Two Utah restaurants, 4 chefs named as semifinalists in prestigious James Beard awards

Valter’s Osteria is again honored for hospitality, and Table X Bread makes the list of top bakeries.

Two Utah restaurants and four Salt Lake City chefs have been named as semifinalists for 2024 in the esteemed James Beard awards, which “recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts,” according to the The James Beard Foundation’s website.

Table X Bread, a bakery attached to the Table X restaurant at 1457 E. 3300 South in Millcreek, was included as one of 20 national contenders in the Outstanding Bakery category. And Valter’s Osteria, at 173 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, made the semifinal list for Outstanding Hospitality — a feat it accomplished in 2022.

Four Utah chefs were included among the 20 regional semifinalists in the Best Chef: Mountain category, which covers Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming:

• David Chon, Bar Nohm, 167 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City.

• Dave Jones, Log Haven, 6451 Mill Creek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City.

• Ali Sabbah, Mazza Cafe, 1515 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City. (Sabbah was a finalist last year, the first from Utah to get such an honor.)

• Nick Zocco, Urban Hill, 510 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bar Nohm just reopened with a new concept and a new connection to the bar Water Witch, offering patrons an easy pass through between intimate spaces in Salt Lake City on Thursday, July 13, 2023.

The finalists — five in each category — will be announced April 3. The winners will be named in a ceremony in Chicago on June 10.

Chef David Chon at Bar Nohm is mostly influenced by food he grew up eating in South Korea. But the dishes at the Japanese izakaya also have influences of Chinese food, Spanish tapas, and food that might be found in an American gastropub, said the bar’s co-owner Sean Neves.

Chon said the James Beard nomination was “great,” and added, “I think this will help our business, which is awesome.”

“We started off with a great team, and then everyone pushes it very hard,” he said. “... The business started picking up a little bit more, becoming more consistent, steady. We are seeing more people.”

Chon said he finds inspiration for his work by going through books and social media and “picking out what’s relevant for us.”

“I have a big library of things I want to try,” he added.

Chef Dave Jones with Log Haven said receiving the semifinalist nomination was “very surprising,” and, “I just wish it was for the entire team at Log Haven.”

Jones, who’s the head chef at Log Haven, has worked there for 28 years. As for what he credits for getting to this point in his career, he said, “All of the people that have ever worked for me with me and inspired me. You look at our partner team, they all take care of very special things in their own right to make an impact in our business.”

He said the restaurant is “firing on all four cylinders,” which gives him the opportunity to mentor young talent in his kitchen and let them make specials that express their creativity.

Jones also said that he’s inspired by other chefs in his work, as well as the grocery store, the seasons and “a gazillion cookbooks,” both modern and antique.

A two-time past semifinalist in the national category for Outstanding Restaurant, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm in Boulder, did not make the list this year.