Blaine Wetzel last year won the James Beard Foundation award for Rising Star Chef, and this year won the organization’s prize for Best Chef Northwest. But the Lummi Island chef’s greatest achievement — at least by Charleston standards — might be hatching the idea for The Great Gelinaz! Shuffle.
The Shuffle involves 37 of the world’s leading chefs, including Sean Brock. In early July, the participants will swap kitchens and daily routines: According to a news release, chefs will “reside in their colleagues’ homes, drive their cars and dine with their families for a truly immersive cultural experience.”
On July 9, after a few days of immersion, the chefs will present an eight-course menu based on the local bounty. Dinners take place from Thailand to Sweden, and throughout the United States.
Tickets to the event are priced at 125 Euros (approximately $139.31), and can only be purchased in sets of two or four.
Brock’s stand-in will serve his or her meal at McCrady’s.
While Gelinaz!, an elite chef collective and food performance group, has released the list of participants, it hasn’t disclosed who’s going where. Diners won’t know who prepared their meal until it’s completed.
In addition to Brock and Wetzel, the U.S. contingent includes Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food, David Kinch of Manresa and Domnique Crenn of Atelier Crenn. Among the chefs representing 16 other countries are France’s Alain Ducasse, Denmark’s Rene Redzepi, Spain’s Albert Adria and Australia’s Ben Shewry.
Like Cook It Raw, a top-level culinary gathering which came to Charleston in 2013, Gelinaz! is sometimes accused of operating as a boys’ club. Three of the shuffling chefs are women.
Chef Fulvio Pierangelini and Andrea Petrini in 2005 founded Gelinaz!, but the group has only lately gotten up to global mischief. Last year it made headlines when it covertly arranged for 28 of the world’s most celebrated chefs to throw a surprise dinner in honor of Wylie Dufresne.
“The line-up is a family of chefs, who take risks as a starting point, that are neither fearful of creativity, nor driven by ego, but are fuelled by a desire to explore,” a release quotes Petrini as saying.
For more information and tickets, go to gelinaz.com.