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Fine Dining Lovers – A Chat With Blaine Wetzel, Lummi Island’s Rising Star

April 17, 2014

Fine Dining Lovers – A Chat With Blaine Wetzel, Lummi Island’s Rising Star

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,...

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The Wall Street Journal – Book a Dining Table With a View

April 3, 2014

The Wall Street Journal – Book a Dining Table With a View

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...

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OAD – 2014 U.S. Top 100 Restaurants

March 31, 2014

OAD – 2014 U.S. Top 100 Restaurants

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:...

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Puget Sound Business Journal – Seattle area’s James Beard award contenders down to four chefs and a restaurant design

March 18, 2014

Puget Sound Business Journal – Seattle area’s James Beard award contenders down to four chefs and a restaurant design

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...

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James Beard Foundation – The 2014 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists

February 19, 2014

James Beard Foundation – The 2014 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists

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...

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Gayot – 2014 Top 10 U.S. Hotel Restaurants

January 30, 2014

Gayot – 2014 Top 10 U.S. Hotel Restaurants

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.

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USA Today – Chefs unearth the practice of foraging

January 27, 2014

USA Today – Chefs unearth the practice of foraging

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.

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Modern Farmer – Global Guide to Local: Where to Stay Around the World

January 22, 2014

Modern Farmer – Global Guide to Local: Where to Stay Around the World

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...

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Andrew Harper – 2014 Restaurants of the Year

January 9, 2014

Andrew Harper – 2014 Restaurants of the Year

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...

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British Airways – Chef tips: top food destinations for 2014

December 31, 2013

British Airways – Chef tips: top food destinations for 2014

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. RENÉ REDZEPI 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...

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