Did you ever wonder what it would be like to team up with a celebrated local chef, plan a six-course meal, and savor a gourmet, sustainable private dinner party at one of Pittsburgh’s most popular restaurants?

That’s exactly what Ann Truschel was lucky enough to enjoy as the winner of our first ever Chef to Table contest. On Sunday, September 23, Ann and a group of 11 of her family members and closest friends got to have The Vandal to themselves for a meal they won’t soon forget.

    

More than 250 people entered the contest and Ann’s name was chosen live on the air during KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live on July 16.

The owner and president of East Liberty-based Truschel Insurance, Ann is a food enthusiast who loves to cook and try out all the new restaurants in town.

She first learned about Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants (SPR) and the Chef to Table Contest through Twitter. “The entire experience for my family and friends was just incredible thanks to Joey and his talented team at The Vandal,” says Ann.

    

“Joey” refers to restaurant owner and founder Joey Hilty. Since opening The Vandal in June 2015, Hilty and his team has quickly established the Lawrenceville-based restaurant (4306 Butler Street) as one of the city’s go-to dining spots. The Vandal earned a Gold Designation from Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program in August 2017. (Read all about its Sustainability Profile HERE.)

“Working with Ann was a pleasure,” says Joey. “I was was thrilled to welcome her and her guests to The Vandal and continue to work with the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant to educate folks about the benefits of sustainable practices.”

The Menu

  • Charcuterie platter few meats and cheeses, as well as plum mostarda, honeycomb, pickles and jams
  • End of summer salad with cherry tomatoes, local greens, dilly beans, goat cheese, and breadcrumbs
  • Deviled duck eggs with trout roe and fresh herbs
  • Parsley and lemon spaghetti with corn puree, shrimp and roasted shishito peppers
  • Butter poached lobster tail with tomato nage, compressed fennel and bottarga
  • Vanilla ice cream with fried brioche, rhubarb jam, dark chocolate and strawberry sauce

With a menu like that, and libations provided courtesy of Stateside Vodka and Maggie’s Farm Rum, Ann and her guests were all smiles.

Here are Ann, Joey, and SPR Program Manager Rebecca Bykoski on Pittsburgh Today Live talking about the experience — and doing a little cooking!

All Chef to Table menu items comprised the freshest seasonal fruits, vegetables and humanely raised livestock, primarily sourced from within a 50-mile radius of Downtown Pittsburgh.

“Thanks to Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants we enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience and learned about all the important steps that the restaurant community is engaged in to better the lives of their communities, their employees, and the planet,” says Ann.