Lummi: Island Cooking, by Blaine Wetzel
On a 9 square-mile island in the northwestern corner of the United States, just 25 miles from Canada, sits The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, one of the top fine-dining restaurants in the country. To get there, most visitors start in Seattle, drive a few hours north to Bellingham, and then take a 5-minute car ferry across Bellingham Bay. It’s absolutely worth the trip to experience a meal prepared by Chef Blaine Wetzel — who trained with famed chef Rene Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen before helming the kitchen at Willows Inn — because there’s simply no other place like it.
Wetzel celebrates the beauty and bounty of Lummi Island in every bite of his food, which is almost exclusively foraged nearby, grown on a 1-acre organic garden 1/2-mile from the restaurant, or caught in the surrounding waters and hand-delivered by boat to the beach out front. The thoughtful and precise food is undoubtedly fine-dining, but a meal at Willows Inn is never stuffy, formal, or austere.
Whether Mom’s lucky enough to have dined at Willows Inn herself, or if it’s high on her list of bucket-list restaurants, the just-released book is a fascinating journey to a singular destination. It’s divided by simple categories like fresh fruit, marinated fish, shellfish, hearty vegetables, main course, cocktails, and sweets. But the list of ingredients for the aspirational recipes is anything but common: there are hyper-local treasures like geoduck, salmonberries, and Dungeness crab. And then there are more surprising ingredients like wild beach pea tips, black currant leaves, fermented poblano pepper liquid, fresh cherry blossoms, birch branches, and dried woodruff leaves.
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.
Read full feature article here: Mother’s Day Gift Guide: The Most Inspiring New Cookbooks