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.
About the Author
BLAINE WETZEL, a two-time James Beard Award-winning chef, grew up in Washington State and is one of the most lauded chefs in the US. Wetzel runs The Willows Inn on Lummi Island and his food is known for celebrating the diverse array of ingredients native to the island. His first book, Sea and Smoke, was published in 2015.
"His cookbook—really more of an art book, with gorgeous, color-soaked photography by Charity Burggraaf—would have read like fantasy even before the crisis. The recipes really speak to other chefs; rice koji is a recurring ingredient, and few of us will ever lay our hands on bay leaf buds. But if you’re looking to drift to another galaxy, if you want to dream over green strawberries steamed with rhubarb and gooseberries, or gaze on the impossible, swirling beauty conjured from a dish humbly dubbed “heirloom peas and bitter greens,” Wetzel offers heady escapism." —Los Angeles Times
"Through starkly beautiful photography of artfully-composed dishes, the reader gets an intimate glimpse into the mind of one of the country’s most creative chefs." —Forbes
"The gorgeous book, which includes everything from Blackberry Stew to Sea Urchin with Rutabaga and Chanterelle, loosely follows the format of the menu at the restaurant..." —Food & Wine
"...page after page you will encounter mesmerizingly simple yet unbelievably complex images. The texture, the colors, the seemingly effortless compositions could rival that of a painting hanging at MoMA. I am truly blown away and cannot wait to journey there one day. This beautifully published book is an attempt to capture the result of all Chef Wetzel and the talented individuals who contributed to LUMMI over a decade… and they succeeded!" —Design Milk
"Between the gorgeous writing, breathtaking landscapes, and Wetzel’s museum-quality plating, Lummi: Island Cooking holds its own against any coffee table book, but those ambitious enough to don an apron and try their hand at the plethora of recipes will discover they most often embody a breezy simplicity" —Yahoo!Life
"...You can try to recreate chef Blaine Wetzel’s James Beard Award-winning cuisine at home, which he beautifully captures in his new book, Lummi: Island Cooking. The hyperlocal ingredients are foraged, farmed and fished around the Puget Sound, and the dishes sound like they were plucked out of a fairy tale..." —Robb Report