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A Conversation with Blake Spalding and Jen Castle

Tuesday, we're talking to Blake Spalding and Jen Castle, chef-owners of one of Utah's most notable restaurants. Their cuisine draws inspiration and ingredients from their desert surroundings, but will recent decisions by President Trump change that?


RadioWest divider.

In 2000, Blake Spalding and Jen Castle moved from metropolitan Arizona to Boulder, Utah, population 180. They were both talented and lifelong cooks, and not long after meeting they opened a farm-to-table restaurant in the middle of the red-rock desert before farm-to-table was cool. Hell's Backbone Grill is now a destination as intriguing as the national monument that surrounds it. But Spalding and Castle worry that changes to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument could spell the end of their dream.


Blake Spalding and Jen Castle are the chefs and owners of Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm in Boulder, Utah. Their new self-published book is called This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness. It is currently on backorder until February 2018.

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.