Chef Blaine Wetzel grew up in Washington and began working in kitchens at age 14, and he’s never stopped. A dozen years later, he has studied and apprenticed widely, notably as Rene Redzepi’s Chef de Partie at noma in Copenhagen that repeatedly garnered recognition as the best restaurant in the world. Today, Wetzel's passion for the Lummi Island's landscape and produce is reflected in his cuisine. Salmon is caught around the corner and cooked on the Willows Inn grounds in our specialty smokehouse; seaweed gathered from the beach out front, and berries plucked from the back fields.
Redzepi refers to Wetzel a “rare and amazing talent.” Since arriving on Lummi Island and becoming a partner in the new ownership group, Wetzel has attracted international attention.
In 2011, the New York Times declared Willows Inn on Lummi Island “One of the 10 Restaurants (in the world) Worth a Plane Ride.” In 2012 he was named as one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs of 2012 and he became a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Pacific Northwest for the third year in a row. In 2013 he was an official nominee for the James Beard Award Rising Star Chef of the Year, and in 2014 was crowned the winner of the award.
Wetzel brands his exquisite meals with a commitment to island and locally-sourced ingredients and the traditions of farm-to-table preparation. He designs a provocative, yet honest food presentation, delivering much of it to the tables himself.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words...
Always strive to get better.
What is your greatest inspiration?
The island is an incredible source of inspiration. Every path, shore, and field speak volumes about what the season wants to be.
If you could take a plan ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
There is an Airstream trailer on the north east coast of New Zealand's south Island, named Nin's Bin. They serve crayfish that they catch each day, and nothing else. I've heard it's amazing.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
Euell Gibbons' Stalking The Wild Asparagus, a machete, and Bear Grylls.
- Rising Star Chef of the Year, 2014 - James Beard
- Best New Chef of 2012 - Food & Wine
2579 West Shore Drive
Lummi Island, WA 98262
+1 360 758 2620