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Huffington Post – Farm to Fork Across America: Chef Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA

October 20, 2014

Huffington Post – Farm to Fork Across America: Chef Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA

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...

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Vacation Home Rentals – The Best Restaurant in Every State in the USA

October 6, 2014

Vacation Home Rentals – The Best Restaurant in Every State in the USA

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...

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#FOURUSA – The Best Restaurants in the USA

September 9, 2014

#FOURUSA – The Best Restaurants in the USA

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. Coirestaurant.com Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, NYC Chef | Cesar Ramirez Style | Kitchen...

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Seattle Weekly – Tucked Away, The Willows Inn Puts Magic on the Plate

August 26, 2014

Seattle Weekly – Tucked Away, The Willows Inn Puts Magic on the Plate

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...

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GRAY Magazine – No. 17

July 31, 2014

GRAY Magazine – No. 17

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.

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issuu – Boy On An Island

June 6, 2014

issuu – Boy On An Island

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.

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CNN Eatocracy – Best restaurants in America are…

May 5, 2014

CNN Eatocracy – Best restaurants in America are…

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...

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The Seattle Times – Lummi Island chef shares James Beard rising-star award

May 5, 2014

The Seattle Times – Lummi Island chef shares James Beard rising-star award

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...

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Katie Couric – Secret Vacation Destination (video)

April 23, 2014

Katie Couric – Secret Vacation Destination (video)

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.

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Premier Headliners Join Guest Chef Lineup for First Harvest Dinner at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, July 23-24

April 23, 2014

Premier Headliners Join Guest Chef Lineup for First Harvest Dinner at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, July 23-24

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. Adria began his career at the world-renowned restaurant elBulli and co-founded its menu-creating culinary laboratory, elBullitaller, in 1998 with his brother Ferran...

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