Jen Castle and Blake Spalding are chef-owners of the highly acclaimed and award-winning restaurant, Hell’s Backbone Grill
, located in Boulder, Utah, population 225 and one of the most remote towns in the United States.
Blake and Jen operate their restaurant following Buddhist principles, with a commitment to sustainability, environmental ethics, and social and community responsibility. They serve organic, locally produced, regionally and seasonally appropriate cuisine, growing many of their own vegetables and fruits organically in the restaurant’s two gardens and on their six-acre farm
. They feature dishes made with fruit from Boulder’s heirloom orchards and rely largely on local ranchers for the grass-fed and -finished meat they serve.
Hell’s Backbone Grill, now in its 20th season, has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the third year in a row for the Best Chef’s of the Southwest, enjoys one of the highest Zagat ratings in Utah and was selected as a Fodor’s Choice 2006 recipient. The restaurant has also been voted “Best Restaurant in Southern Utah” by Salt Lake Magazine’s for the last twelve years in a row, and was presented the prestigious Utah Governor’s Mansion Award for Culinary Artistry in 2006 by Governor Jon Huntsman. In 2005, Blake and Jen received an award from the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Center for Sustainable Environments for being “Culture Bearers of Sustainability in the Four Corners Region.” Additionally, Hell’s Backbone Grill was chosen as one of four restaurants representing Utah’s Slow Food movement in an exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The restaurant has been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sunset Magazine, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Organic Gardening, Outside Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Washington Post, Men’s Journal, More, Folk and National Geographic Traveler.