On November 19, 2015, 250 guests got to relish some delicious local fare at the Fairmont hotel downtown at the 3rd Annual Chefs Create hosted by Autism Speaks. A collection of Pittsburgh’s finest chefs came together to share their culinary creations inspired by stories of individuals and families affected by Autism. Proceeds benefited Autism Speaks and their mission to raise awareness and funds for innovative autism research and resources for individuals and families affected by the disorder.
The event, emceed by WTAE’s Pittsburgh Action News 4 Anchor Janelle Hall and Meteorologist Ashley Dougherty, had supporters enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, raffles, a silent auction and music courtesy of Black Rock Sound Solutions. Guests sampled an amazing menu at tasting stations prepared by 14 culinary artists:
Chef Chris Bichsel from Sewickley Confectionary inspired by Kai, age 15
Chef Gloria Fortunato from Wild Rosemary inspired by Marion, age 12
Chef Sang Woo from Nakama inspired by Rocko, age 8
Chef Donato Coluccio from Capital Grille inspired by Carter, age 7
Chef Will Simms from Sonoma Grille, inspired by Sarah, age 8
Chef Joshua Mitchell from Rumfish Grille, inspired by Jordon, age 18
Chef Derek Stevens from Eleven, Inspired by Carson, age 6
Chef Brian Simpson from Blue Line Grille, Inspired by Nicholas, age 12
Chefs Elena Rallo & Curt Roberts from Aviva Brick Oven, inspired by Jake, age 13
Chef Anthony Marino from Don’s Appliances, inspired by Andy, age 10 and Stephen, age 7
Executive Chef Len Spampinato from Papagallo Cucina, inspired by Daniel, age 16
Chef Jason Dalling from Habitat, inspired by Lucus, age 7
Chef Michael Kyle from Zuppa’s Delicatessen, inspired by Tyler, age 13
Executive Chef Joseph Tambellini, inspired by Frank, age 16
Program highlights included a video presentation, created and donated by Anita Harnish & FedEx Ground, highlighting the McCloud Family whose son Jordon is diagnosed with Autism. The piece was a moving glimpse into the life and journey of a family and child struggling with autism and spoke to the importance of continued funding for research & support services.
Autism Speaks Executive Director Brett Spitale said, “As a father, I know there is nothing more important than the health of our children. It is imperative that we are doing everything we can as an organization to bring awareness, and raise the critical funds needed to support the research so that one day we can finally find the missing piece of the puzzle.”
The event was the most successful one to date raising close to $80,000 and growing.