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James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

photos by hal b. klein

The James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour came rolling through Pittsburgh this week. The event, a fundraiser for the food-focused non-profit’s general fund, was a bacchanalia for food-lovers.

Cure/Morcilla proprietors Hilary Prescott Severino and Justin Severino organized the Pittsburgh installation of the multi-city tour (each leg features different chefs). Prescott Severino handled the organizational tasks, coordinating with the out-of-town chefs and arranging decor and design by 4121 Main, and then organized a small armada of servers for the meal at The Mattress Factory.

Justin Severino — one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 2016 Outstanding Chefs — lead the all-star culinary team through a six-course meal.


The evening began with passed hors d'oeuvres created by some of Pittsburgh’s top chefs: Csilla Thackray (The Vandal) served duck-liver terrine with marigold and champagne jelly; Sonja Finn (Dinette) served grilled Pacific oyster with ramp butter and hot sauce; Kate Romane (e2) served grilled spek roll with mozzarella, basil and San Marzano tomato; Trevett Hooper (Legume) served housemade Liptauer cheese on a seeded crisp; Bill Fuller (big Burrito) served scallop causa with tarragon aji and pickled red chilis; and Curtis Gamble (Station) served a pea custard with rhubarb relish and spring vegetables.

Of the the things I liked best about this dinner is that it gave hometown chefs the opportunity to showcase themselves. Overall, these dishes were really terrific. Finn’s oyster was especially strong; it was my favorite bite of the evening.


Severino’s crew off traveling chefs stepped up for the seated portion of the meal: George Sabatino (Aldine Restaurant, Philadelphia) served slow-cooked beets with housemade yogurt and chili jam; Greg Vernick (Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia) served cobia with pickled corn and burnt vegetable salsa; Severino served foie blonde with strawberry-rhubarb jam, dehydrated black olives and lovage; Scott Drewno (The Source by Wolfgang Puck, DC) served roast Pekin duck with crushed peanut curry; Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher and more in Philadelphia) served slow-roasted short ribs with green chickpeas and tehina; Tarver King (Patowmack Farm, Lovettsville VA) served a spin on Neapolitan ice-cream.


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