Chef Brandon Baltzley to orchestrate Monday pop-up dinners around town

Monday dinners are about to get interesting now that Brandon Baltzley has landed in Pittsburgh. For the next six months beginning Oct. 15, Mr. Baltzley will stage biweekly pop-up dinners via Crux restaurant, his mobile collaborative staged in cities such as Boston; Portland, Maine; Chicago and New York.

Mr. Baltzley has been the subject of adulation and ire in the culinary world, as Details Magazine chronicled in a profile on the metal-drummer-turned-chef. Breezing through stints at Chicago's Alinea and Schwa among others, the former percussionist of Kylesa lost those positions after he struggled with substance abuse. As of late, he is drug-free, committing instead to his memoir to be released next year and a farm/restaurant in Cherry, Ill., that will break ground in the spring.

Mr. Baltzley is no stranger to Pittsburgh, having partnered with restaurateur Kevin Sousa and the crew at Salt of the Earth in Garfield for a dinner last July. "I really like the people and the aesthetic of the place," Mr. Baltzley said Sunday.

With a six-month window before his book tour, Mr. Baltzley said folks such as Mr. Sousa and another local chef, Keith Fuller, have lured him here for the short term.

Mr. Fuller spoke enthusiastically about working with Mr. Baltzley, with whom he has etched a schedule of artsy dining events through the fall and winter.

"We have become really good friends over the past month," he said during a phone call, a break from filming a trailer for this event that will feature scenes from Downtown, Polish Hill and Root 174 in Regent Square.

The Oct. 15 "Dinner and a Movie" at Root 174 will showcase "Amelie" -- Mr. Fuller's favorite film -- during which 15 diners will be served 12 courses, each to correspond with a scene that inspires a dish.

"Egg, cherries, and raspberries" pairs with a moment that occurs a minute and 42 seconds into the movie, while "recipe for love pills, cigarettes" will be served nearly 45 minutes later. Reservations for the event are available through A film trailer for the event will be online midweek.

Future Crux collaborations will include chefs Justin Severino of Cure in Lawrenceville, Stephen Felder of Stagioni, now on the South Side, Dave Racicot of Notion, now of East Liberty, the crew from Bar Marco in the Strip District, and the ubiquitous H. Alexander Talbot, author of "Ideas in Food."


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