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Topic: Blaine Wetzel
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November 21, 2013 at 4:12 PM
Dinner under a tent in Seattle in November? Call it foolhardy, even crazy, but also call it sold out—at $200 per person no less. Four hours after Lara Hamilton sent an email in mid-October to her Book Larder mailing list announcing the November 18th event, not a ticket was left. The draw was a chef trifecta. James Beard Award-winner Matt Dillon was cooking with Blaine Wetzel of Willow’s Inn, dubbed “one of ten restaurants in the world worth a plane ride” by the NY Times.
The guest of honor was Copenhagen chef Rene Redzepi of Noma, which held the number one spot on the list of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” three years running beginning in 2010. That’s the year “we went from zeros to heros,” said Redzepi in Seattle, one stop on his U.S. tour promoting his latest book, A Work in Progress. (If you missed him last night making chocolate-covered chicharones with Jimmy Kimmel and actor Idris Elba, watch it here. It’s hilarious!) Addressing the 160 people who braved Seattle’s rain and chill on Monday night an impressed Redzepi said, “This would never happen in Denmark.”
May 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
It’s a good thing it’s an honor just to be nominated, because the 2013 James Beard awards weren’t kind to Seattle.
Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland took the “Best Chef Northwest” category of the awards, commonly known as the Oscars of the food world, beating out a group that included Seattleites Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell of Staple+Fancy. Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco was the national “Rising Star Chef,” a prestigious category where the finalists included Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island. In the cookbook awards ceremony Friday night, three locals were finalists — Michael Natkin for Herbivoracious in the Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian category (Roots by Portland’s Diane Morgan took the medal), The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle for Baking and Desserts (Portland’s Ken Forkish won for Flour Water Salt Yeast), and Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, of the Bellevue-based Cooking Lab, in general cooking (breaking the Portland lock, at least, that category was won by Canal House Cooks Every Day by New Jersey-based Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer.)
The complete list of 2013 winners is online here. And if there’s a consolation prize — beyond the fact that the nomination really is something to celebrate — it’s that some of the most notable awards, as L.A. Times reporters remarked, were “long overdue.” That’s starting to be true for Canlis and Stowell’s restaurants too.
March 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Several Seattle authors and chefs were on the list when finalists for the prestigious James Beard awards were announced Monday morning.
For cookbooks, Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious was a finalist in the Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian category, and The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle was nominated for Baking and Desserts. Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, of the Bellevue-based Cooking Lab, was a finalist in general cooking (its 6-volume predecessor, Modernist Cuisine, won two awards last year, including cookbook of the year.) Natkin, in an interesting twist, now also works for Seattle-based ChefSteps, which was founded by a handful of former members of the Modernist Cuisine team.
In the chef and restaurant awards, Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island was a finalist for Rising Star Chef, a high-flying category whose past winners includes David Chang and Marcus Samuelsson.
In the Best Chef Northwest category, there were no surprises in the all-star lineup, all of whom have been nominated for Beards in past years: Jason Franey of Canlis and Ethan Stowell of Staple+Fancy (and other ventures) are up against Portlandites Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon (who won the Rising Star Chef award in 2011), and Cathy Whims of Nostrana.
Winners will be announced in May in New York City. The complete list is online here. The finalists list was narrowed down from these semifinalists — I was disappointed that more of the local semifinalists weren’t honored today. Who would have been on your list?
Photo of Michael Natkin by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times
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