Wolfforth chef Jon Walter named semifinalist for Best Chef in Texas

James Beard Foundation
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 8:23 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WOLFFORTH, Texas (KCBD) - A Wolfforth chef, Jon Walter, may be named the Best Chef in Texas through the James Beard Foundation.

Walter tells KCBD his dream to become a chef was born when he started cooking at a young age.

“I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a little kid, since I was a little boy and now it’s coming true,” Walter said.

Walter went from watching cooking shows to owning a French restaurant, but he says it wasn’t always an easy journey.

“In 2020, during COVID, I couldn’t find a job as a food and beverage director or an executive chef,” Walter said. “I decided to go out on my own.”

Walter decided to open a tamale shop. Then, a year ago, he opened Chez Sami as a pop-up shop.

“Once I realized that there was a market gap and a demand for those things, I decided to reopen the restaurant as a French restaurant,” Walter said.

Putting on his apron all these years to cook tamales and classic French cuisine, helped him become a semifinalist for the Best Chef in Texas through the James Beard Foundation. Walter says he was shocked when his friend, who had won previously, called with the news.

“My friend called me and said, ‘Hey would you like to see my medal, would you like to see your medal,’ and I thought he was joking,” Walter said. “Really, he was showing me his medal that he had already won, and he said, ‘You’re next.’”

Walter says he’s honored to be a semifinalist for the James Beard Award, and young Jon would be proud.

“You have to do the heavy lifting for any goal that you set, and anyone can do it,” Walter said.

Judges and subcommittee members of the foundation will score the semifinalists. The five with the highest average score per category will move on to be nominees. The winner of each category will be announced in June.