Willows Inn chef releases first cookbook, ‘Sea and Smoke’

Celebrated chef and James Beard Award winner Blaine Wetzel has written his first cookbook.

“Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest” will publish Oct. 27. The hardcover costs $40. He wrote it with Joe Ray, a food and travel writer and photographer living in Seattle.

Wetzel, head chef of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, was named best chef in the Northwest for the 2015 James Beard awards — a year after he was named one of the top young chefs in America by the James Beard Foundation.

Wetzel has been cooking since age 14, including as chef-de-partie at Noma, among the best restaurants in the world, in Copenhagen.

He lives on Lummi Island and his culinary talents, as well as his focus on local flavors, have been covered extensively.

“Sea and Smoke” is described as a culinary adventure as much as a restaurant book — one that is a “travelogue chronicling the plucky ambition of a young chef who was determined to create a world-class dining destination in an unlikely location.”

Recipes include smoked mussels; herring roe on kelp with charred dandelions; aged venison legs and wild lettuce with seeded bread; and warm blueberries and an ice cream made from sweet woodruff.