Letters from 2012 Dining Awards winners have come in emails and hand written messages of thanks to dining editor Mary Brown Malouf over the past several weeks.

And as I sit here writing the opening pages of the next issue, including our "letters to the editor" section, it's clear they will not all fit on the page. So, we decided to post the letters from owners and chefs right here.

Check out what the winners have to say about their awards:

I can’t thank you and your crew enough for considering myself and The Wild Grape for such an honor. The [Dining Awards] reception was amazing, and the venue was unforgettable (the friggin’ Leonardo? Wow!). Salt Lake magazine is the cutting edge in town, and we couldn’t be more stoked to have been a part of that night.

—Sean Neves, head bartender at The Wild Grape (Best Mixologist)  

It was such a great evening at the Leonardo. Thanks for hosting the fabulous event and recognizing so many hard working, creative people. It makes our efforts so worth it. Keep on rocking. 

—Lavanya Mahate, owner of Saffron Valley (Best Indian)

Just wanted to thank you and the entire Salt Lake magazine team for hosting such a great event last week. We were thrilled and honored to be part of it. The ceremony was fun, the social hour was a huge hit and the Leonardo was beautiful. Thanks again for including us in the festivities, and know that you and all the other great food/beverage industry players in Salt Lake have inspired us to make 2012 our best year yet! 

—Christian Frech, director of operations/owner of Trio Restaurant Group

Thank you for putting together another amazing evening for the Dining Awards. The culinary community in Utah owes you a big thank you! 

—Mikel Trapp, owner of Fresco Italian Cafe (Best Italian and Best Restaurant in SLC)

I want to thank you and everyone at Salt Lake magzine for the Community Award you presented to Slow Food Utah at the Dining Awards. It was an incredible honor to receive this award on behalf of our organization and all it represents. Thank you so much for the recognition of our work in this extraordinary food community and for all you do to support us!

—Gwen Crist, Slow Food Utah (Community Award)

Thank you so very much for considering us for your Best Bakery Award. It is extremely humbling for me to be so warmly welcomed in Salt Lake City. I wasn’t sure what to expect when coming out here, but over the last year, I’ve seen that SLC has so much more to offer than people know—especially in its culinary community. It’s really exciting to see that through great restaurants, amazing food and wonderful people, we are able to foster an adventurous spirit that is opening up people’s palates and exposing us to a greater world that is food. It is exceptionally exciting knowing that, having been active in the culinary worlds of Napa, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Salt Lake is on the forefront of its own amazing adventure. And to be a part of that is an incredible honor. So, thank you and your team again for this amazing award. It will always be a reminder that we can never stop pushing forward, no matter what it takes. Passion for food is passion for life!

—Jeffrey de Leon, executive pastry chef at La Bonne Vie at The Grand America Hotel (Best Bakery)

We are blown away by this very prestigious award. I would like to thank you and your wonderful staff for this great honor. We have worked very hard to maintain what we do every day and always strive to be better. My great staff and I are so very thankful for this super, great opportunity to be in your magazine. My next challenge will be to maintain and exceed the expectations of our guests. Thank You.

—Patrick Barber of Pat's Barbecue (Winner of Best Comfort Food)