Chef Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn restaurant on Lummi Island is no stranger to notoriety and awards. He just added another as the James Beard Foundation named him this year’s “Best Chef Northwest.”
Also a winner of last year’s James Beard Foundation “Rising Star” award, Wetzel ironically arrived at the Willows Inn by way of a Craigslist job advertisement.
Wetzel had been working at Noma, a renown restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, noted as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world about the same time. The idea of returning to Puget Sound, he was from Olympia, appealed to Wetzel. He found the Willows Inn job posting for a seasonal chef and started working soon after in 2010.
The Willows Inn has since built a world-wide reputation, even noted as one of the ten restaurants worth a plane ride. Focused on seasonal foraged and locally-grown menu items from on and around Lummi Island, diners can expect different and extraordinary dining experiences throughout the year.