It’s shocking to me that the Gelinaz Shuffle isn’t sold out yet!!! I set alarms to remind me to buy tickets to the only local restaurant participating and was ready when the tickets went on sale a bit early. I nabbed a two top for the Willow’s Inn dinner with surprise chef! We wanted a table for four, but my preparedness wasn’t fast enough! But there are only a handful of the events sold out, so there is still time for you to experience this amazing culinary mix-up.
Gelinaz is a collective of international chefs who are shaking things up, sometimes in private retreats and parties for their own, but sometimes they invite the public in to share the exchange of knowledge. The Shuffle, dreamt up by Lummi Island’s own Blaine Wetzel, who by the way just won a James Beard award, takes 37 of the world’s top chefs, mixes them up in a bag, and spits them out at a peer’s restaurant, not just cooking in their kitchen but living their life.

The public side of the Gelinaz Shuffle takes place on July 9 with an eight course meal prepared by a mystery chef, who will reveal him(or her)self course by course. Will I be able to guess before the big reveal? Each restaurant is offering its usual seatings, so some have multiple seatings, while others (like the Willow’s Inn) has one.

Many of you have probably eaten a meal at a local restaurant featuring a visiting chef. The shuffle is different. This is not a chef bringing his cuisine to a new location, but rather a chef entering a new kitchen, using local ingredients in the style of the host restaurant, and presenting something new, perhaps a radical departure from a usual style. This is something unique that will probably never be replicated. (And if Shuffle Duex takes place, it won’t be the same, because the chefs will have done it before and better able to prepare.)

Noma's Herb Garden in the kitchen

Noma’s Herb Garden in the kitchen

With chefs like Noma’s René Redzepi, Osteria Francescana’s Massimo Boturra, Le Chateaubriand’s Inaki Aizpitarte, and the venerable Alain Ducasse, I am truly shocked tickets are still available for the shuffle. Perhaps people are hesitant to eat at a notable restaurant with the “wrong” chef, but last I checked, even Noma had availability. If I had the time, I would fly there just to see what a visiting chef could do with that kitchen, the outdoor smoker and grill, and those ingredients. There are enough Michelin stars in this group (I mean Chef Ducasse has something like 33 alone) to light my tiny 1914 farmhouse, so it doesn’t matter what venue you chose, you will get the meal of a lifetime. So get out there and buy a ticket, fly to one of these restaurants if you have to, and eat eat eat!!!

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