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'Garden to Table' returning to benefit Pittsburgh Botanic Garden center

| Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, 9:16 p.m.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Table settings from last year's Pittsburgh Botanic Garden's 'From Garden to Table Dinner at the Barn' offered a rustic style.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Table settings from last year's Pittsburgh Botanic Garden's 'From Garden to Table Dinner at the Barn' offered a rustic style.
Mike Mancini | for Trib Total Media
Cure's Justin Severino with Kendyll Travers and Alyssa Cavallaro during Best Restaurants Party – Pittsburgh Magazine at Heinz Field on Monday, June 8, 2015.

A feast celebrating seasonal flavors will kick off in style at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

The Nov. 8 fundraiser at the restored 1870s barn on the 460-acre Oakdale campus “marks the season with wonderful chefs, great food and, of course, the barn itself that pays homage to our settlers,” says Kitty Vagley, development director.

“From Garden to Table Dinner at the Barn” will feature a five-course farm dinner created by four popular chefs from Pittsburgh-area restaurants — Justin Severino of Cure, Domenic Branduzzi of Piccolo Forno, Sam DiBatista of Vivo Kitchen and Stephen Felder of Stagioni.

The dinner will benefit the garden's operating fund and the development of a Japanese garden at the site, according to Vagley.

Severino, who participated in last year's inaugural Garden to Table event, says he and other members of the culinary team are looking forward to this year's harvest celebration.

“For us, it's a really nice organization to support and a nice scenario for everybody — the chefs and the diners,” he says. “The menu is a nice reflection of what's going on in the fall in Pennsylvania.”

The focus of the menu is on wild game:

• Severino's Lardo Crostini with Giardianara; DiBatista's Braised Rabbit, Chestnuts and Heirloom Carrots;

• Branduzzi's Boar-filled Butternut Squash Cannelloni with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Sage Pesto, and his appetizer, Smoked Duck Rillette Crostino with Burnt Orange Marmalade;

• And Felder's pasta dish of Cavatelli with Pumpkin and Venison.

Also on the menu is Severino's Roasted Onion and Shiitake Mushroom Soup, a unique pairing of flavors made with fried egg, Beemster, marcona almond and cocoa nibs. He brings to the table a favorite menu item from his restaurant, a flourless Molten Chocolate Cake, as well as a salad of bitter greens, bresaola, juniper balsamic, tallegio custard and black olive foccacia.

Rounding out the passed appetizers will be Felder's Crostini with Goat Cheese and Pepper Relish, and DiBatista's Pork and Chevre Meatballs. Wine service is included.

Severino doesn't anticipate any challenges as he and his team prepare to serve the dinner in the rustic barn setting.

“I'm confident it's going to be a lot of fun and a great time for everyone,” he says.

Preparations for this year's Garden to Table Dinner have been a lot less hectic than last year's inaugural dinner, which took place a few days after a major renovation of the barn was completed, Vagley says.

The historic barn is becoming a popular venue for weddings, Vagley says. The first wedding was held in May, and 20 more nuptials have been celebrated since then.

“The word is, 40 weddings have already been booked for next year,” she says.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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