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Best Buddies Brings TasteBuds Back for a Third Year

And the lineup of chefs is pretty spectacular.

Photos courtesy of Best Buddies Pennsylvania | Alex Balint (left) and Chris Carpellotti

On Monday, November 5th, Best Buddies Pennsylvania will be hosting its third installment of TasteBuds in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. It will be an evening full of good food, drinks and friendship.

Best Buddies is a global nonprofit organization which seeks to improve the lives of individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Through the help of volunteers in various programs, Best Buddies offers support and resources to individuals with IDD, helping them establish friendships, find rewarding employment, and develop leadership skills.  

TasteBuds has become an annual event in Pittsburgh, this being the third year it has taken place. Local chefs are partnered with individuals with IDD who will work as their sous chefs. The pairs will work together to develop and prepare a dish to be served at the November event. 24 Pittsburgh chefs are participating this year, more than ever before. For many, this is their second, or even third year.

Justin Severino and Abby Molinaro

One returning chef will be Justin Severino, chef/owner of Morcilla and Cure and four-time James Beard award nominee. He will once again be cooking with Abby Molinaro, his buddy from last year. On his experience:

“Working in the kitchen and cooking with someone is a great way to connect and build a friendship. Abby brings an amazing attitude and fun to the kitchen. I don’t just look forward to the night of the event, but all the prep and time we spend together planning our meal. It’s one of the highlights of my year.”

At the event, guests will be able to visit with the chef/buddy pairs and enjoy their culinary creations. There will be an open bar, live entertainment, and silent and live auctions. All proceeds will go towards Best Buddies Pennsylvania.  

Kate Laskey (left) and Helenka Foley

Participating chefs and buddies include: Kate Laskey, Apteka, with Helenka Foley; Justin Steel, Bar Marco, with Andrew Duch; Robert “RC” Carter, Cioppino, with Kevin Loiselle,; Dominique Carnovale Metcalfe, Levy Restaurants/DLCC, with Julia Kaluzny; Chad Townsend, Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, with Matthew Carroll; Meghann Walsh, Osteria 2350, with Maria Rajakovich; Nick Mineo, Sausalido Bistro, with Stephen Liebrock; Jeff Maag, Eddie Merlot’s, with Chris Lofink; Kevin Sousa, Superior Motors, with Teresa Plunkett; Derek Stevens, Union Standard, with Tommy Kreutzer; Csilla Thackray, The Vandal, with Olivia Diecks; Justin Severino, Morcilla, with Abby Molinaro; Alex Balint, Twelve Whiskey Barbecue, with Chris Carpellotti; Steve Lanzilotti, Talia Cucina, with Kate Efkeman; Matt Stover, Il Pizzaiolo, with Taylor Edgar; Adam and Diana Kucenic, Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, with Juliet Geniviva; Jessica Lewis, Merchant Oyster Co., with Darnisha Burney; Joey Hilty, Joey’s, with John Mozeik; Phillip Milton, Home, with Andy Wagner; Pete Tolman, Iron Born, with Dale Johnston; Scott Walton, Acorn, with Roxanne Ferraco; and Andrew Stump, Madeleine Bakery & Bistro, with Lisa Thornton. Also participating are bartender Greta Harmon from Willow, with Elizabeth Kraft, and barista Niven Sabherwal, Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange, with Alex Novak.

TasteBuds will take place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Grand Concourse. General admission begins at 7. Tickets can be purchased on the Best Buddies website bestbuddies.org/tastebudspgh/

Kevin Sousa and Teresa Plunkett

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