Western Pennsylvania Lamb Fest Ready to Return

Pittsburgh Magazine has the first look at the star-studded teams competing in the annual lamb cook-off.
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Following a hiatus last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Western Pennsylvania Lamb Fest is set to return on Oct. 24 for its fourth year celebrating the ridiculously tasty lamb of the region, which will be supplied by Wild Purveyors. The event features an array of chefs putting forward their top dishes in a fiercely delicious contest of culinary prowess.

Nine teams are taking the field, including three-time returning champions “Most Hated Players” Roger Li (Nanban, Umami) and Julio Peraza (Round Corner Cantina, Cobra). The Most Hated Players have some serious competition: look for Lamb Fest newcomers Fenping Geng and Feng Gao of Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi to bring their expertise cooking Shaanxi lamb dishes into the fold; a team of some of the region’s most experienced chefs — Stephen Felder (Stagioni), Chris O’Brien (Hyeholde) and Dave DeVoss (Sewickley Tavern) will hone their expertise into outstanding offerings; and a crew of chefs from the lauded culinary program at Nemacolin, led by the resort’s executive chef, Kristin Butterworth, are sure to vie for the title, too.

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After feasting on what in previous iterations has been a spectacular array of small bites, a group of judges (disclosure: I am a judge) will choose their favorite team and guests can drop tokens to select the “People’s Choice Award.”

Here’s the full rundown of teams:

Team 1
Most Hated Players

  • Roger Li:, Nanban, Umami
  • Julio Peraza: Cobra, Round Corner Cantina

Team 2

  • Kristin Butterworth: Nemacolin
  • Tyler Hutchison: Aqueous
  • Bryant Smalley: The Peak
  • John Chiusano: Rockwell’s

Team 3

  • Simon Chough: Soju
  • Rafe Vencio: AmBoy Urban Farm
  • Gary Marshall: Umami
  • Greg Smith: Soju

Team 4

  • Joey Hilty: The Vandal
  • Keyla Nogueira: Casa Brasil

Team 5

  • Fengping Geng: Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi
  • Feng Gao: Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi

Team 6

  • Don Mahaney: Scratch & Co.
  • Jamilka Borges: WildChild
  • Isaac William DeBoer: Deadfish

Team 7

  • Cory Hughes: Fig & Ash
  • Chris Bonfili: Bonfire
  • Michael Barnhouse: Lola Bistro

Team 8

  • Stephen Felder: Stagioni
  • Chris O’Brien: Hyeholde
  • Dave DeVoss: Sewickley Tavern

Team 9

  • Jacqueline and Nathan Schoedel: Speckled Egg
  • Robert RC Carter: Cioppino
  • Patrick Duffy

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Lamb Fest 2021 runs from 1 to 5 p.m. outdoors at SouthSide Works (27th Street, between Sydney and Carson streets). Tickets are $65 for general admission, which includes unlimited tasting from all the competition teams; wine, beer, cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages are available for purchase at various beverage stations. V.I.P. tickets are $150 and include an open bar, temperature-controlled VIP lounge and free garage parking (please don’t drive and take full advantage of the open bar).

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test procured a maximum of 48 hours prior to the event is required to enter, and physical distancing of 6 feet is encouraged.

Categories: PGHeats