The TT 46

Blaine Wetzel

The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA
Photo: Charity Burggraaf

Why he killed it in 2015: Like his former boss, René Redzepi, Blaine Wetzel uses what grows and lives near him to create a menu unique to a place, in this case, an island several hours north of Seattle. His philosophy is captured in his cookbook, Sea and Smoke, which debuted this year. The chef also rocked the food world this summer with the Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle, a mad evening of dining where chefs around the world took over each other's restaurants for one night.

How would you describe your food? "Based on the shores, forests and farms of our island."

Best meal in 2015? "Mai Thaiku in Seattle: It's an unassuming Thai restaurant and probably one of the best restaurants on the West Coast."

Favorite underrated ingredient? "Fermented cabbage. I love to shuck fresh oysters into cabbage brine to give them a whole new texture."

Cake or pie? "The pies in Washington will change your perception of pie forever."

Go-to hangover food? "Mexican food. Always."

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