Pittsburgh chef named semifinalist in Zagat "30 Under 30" program

Rising culinary star Becca Hegarty, chef de cuisine of The Cafe Carnegie at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland, has another feather to stick in her cap. 

The 26-year-old chef has been named one of 60 semifinalists in Zagat’s first-ever national “30 Under 30” program honoring young hospitality professionals, who are exceptional.

Instituted six years ago, the awards have traditionally recognized 30 of the most promising young culinary talent from various food cities across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Fransicso (but never Pittsburgh).

This year, Zagat decided to cast an even larger net, and turn it into a national roster of the country’s hottest chefs, restaurant owners and other food professionals. In January, it conducted an open call around the country, asking readers, local editors, previous honorees and industry insiders to nominate those who deserve the honor, to create one national list.

Ms. Hegarty is the only Pittsburgher to make the short list, and one of only four chefs in Pennsylvania (the other three semifinalists are based in Philadelphia).

Before taking the job at CMOA, Ms. Hegarty worked at the now-closed Bread and Salt Bakery in Bloomfield and served as sous chef under Sonja Finn, owner/chef at Dinette in East Liberty. Ms. Finn also is the executive chef of The Cafe Carnegie.  

In February, the Lancaster native was honored by the James Beard Foundation in its 2017 Chef and Restaurants awards competition as a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. She studied pastry arts at L’academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Md. 

The James Beard program honors chefs age 30 or younger “who display an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.” 

Zagat’s list will be whittled down to 45 finalists in June. The dining guide producer will reveal the winners of  the inaugural “30 Under 30 National” sometime in September. 

Gretchen McKay: gmckay@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.


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