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Meet the Nominee: Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn on Lummi Island, 2014 James Beard Rising Star Chef Finalist

Meet Chef Blaine Wetzel of Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington, a 2014 finalist for the James Beard Award Rising Chef Award.

Chef Blaine Wetzel

Chef Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island grew up in Washington. He 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.

Willows Inn on Lummi Island2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA

(360) 758-2620


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. Last year Food & Wine magazine named him Best New Chef of 2012 and he became a James Beard Foundation Award official nominee in 2013.

Beach Store Cafe

In 2011, the New York Times declared Willows Inn on Lummi Island “One of the 10 Restaurants (in the world) Worth a Plane Ride.”

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.

Chef Blaine and his staff prep a meal

You’ll experience salmon caught around the corner and cooked to moist tenderness right on the Willows Inn grounds in our specialty smokehouse; seaweed gathered from the beach out front, and berries plucked from the back fields. Wetzel’s food brings you into an intimate relationship with the landscape he loves, allowing you to touch, taste, see and smell the ocean, the coastal lands, the soft gray light on the water.

Content provided courtesy of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island

Published April 17th, 2014