Delicious Viewing: Who Are the Pittsburghers In the Foodie TV Spotlight?

Local chefs — and one comedian — are putting the Steel City’s food scene in the spotlight.


I‘m not a fan of reality TV, but I am a professional epicurean and a spooky cinephile. 

Occasionally I’ll take a break from horror movies to watch a cooking competition. I admire folks who can slice and dice under pressure and harsh stage lighting. Just like Jason Voorhees!   

Pittsburghers are a common sight on these kinds of shows. Take local comedian Chrissy Costa (please!), who I interviewed last fall for “My Best of the ‘Burgh”.  

She appears on “Chews Me,” a Tubi blind dating series that puts three single contestants in a kitchen together to see which amateur chef can win the heart (and stomach) of a potential love. Costa and I met up at Scratch & Co. to talk about food over New Mexican fare made by Chef Chris Acosta of Taqueria Acosta

Since both Chrissy Costa and Chris Acosta are on a winning streak, this Kris thought we should meet and start some kind of Cool Chris Club. Besides, I enjoy interviewing people in between bites. Chef’s got a “Big” project on the backburner that I’ll write about next week. This scoop’s almost as tasty as his enchiladas.

Now back to our regularly scheduled “Chews Me” article …

The second season will hit the airwaves later this year and showcase Costa’s culinary wisdom and acerbic wit. We’re both fans of bad puns, which leads me to believe she took the gig simply because of the name. Imagine if late Director George Romero (our 1990 Pittsburgher of the Year) would’ve made a romantic zombie comedy called “Chews Me”? 

Costa spent an evening in Brooklyn, New York making her Italian family’s signature meal: Basil and Plum Sauce Over Penne. 

“It was an hour to cook, $35 to spend and I brought a can of wine. On the way to New York, I asked my mom where the recipe came from and she said it was a random one from some restaurant that doesn’t exist anymore,” Costa says, deadpan.

Did Mama Costa’s favorite discontinued dish make the hungry stranger swoon or send it back? 

I guess you’ll just have to chews to sign up for Tubi and see.

They’re heeeere

I’m not joking when I tell you there are even more TV- and internet-famous chefs in our midst. 

Smokin Ghosts BBQ in the SouthSide Works Towne Square will host America’s Best Restaurants on July 10. 

The national media and marketing company will feature the eatery on “ABR Roadshow.” From 2 to 5 p.m., they’ll film on location with pitmaster Shannon Lacayo and owners Don and Lori Garrett, who are also paranormal investigators. When the married couple aren’t conjuring customers with the scent of St. Louis-style ribs, they search for poltergeists.  

The ABR footage will air on social media later this year. If you can manage to look away from Smokin Ghosts’ brisket, keep your eyes peeled for apparitions.

If you see TV static — run!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad for the win

Ritual House might sound like a spooky movie, but it’s actually an awesome Downtown dining spot with a pastry chef to match. 

Zoe Peckich is the winner of The Food Network’s “Summer Baking Championship.” She outshined nine other contestants from across the country with a dessert called Not Your Grams Strawberry Pretzel Salad. 

Before joining Ritual House, the Washington, Pa. native spent time in Italy; as a chocolatier in Charlotte, North Carolina; and at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. No word on whether her pretzel salad recipe came from some restaurant that doesn’t exist anymore.

Ritual House held a watch party for Peckich and her loved ones when the season finale aired. The crowd went wild seeing her win the title and the $25,000 prize on June 26 at 9 o’clock in the morning.

Now that’s what I call primetime TV. 

Categories: PGHeats