Blaine Wetzel, the James Beard Award-winning chef of The Willows Inn, and champion of hyper-local cuisine, offers an inside look at his unique approach to fine dining.
Everything that Chef Blaine Wetzel makes is sourced within a few miles of his kitchen, often hours after it has been harvested from the ocean, the forest, or his own small farm. Lummi will inspire professional and home chefs to pay close attention to the seasons and to appreciate and bring out the best in what is fresh and local. The recipes Wetzel showcases here are a catalogue of dishes he created at the lauded Willows Inn restaurant on tiny Lummi Island in Washington State, ranked the number one restaurant in the United States in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by OAD (Opinionated About Dining). They are divided into courses that mirror the perfect bites and small plates that Wetzel serves at a typical Willows Inn dinner: green figs and leaf cream; sea urchin marinated in tomato seeds; wild beach peas and lovage stems; a stew of chanterelle mushrooms; and a dessert of beach roses. Stunningly photographed, every dish captures a moment in time and in nature. Each recipe highlights the unique qualities of the main component, whether it’s wild plum, young rhubarb, blue clams, sockeye salmon, venison, black walnuts, or a perfectly ripe melon. Each plate is breathtakingly elegant, yet the dishes themselves are unfussy and rustic. As suitable for the coffee table as it is for the sophisticated kitchen, this book is a symphony of aesthetic perfection, capturing a way of living and eating that is in harmony with the land.