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The Willows Inn

Lummi Island, USA

Rising star of US explores island produce

Chief reason to visit: Blaine Wetzel is one of the hottest young chefs in the US thanks to a hyper-local approach inspired by three years as chef de partie at Noma. Most of the ingredients in his deceptively simple dishes are grown or foraged on the tiny North West Pacific island of Lummi where the restaurant and lodgings are located.

On the menu: From salmon smoked in the restaurant's own smokehouse to berries gathered from nearby fields, the multi-course tasting menu is an edible tour of the island. Dishes could include herring roe and kelp with charred dandelions, followed by verjus-brined pork chops with marinated leeks.

What's the vibe? Diners gather in the cosy lounge before taking their seats in the softly lit dining room with stunning views of the island.

Accolades: The young chef was named Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2014 by the James Beard Foundation and last year won the Best Chef Northwest award.

How to get a table: Guests staying overnight at The Willows Inn get priority, otherwise you can only book two weeks before the date you want to visit. To get to Lummi Island you will need to take a ferry and the restaurant is closed from January to mid-March.

Images: Charity Burggraaf

 

On the pass

  • Blaine Wetzel

Style of food

  • Hyper-local modern American

Standout dish

  • Verjus-brined pork chops with marinated leeks