Salem chef is a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist

Co-owner of Epilogue Kitchen Jonathan Jones serves free meals to group members as they collect and take heed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches over their automobile radios on Jan. 18, 2021.

Jonathan Jones, chef and one of many house owners of Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails in downtown Salem, has been named a 2022 semifinalist for “Greatest Chef within the Northwest Area” by the James Beard Basis.

The James Beard Basis Awards, lengthy thought-about the Oscars of the meals world, “acknowledge distinctive expertise and achievement” in culinary arts, hospitality, media and total meals programs nationwide, in line with the web site’s mission assertion. Awards are based mostly on nominations despatched to the inspiration, that are then thought-about by volunteer committees.

Restaurant and chef semifinalists have been introduced Feb. 23. The winners can be introduced in Could.

Among the many different 20 cooks within the class, Jones is the one one from Salem and considered one of 4 from Oregon. The opposite Oregon cooks are all from Portland: Carlo Lamagna of Magna Kuisina, Vince Nguyen of Berlu and Thomas Pisha-Duffly of Oma’s Hideaway.

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The comfy, colourful 50-seat restaurant at 130 Excessive St. SE has a menu that Jones adjustments up typically, providing crabcake benedict, meatball subs, breakfast cereal french toast, vegetarian biscuits and gravy, porkchops.

Associated: Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails is now open in downtown Salem. This is what you may be consuming there.

Jones mentioned the information of his recognition took him abruptly.

“I received a ‘congratulations’ message from an account I comply with on Instagram,” Jones mentioned. “I did not even know what he was speaking about.”

He mentioned when he formally heard of his award, he thought it wasn’t actual. Previously few years, Jones mentioned many of us have mentioned and written issues on-line to harass and “mess with him,” and he thought it was simply taking place once more. He needed to double-check the official awards web site.

He mentioned it is an honor and that he is nonetheless using the excessive that this award has been.

” I have been dreaming of at the present time and you’re employed so onerous to get such an honor − it is nonetheless surreal that I used to be even nominated,” Jones mentioned. “This award has normally been to eating places and people in larger markets like Seattle, Portland, L.A. and New York, however it’s nice to be acknowledged on this smaller market.”

Crab cakes with blue crab, Ritz crackers, Old Bay remoulade, corn relish and micro greens at Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails in Salem on March 20, 2019. The restaurant opens in downtown Salem on Friday.

Crab desserts with blue crab, Ritz crackers, Outdated Bay remoulade, corn relish and micro greens at Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails in Salem on March 20, 2019. The restaurant opens in downtown Salem on Friday.

Street to recognition

Jones opened Epilogue Kitchen together with his companion Maura Ryan in 2019, after discovering success with their pop-up Prologue Kitchen. Previous to the pop-up, he additionally labored at Phrase of Mouth, Taproot Lounge & Cafe and Santiam Wine & Bistro, in addition to a hand at Cristom Vineyards, Salem Ale Works and Isaac’s Downtown.

Jones is among the few Black restaurant house owners in Salem and has been a pacesetter in native activism efforts. Because the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Johnson, there are portraits of the 2 within the entrance window of the restaurant, in addition to the names of others killed in instances of police brutality written in white marker. A shelf on the entrance of the restaurant holds books by Black authors and others masking the subject of racism for patrons to borrow.

Associated: Dismantling racism on the dinner desk, Epilogue Kitchen gives books for takeout

Jones, a member of the native Black Lives Matter chapter, mentioned his id and the happenings on this planet are integral to his beliefs and his enterprise, together with being anti-racist and anti-fascist.

He mentioned people have harassed him on-line, leaving critiques and feedback in posts which have insulted Jones and his restaurant. Along with his management on anti-racism efforts, his can also be one of many few eating places in Salem that requires diners present proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

After the previous couple of years of struggles, Jones mentioned, this award is a reminder that he and the restaurant have nice loyal clients, and he appreciates each patron who has dined inside.

“What I really like most is having the ability to feed individuals,” Jones mentioned.

Different semifinalists to attempt

Listed here are another Northwest James Beard Awards semifinalists to check out:

  • Excellent restauranteur: Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, Langbaan, Hat Yai, Eem, and others, Portland.

  • Excellent restaurant: The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle.

  • Rising chef: Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle.

  • Rising chef: Thuy Pham, Mama Đút, Portland.

  • Excellent baker: Pamela Vuong, The Flour Field, Seattle.

  • Excellent wine program: Hiyu Wine Farm, Hood River.

This text initially appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Salem’s chef at Epilogue Kitchen semifinalist for James Beard Award