Salem chef nominated for James Beard award for second year in a row

Jonathan Jones of Epilogue Kitchen has been nominated as a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for the second year in a row.

Related: Salem chef is a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist

Jones was nominated in the Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest category, for chefs who set high culinary standards as well as "help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions while contributing positively to their broader community."

Finalists will be announced March 29, and winners will be announced June 5.

The other Oregon-based nominations in the category are in Portland and Eugene. The chefs from Portland are Peter Cho of Han Oak, Vince Nguyen of Berlu and Thomas Pisha-Duffly of Gado Gado.

From Eugene is first-time nominee Crystal Platt of Lion & Owl.

Related: Epilogue Kitchen breathes life, elegance into new downtown Salem space

Jones said even though he was nominated last year, he didn't expect another nomination. He said he's grateful for the customers who have been so kind to him, the restaurant and his staff.

"If I'm being honest, I never expect (recognition or awards) because there's always so many people doing amazing things," Jones said. "Maybe that's part of how I was raised, just to always assume that someone's doing it better than you, so it keeps me humble."

Like last year, he was alerted to the nomination by a congratulations message from acquaintances.

The dining room at the new Epilogue Kitchen space in Salem.
The dining room at the new Epilogue Kitchen space in Salem.

Epilogue Kitchen in October moved from the High Street SE location to a larger spot at 508 State Street. The new space has more than twice as much seating plus "The Library of Black Excellence," Jones' pride and joy where customers can select and read books.

"It's just wild to be recognized, like last week I was getting the Martin Luther King Junior Courage award (from Willamette University) and then this — it's pretty elevating and euphoric," Jones said. 'What I'm most excited for is that it brings new people into the fold and grow our community, and do all the cool things that 2023 will bring."

Jones is expanding library access and resources, including Braille books and pop-ups for the library space. He is also looking for muralists to contribute art for the library space. Those interested can send an email with sample work to Check out the Epilogue Kitchen website for the library's catalogue.

Icarus, the women's sports bar going in the High Street location, is planning a tentative opening for early to mid-March. The bar will have five televisions primarily showing women's sports and serving chicken wings. Compared to Epilogue, the bar will be more casual and serve alcoholic punch and highballs.

For more info on Epilogue and Icarus, visit

Em Chan covers food and dining at the Statesman Journal. You can reach her at, follow her on Twitter @catchuptoemily or see what she's eating on Instagram @sikfanmai.ah.

This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Salem chef nominated for James Beard award for second year in a row