James Beard Spotlight: Chef David Chon

This year, Utah had six semi-finalists on the 2024 James Beard Foundation List. Ahead of the June finalist announcement, we are spotlighting each of the nominees.

David Chon at Bar Nohm—Best Chef Mountain Region

Bar Nohm is a second-generation version reborn in 2023 after closing due to the pandemic. And nothing is as delightful as a comeback kid. Just call Chef David Chon Rocky Balboa. His food, after all, packs a punch. 

An intellectual dining experience of “Anju,” or Korean-style bar bites, the atmosphere is dark academia meets swanky cocktail bar. This makes sense, given Chef Chon’s new partnership with the crew from Water Witch next door (or a pass-through portal). 

What sets Bar Nohm apart is the fully visible binchotan grill. Binchotan charcoal burns hotter, cleaner and way better than your run-of-the-mill BBQ briquettes. It cooks with a borderline infrared light. A true novelty in Utah, the grill creates a rich smoke and a rapid cook to the food you will want to take advantage of. The food is made for sharing. And for sipping alongside it. Go with a group of three or four and order one of everything. 

In Korea, meals out might happen in stages. 橾離 (ilcha) is the first meal with some drinks. The second stage, 檜離 (icha), is the “second round.” The Bar Nohm website advises, and we agree, “Don’t order too much on the first round because there might be many more.”  

Why Go: Go for unique food, great cocktails and a slow shared meal.

Ordering Tip: Talk to your server and ask what is new and exciting. They will guide you through and suggest a cocktail to go with it.

What to Get: Chef Chon’s menu changes all the time. So we can’t point to a regular stand-out dish you won’t want to miss. Be sure to get every single skewered grilled item on the menu.

If You Go: Bar Nohm, 165 W. 900 South, SLC, barnohm.com

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Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinezhttp://www.saltlakemgazine.com
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to lydia@saltlakemagazine.com

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