Chinese and American explorers and settlers. With the archipelago headlining on the news following Typhoon Haiyan, more chefs and foodies are focusing on boldly-spiced Filipino cuisine. The national dish is adobo, chicken or pork braised in garlic, oil, vinegar and soy sauce. The Filipino answer to spring rolls, lumpia, are commonly stuffed with pork and seafood. “It touches on all the flavor components,” notes Chef King Phojanakong of Kuma Inn and Umi Nom in New York City.

Showcasing pure, clean flavors and über-local foraged ingredients, the New Nordic Cuisine continues to enthrall diners and influence restaurateurs from Sydney to Singapore, including Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn on Lummi Island near Seattle. Wetzel cites “backdoor inspiration” for his menu, “Letting the season speak to me and what I cook that day. We’re the only place in the world with reef netting for salmon. We have kelp coated with herring roe plus berries, grasses, mushrooms. Sometimes we can make a dish just one week a year.”

“Turkey holds thousands of years of culture and each civilization left its culinary trace,” remarks Mehmet Gürs, chef/owner of 10 restaurants in Istanbul including Mikla. The country melds cooking styles of Central Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Balkans. Gürs works with anthropologists to document heritage dishes such as manti, a dumpling from Mongolia stuffed with lamb and served with house-smoked yogurt sauce from bufala milk. “But we don’t want to be a museum restaurant — we want to bring these recipes to life.”

We’ll call it Next-Mex — the modern metamorphosis of Mexican cuisine. “Mexican food incorporates new ingredients all the time. We need to keep authenticity but include new ideas,” says Enrique Olvera, chef/owner of Pujol in Mexico City. His dishes build from indigenous edibles Mexico bestowed to the world — corn, squash, tomatoes, chilis and chocolate. But Olvera catapults tradition into the 21st century. He coats smoked baby corn with coffee mayonnaise (plus light dusting of ground Oaxacan flying ants) and refines tacos by using tender suckling lamb, avocado cream and poblano pepper tortillas. News flash! Olvera plans to open a restaurant in New York City in Spring 2014.


According to presentations made by 60 of the world’s best chefs, top food trends include:

Comfort food gets classy: Chefs are taking down-home recipes upscale. Part of a chefs’ collective called the Young Turks, Isaac McHale used crowd-funding to launch The Clove Club in East London. A menu fave: the buttermilk-fried chicken seasoned with fragrant pine salt.

Fermentation: The same metabolic process that creates bread, cheese, pickles and wine is now transforming veggies such as turnips and string beans. “We get layers of flavor through fermentation,” explains Cortney Burns, co-chef at Bar Tartine in San Francisco, where dishes often incorporate root vegetables fermented in beer mash. “The process is not just delicious, it’s healthy.”

Root-to-leaf cooking: In the eco-embrace of waste-not, want-not, chefs strive to consume every part of a plant. At Pope Joan in Melbourne, Australia, chef/co-owner Matt Wilkinson whizzes carrot tops into a pesto that’s tossed with carrots and served on smoked yogurt (another trend to watch).

More quinoa: Just when you’ve gotten keen on these grain-like seeds in your local supermarket — expect to see a rainbow of different varieties. More than 120 species of quinoa grow in the crop’s native Andes. Chefs also are preparing quinoa in different ways. Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco first cooks it, then fries it to add toasty crunch to beef tartare.

Pressure cookers: A favorite of your grandmothers, this venerable vessel can cook foods faster and enhance caramelization. Fans include Maxime Bilet, co-author of the award-winning Modernist Cuisine book series. “The pressure cooker acts like a still, concentrating flavors back into sauces. Otherwise, all the flavors you smell are gone.” Bilet loves it for pot-au-feu.

Vegetables for dessert: The early allure of vegetables balances sweetness in savory desserts such as steam-roasted Jerusalem artichokes tossed in licorice syrup and served alongside coconut custard and pineapple sorbet. “The dish recalls my childhood in Samoa,” says Michael Meredith, chef/owner of Merediths in Auckland, New Zealand.

Japan’s rising star: With sushi as ubiquitous as burgers, Americans continue to look east for culinary inspiration. “Chefs are using Japanese ingredients with French techniques to create new dishes,” notes Masayasu Yonemura of Restaurant Yonemura in Kyoto. He adapts tofu for sliders topped with sautéed foie gras and truffle sauce.

Food and Wine Chefs’ Favorite Dishes of 2013. Some of the country’s best chefs reveal their favorite bites of the year.

“The guests dining at Noma should feel a sensation of time and place in their very bones,” René Redzepi says in the introduction to to his 2010 book on Nordic cuisine. Just a decade ago, when Noma opened on Copenhagen’s waterfront, the young chef committed to a bold new brand of Nordic cooking that was wildly innovative yet deeply rooted in the seasons and the natural environment, using ingredients from Scandinavia.

Today, with its Michelin stars and place at the top of Restaurant Magazine’s list of the world’s best restaurants, it’s hard to overstate the impact of Noma: chefs from Chicago to Beijing offer foraging tours; ingredients like hay ash, green strawberries, spruce shoots, and fermented this and that are suddenly part of the fine-dining vernacular; and riding on Noma’s buzz, Copenhagen has become an against-all-odds culinary capital drawing young chefs and foodies from around the world.

“I never imagined that one of the biggest joys of running this place would come from seeing people leave,” master-mentor Redzepi wrote earlier over e-mail, as he crisscrosses the globe promoting A Work in Progress, a new set of three books documenting a year in the life of the restaurant. Next week, he begins a book tour through seven North American cities, including a talk with Padma Lakshmi at New York’s 92nd Street Y on November 13. “As much as I get attached, it would be a real letdown if they didn’t at some point want to do their own thing. I’ve seen many times where a split can be treated like a bad divorce, since such a strong relationship develops with your sous-chefs. But it really should be like your best friend moving out of the shared apartment: the friendship continues.”

By the time Spain’s influential El Bulli (where Redzepi himself once worked) closed in 2011, Noma had become a finishing school of sorts for already accomplished chefs, taking up the mantle of Ferran Adrià’s educational kitchen. “They are forced out of their comfort zones, and by the time they leave, their minds work in a completely different way,” explains Matt Orlando, a former Noma chef, now heading up Amass in Copenhagen. “Noma produces chefs who have a different way of approaching cooking and how a restaurant should function.” At the core is Noma’s famed Saturday Night Projects, staff-only tastings at which the chefs create and get feedback on new dishes—gatherings meant to spark creativity and sharpen chefs’ sensibilities. “Just to work with René on a daily basis—everyone had all these things like liquid nitrogen, a hand blender, and cream—but the things that come out are kind of mind-blowing,” confirms Daniel Burns, who recently opened Brooklyn’s Luksus.

For his part, Redzepi, who shares the cover of next week’s Time with Momofuku’s David Chang and D.O.M’s Alex Atala, sees the work at Noma as part of a larger shift in the way the world looks at chefs. “Twenty years ago, cooking at all levels was, at the end of the day, a blue-collar, menial trade,” he says. “In the past three to five years, things have started to change dramatically. It’s not like it’s a white-collar trade yet, but let’s call it ‘hipster red.’ In these times of change, when a generation like mine is the gateway between the past and future, it’s even more vital and just plain nice to see these friends and colleagues grow around the world. We can process this craziness together.”

To celebrate Noma’s tenth anniversary and the release of A Work in Progress, caught up with four restaurants and their chefs who bring the Noma DNA to their own projects.

The Willows Inn is a secluded retreat located on Lummi Island, WA. The Inn has become a culinary destination and their mantra – “Fished, Foraged, and Farmed”. Chef Blaine Wetzel sources ingredients from Lummi Island fishermen, the surrounding forests and beaches, and from Nettles Farm – only a short walk from the dining room.

Gastronomic retreat in tranquil setting on Lummi Island, a 10-minute ferry ride from the mainland north of Seattle, with 21 accommodations both on site and scattered around the island as much as a mile and a half from the main lounge and restaurant. Off-site lodgings, such as “The Beach House” and “The Watermark” are in stylish, privately owned island homes rented by the inn, and amenities vary, but most offer fine views. On-site options include “The Haven,” perched on a hill behind the restaurant. All have limited service; breakfast at casual café near the ferry dock is included. Principal amenity is excellent restaurant featuring acclaimed chef Blaine Wetzel’s constantly changing menu.