Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TasteBuds Is Returning To Pittsburgh

The event pairs the city's top chefs with young adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

photos courtesy best Buddies of Pennsylvania


TasteBuds is coming to Pittsburgh on Nov. 8 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. This is the second year for the event, which pairs some of Pittsburgh’s notable chefs with young people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities; each pair collaborates on a dish that will be served that evening.  

The event is a fundraiser for Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance the lives of IDD people by creating “opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development.” Last year’s TasteBuds raised $55,000 for Best Buddies of Pennsylvania.

“The reality of a community coming together — showing off our mission by pairing people with intellectual disabilities with chefs — nowhere did it take off as much as in Pittsburgh. Not just the the intensity but with the caliber of chefs that are involved,” says Matthew Sousa, Pennsylvania State Director Best Buddies.

“I’m a parent of a special needs kid. That makes it hit home for me. It’s something you don’t think about happening to you in your lifetime, and it changes your perspective on a lot of things,” says Derek Stevens, executive chef and co-owner of Union Standard.

Stevens will this year reunite with Tommy Kreutzer, his buddy from last year’s event. Stevens knows what he and Kreutzer are cooking, but, he, says, “It’s a secret.”

He’s not the only one who’ll be cooking with the same sous chef as last year. In fact, one of the cornerstones of the Best Buddies program is to provide an opportunity for IDD individuals to form friendships with the community-at-large. To that end, 12 of the 17 chefs who participated last year are returning for this year’s Best Buddies. “Building a relationship is important. I have a brother [Jordan] with Down’s Syndrome and it’s great that the community is able to rally around intellectually challenged individuals,” says Joey Hilty, proprietor of The Vandal; he and Executive Chef Csilla Thackray are back at it this year with John Mozeik.

If it follows in the heels of last year’s event, it’s sure to be one of the best dine-arounds of the year. “It’s about two people — and in most cases a person and a whole kitchen staff — getting to know each other,” says Sousa.

The 20 participating chefs are:

Chef Kate Laskey, Apteka | Chef Justin Steel, Bar Marco | Chef Robert “RC” Carter, Cioppino | Chef Chad Townsend, Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream | Chef Meghann Walsh, Osteria | Chef Nick Mineo, Sausalido | Chef Jamilka Borges, Spoon | Chef Steve Morehouse, Studio A.M. | Chef Kevin Sousa, Superior Motors | Chef Derek Stevens, Union Standard | Chef Joey Hilty & Chef Csilla Thackray, The Vandal | Chef Alex Balint, Twelve | Chef Bill Fuller, Big Burrito Restaurant Group | Chef Steve Lanzilotti, Talia | Chef Dave Anoia, DiAnoia’s Eatery | Chef Matt Stover, Il Pizzaiolo | Chef Justin Severino, Cure & Morcilla | Chefs Adam & Diana Kucenic, Muddy Waters Oyster Bar | Chef Juan Gonzalez, Pallantia | Chef Phillip Milton, Social House

“Of all the events we’ve been a part of, this seems to get everyone the most motivated to be sparked to do something good. We all want to do right by our buddies. They are full of positive energy, and, in our world, it’s nice to have the beacon of light,” says Hilty.

Admission to the event is $100 and includes tastings from all of the chefs and their buddies, as well as access to a limited open bar. Use the code INCLUSION17 for a $10 discount on the ticket price.

Best Buddies intersects with the Pittsburgh food community in two other ways this autumn:

The organization will host the premiere of the Pittsburgh episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” on Sunday, Oct. 22. Prior to the screening, there will be a Q&A with several of the chefs who appear in the episode. The screening at the AMC Waterfront 22 is free, but advanced reservations are required and donation of a nonperishable food item is requested.

On Dec. 3, Stevens hosts a powerhouse dinner at Union Standard with Justin Severino (Cure/Morcilla), Kevin Sousa (Superior Motors) and Chad Townsend (Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream). This will be the second installment of his Courses for a Cause Series.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

5 Great Ways to Enjoy Picklesburgh

The city’s fourth annual pickle festival will feature more food, more music and even pickle-inspired beers.

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Three of Pittsburgh’s Green Spaces Nominated for National List

Some of the city’s parks could earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places by 2020. So why should you care?

Watch: Mister Rogers' Wonderful Sense of Humor

We stumbled upon this old clip of Fred Rogers' appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in February of 1982. It includes an amusing clip in which Mister Rogers loses a wrestling match with a tent.

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

Sample cheese of every rind during the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese.

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

The WTAE anchor was voted Best Journalist by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. She answers 12 random questions ranging from her most memorable vacation to who should portray her in a movie.

Tax Credit Brought Mister Rogers Flick to Pittsburgh

The granting of the credit means the majority, if not most of the movie starring Tom Hanks, will indeed be shot in the Pittsburgh area.

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Jeff Goldblum Day is Causing a Stir in the ’Burgh

Local venues will be celebrating the native actor Friday with Goldblum-themed merchandise and events.

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Aaron Allen comes to Willow by way of 2-star Daniel in New York City. Plus, Greta Harmon joins the staff of the Ohio Township hideaway as the restaurant's new bar manager.

Pittsburgh Developer Offers Location for Riverfront Swings

A developer in the South Side may fulfill KDKA anchor Ken Rice’s wish for shaded benches along the city’s riverfronts.