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March 13, 2018

Kristine Keefer

Three Award-Winning Chefs Team Up for Cross-Country Cooking Series

Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA, Kyle Connaughton of Single Thread Farm in Healdsburg, CA, and John Shields of Smyth + The Loyalist in Chicago will collaborate on a succession of exclusive dinners this April, May and June to bring their cuisines, farms and kitchens together.  The three long-time chef friends will take turns hosting each other for a limited three-part dinner series at their respective restaurants. Each 11-course dinner will be distinct and based on what is seasonally available to the area. The menu price is $375/pp with alternating courses prepared by each Chef. Wine pairings will be an additional charge and selected by each restaurant's sommelier. "We are all eager to share our own unique style of hospitality with each other and familiarize our culinary and dining room teams to these talented Chefs. Most importantly, we happen to be good friends outside of work, and this is a great way for us to cook in each other's kitchens and hang out as couples after," said Wetzel. On Friday, April 13, the event series will kick off their special collaboration at SingleThread Farms, where Connaughton will welcome Shields and Wetzel to Healdsburg to cook an elaborate 11-course dinner. In the days leading to the event, the Chefs will be spending time at the SingleThread Farm, conduct foraging trips to the coast and gather local ingredients to create a one-of-a­ kind menu that evening. "We each share a similar ethos but arrive at our cuisines from very different points of view. We (at Single Thread Farms) look at things in our farm and restaurant through a more Japanese lens, Blaine (Willows Inn) draws his inspirations from the island, and John (Smith + The Loyalist) is this exceptional chef who transcends trends and boundaries," said Connaughton. The second collaboration will be held on Sunday, May 6 at the Smyth + The Loyalist in Chicago, hosted by Shields along with his wife and pastry chef Karen Urie, along with harvesting trips to Smyth's The Farm. "We've all cooked together before and are a support network for each other," said Shields. "We will use our friendship and collective spirit to push each other through this series and create new dishes outside of our restaurants and comfort zones. Each menu will be unique, so we hope we will have some guests who take advantage and join us for all three dinners." The third and final event will culminate on Wednesday, June 27 at The Willows Inn organized by Wetzel. On Lummi Island, the chefs will again come together to source products from local fisheries and Willows Inn's onsite farm, to create a third unique menu experience. Lummi Island is located near Bellingham, WA. Online reservations can be made by clicking on the links below:


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