Big news from the James Beard Award-winning chef Blaine Wetzel: A cookbook for his renowned Willows Inn restaurant on Lummi Island is on the way this November. Seattle Met reports that the new cookbook (Wetzel's first) is entitled Sea and Smoke and will be published by Running Press.
Per Met: "Turning a year's worth of world-class cooking into something home cooks can reasonably attempt is no mean feat. That's where collaborator Joe Ray comes in. He was visiting the island for a wedding in 2010 when he first learned that a Noma alum would be taking over at the Willows Inn. He'd made a career covering restaurants of that caliber, and after trying Wetzel's food, Ray knew he was the real deal . . .
"Unless spontaneous geoduck harvests happen to be part of your lifestyle, Sea and Smoke is really more aspirational tome than actual kitchen resource. But what it lacks in utility it more than makes up in inspiration. In fact, the first 85 pages are more Lummi Island travelogue than cookbook: Ray lived on the island for a year to shadow Blaine and help out at the restaurant."
We can't wait for Sea and Smoke, especially as a happy ending to what's been a very trying year for the chef, his May James Beard nod aside. Back in March, Wetzel's fiancée Raquel Ruiz Diaz was hit by a drunk driver in Paraguay and critically injured. Wetzel set up an online fundraiser to pay for medical expenses, which was ultimately successful and closed at the beginning of this month.