I laugh—because of course it doesn't sound simple at all. Later, though, encountering this dish at dinner, I see what he means. The taste is clear, dazzlingly direct, the essence of turnipness expertly coaxed forward by all this burning and slow-drying and careful reconstituting. Who knew a lowly turnip could possess this meaty depth of character, such goddamned swagger? In course after course I saw this: Through rigor, patience, dutiful attention, and plain smarts, Wetzel finds ways to accentuate the nobility of pedestrian-seeming ingredients, to make them sing. A single shiitake, the mushrooms collected twice a week from a farm in Bellingham, is dunked in shiitake broth, dried in the sun and then grilled at high heat. Shrimp toast—a trio of wobbly fat wild spot prawns set on toasted rye bread—couldn't look simpler, and in a way it is just what it seems. The only “trick” to getting food to perform this way is knowing what to do: Get all your seafood from a one-boat “old-school burly-assed Irish fisherman” who knows all the spots around Orcas Island and beyond and who carries his catches directly from the boat up the beach and into your kitchen. And what not to do: Don't fuss with the good stuff once you have it. Brush the raw meat of the prawns with a simple prawn butter made from their shells and then let them relax for a spell at the mouth of the bread oven, just enough to barely warm them and give them a louche, buttery sheen.