In this Article
Blaine Wetzel’s foraging run starts in the predawn glow. It is just before 7 a.m. when Wetzel, guide Mike Passo, my wife and I drag long fiberglass kayaks out of a big shipping container and into the shallow water. Then we zip up life vests and paddle along a rocky shoreline where bald eagles perch in the evergreens, watching the sunrise light up Mount Constitution on green Orcas Island.
A pale, earnest young man of 26, with thick dark hair and Abraham Lincoln–like features, Wetzel worked for 18 months at the groundbreaking restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, where René Redzepi practically invented cold-climate locavorism. Now, Wetzel is chef and part-owner of The Willows Inn on tiny Lummi Island (population 964), 100 miles north of Seattle.
- Escape: American Inns
- Best New Chefs 2012: Their Simplest Recipes
- Foraging: The Next Locavore Fixation
- The Creative Life of Chefs René Redzepi and Daniel Patterson
“Lummi is really similar to Copenhagen,” he says. “They’re both these northern lands surrounded by water, and almost all the wild edible plants that we used in Copenhagen, I have found right here. We’re actually doing a whole dish of various kinds of shoots: fiddleheads, pine shoots, knotweeds.”