Food column: Former 'Chopped' contestant to cook at pop-up dinner in Pittsburgh

Venezuelan-born celebrity chef Giovanna Delli Compagni, a former competitor on Food Network’s “Chopped,” will serve a South American dinner with wine pairings for one night only in a secret Pittsburgh location.

The Underground Kitchen hosts its second Pittsburgh pop-up dinner from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at a location that will be disclosed to diners a few days before the event.

Ms. Delli Compagni, 33, is the sous chef of Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental in New York. As a child, she watched her grandmother prepare traditional South American meals from scratch and soon took over the responsibility. She studied at a culinary arts program in Arizona and then went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Underground Kitchen, founded by Pittsburgh native Micheal Sparks, is based in Richmond, Va. This dinner, “Viva Pittsburgh,” is its second event here.

For information or tickets:

Light Up Night

Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night kicks off the holidays on Friday. Festivities include tree lightings around the city throughout the day, plus performers and fireworks throughout the evening. Food establishments adding to the festivities include:

Six Penn Kitchen, Downtown: Street-side treats including a warm dark chocolate fudge brownie topped with cookies ’n cream ice cream and hot fudge for $5, plus homemade hot chocolate or warm apple cider for $2. Specials and full menu will be available on the roof, too. Street-side and rooftop service are scheduled from 5 p.m. to midnight.

US Steel Tower, Downtown: Blast!, a VIP party, features fine foods, beverages, entertainment and a tour of the building’s rooftop from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. $100.

Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Downtown: Food vendors will be set up for Light Up Night along Fort Duquesne Boulevard from 5 to 10 p.m.

Other holiday events

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show and Cookie Walk: Sales of homemade cookies and handmade gifts. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Brendan’s Episcopal Church, Franklin Park. $2 admission.

Let it Glow Christmas Celebration: Santa visits, mini cupcake tour around the center’s retail stores, live music, carolers, ornament decorating, free gift wrapping and tree lighting. 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at The Waterfront, Homestead.

Breakfast and a Movie: Prohibition Pastries caters a light brunch at 10:15 a.m., and a screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” starts at 11 a.m. Sunday at Hollywood Theater, Dormont. $15; order brunch tickets by Thursday. Tickets for the film only are $8 and can be bought at the door after 10:30 a.m. on the day of the event. (search for “Breakfast and a Movie — It’s a Wonderful Life”).


Raw Vegan Dinner Party: American comfort food, raw vegan style. 7:30 p.m. Friday at Heirloom Superfood Market, Strip District. $90.

Pittsburgh VegFeast: Pittsburgh’s annual plant-based Thanksgiving dinner featuring vegan food from Fortuitea Cafe, Onion Maiden, Chip & Kale, Sugar Spell Scoops, Whole Foods Market and more. 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at West View Banquet Hall. $32; $6 for beer wristband.

Maine Shore Dinner: Legume serves up lobster, clams, Shaker dried corn, coleslaw, homemade rolls and pumpkin pie for its annual Maine feast. Seatings from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Legume, Oakland. $58. Reservations required: 412-621-2700.

Cooking class

Holiday food cooking demo: Learn to make poached pear gingerbread upside-down cake and chestnut soup. 9 a.m. Saturday at Williams Sonoma, Shadyside. $20; benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Register ahead: 412-688-9220.

Mystery Basket Challenge — Parent & Tween: Teams of one parent and one tween (ages 9 to 13) work to create creative meals based on baskets of secret ingredients while competing against other teams. 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Giant Eagle Market District, Robinson. $100 per team. (click on “Colander of Events”).

For charity

2000 Turkeys Food Drive: Monetary donations and nonperishable food items accepted for the Greater Washington County Food Bank. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the Main Street Farmers Market Pavilion, Washington.

Rebecca Sodergren:; @pgfoodevents.


Hot Topic