In 2010, the cash-strapped owner of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington, placed an ad on Craigslist for a head chef. Blaine Wetzel, who was raised in nearby Olympia and had spent the last two years cooking (and, of course, foraging) at Noma in Copenhagen, was looking to come home. “Home” soon meant a 9-square-mile island dangling in the Puget Sound just 30 miles south of the Canadian border.
Everyone I talk to loves Amy Pennington. The Seattle-based urban gardener, author of the new Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes from a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen, was kind enough to meet with me one day in a Seattle pizzeria. Keep in mind I was a total stranger asking her for advice on my next-day meeting with renowned chef, Tom Douglas, who she used to work with and who now features her regularly as a contributor to his weekly radio show.