Chef Wes Johnson of Salt (4356 Lindell Boulevard; 314-932-5787) learned that his restaurant is among the semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation's "Best New Restaurant" only when our friends at Sauce called him this morning for comment.
"I didn't know what was happening," he says. "We are caught completely off guard."
Now that he's had a few hours to let the news sink in, how does he feel?
And why did Johnson think a reporter was calling him this morning?
It turns out the James Beard Foundation announcement is one of two big pieces of news for Salt today. On Wednesday, February 29, Johnson will appear on NBC's Today.
"They called me and said someone they knew had been at the restaurant," and had been excited about it, Johnson says.
Johnson plans to prepare a black-pepper pot roast with buttermilk biscuits, a dish that he believes represents the cuisine of Salt and that he thinks viewers will be able to replicate at home.
In fact, Johnson is one of two St. Louis chefs who will appear on the popular NBC morning program next week. On Monday, February 27, Gerard Craft of Niche is slated to appear on Today.