Jan 24, 2024 - Food and Drink

Valter's Osteria and SLC chefs named James Beard semifinalists

Photo: Courtesy of Urban Hill

Six Salt Lake City restaurants and chefs on Wednesday were named 2024 James Beard Awards semifinalists.

Why it matters: The James Beard Foundation each year celebrates the top restaurants and chefs across the country. The honor could elevate a chef's career or lure more foodies to an eatery or city.

Between the lines: Utah received fewer nods compared to last year's 11 restaurants and chefs nominated as semifinalists.

  • This is the second year in a row where Mazza Cafe chef and owner Ali Sabbah has been recognized as a semifinalist. He advanced to a finalist last March.

They include:

Outstanding Bakery: Table X Bread

Outstanding Hospitality: Valter's Osteria

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)

What they're saying: "Salt Lake City is coming into its own," Michele Corigliano, executive director of the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association, told Axios.

  • Corigliano noted Salt Lake City's food scene is growing as more people move to the Beehive State.
  • "The market for these independent restaurants is absolutely growing and they're being supported," Corigliano said.

Despite working in restaurants for over 20 years, Urban Hill executive chef Nick Zocco said he never imagined becoming a James Beard semifinalist.

  • "I kind of just created something that I think is a little bit more diverse than what Salt Lake has seen over the past 10 years or so," he said, referring to the restaurant's Southwestern flair and attention to ingredients.
  • "I want to see Salt Lake grow into a big culinary destination," he said.

What's next: Finalists will be announced April 3. Winners will be honored on June 10 in Chicago.

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