Chef Talk: Bar Marco's Jamilka Borges

The Strip District hot spot's new chef de cuisine talks about her favorite Pittsburgh food, invaluable utensil and more.

Borges helms kitchen at Bar Marco
The Art Institute’s culinary program originally lured Jamilka Borges to Pittsburgh six years ago, but she opted to stay and be a part of the city’s thriving restaurant scene. Borges, formerly of Legume in Oakland, now works alongside sous chef Justin Steel at foodie favorite Bar Marco. The recently appointed chef de cuisine enjoys working in a smaller kitchen, where she shapes the eatery’s ever-changing menu.

Highlight of your restaurant switch?
I was happy to go to a smaller kitchen, where I’d be cooking more, with a hands-on staff. 

Favorite Pittsburgh food?
I love Cure — I spend way too much time there. On my days off, I go to other restaurants and support our chefs.  

Invaluable utensil?
I love my knifes, of course, and cutting board, too.  

Dream chef collaboration?
I have two — Enrique Olvera and then from Pittsburgh, Sonja Finn; she’s a sweet, smart and talented chef.

Stop by Bar Marco May 13 for a special Mother’s Day-inspired No Menu Monday. Borges and co-worker Sarah Thomas created the lineup with their mothers who have flown in from Puerto Rico and India for the occasion.

(Bar Marco, 2216 Penn Ave., Strip District;; chef photo by Laura Petrilla)

Apsara Cafe serves Thai fare
Fans of Cambod-Ican Kitchen’s cuisine now have even more options, since Aspara opened next door back in March. A Thai/Cambodian eatery, Apsara serves noodle-focused dishes, salads and starters featuring lemongrass, tofu and seafood. Stop in for the lunchtime specials the next time you’re in South Side hunting for good food; the stir-fried bean sprouts and panang dishes are wise choices.

(Apsara, 1703 E. Carson St., South Side;

Fort Pitt Museum temporarily becomes chocolate hot spot
The masters at the Fort Pitt Museum plan to mix historical facts with cocoa tonight and tomorrow during Colonial Chocolate Weekend. Since Pittsburgh was recognized as a former mass-producer of chocolate in the 18th century, museum educators will offer information on how the sweet was consumed (it was once a staple beverage) and offer tastes of chocolate. If you’re attending tonight’s event, you’ll get all of that — plus, you’ll witness a cool chocolate demo.

Tomorrow’s half of Colonial Chocolate Weekend, which is part of Summer Saturdays at the Fort, includes cocoa-bean roasting, free samples of American Heritage Chocolate and much more.
(Fort Pitt Museum, The Point, downtown; tonight, 6:30-8 p.m. and tomorrow, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.;

Dozen plans to close Oakland site & move to Peters Township
Dozen Bake Shop, our go-to spot for vegan carrot-cake cupcakes, has announced that it will close its Oakland location later this month. The beloved bake shop shuttered in 2011 and was reopened by Doreen Valentine, who opted to operate only two sites — Lawrenceville and Oakland.

Dozen will set up in Donaldson's Crossroads Shopping Center in McMurray, where locals can pick up morning pastries, coffee, sandwiches and other favorites.
(Dozen Bake Shop’s Oakland site will close May 25; new location will be at 3909 Washington Road, Peters Township;

Categories: PGHeats