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Personality Test: Justin Severino

Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Award-winning chef Justin Severino plans to open tapas restaurant Morcilla just blocks away from his Cure restaurant in Lawrenceville in summer 2015.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 7:21 p.m.

For Justin Severino, good news just keeps coming.

The highly decorated graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute has enjoyed success at his Butler Street business, Cure, where he applies his affinity for the art of butchering to the unique dishes that have made his business a favored destination for many 'Burghers.

In April, Severino was named Food & Wine's 2014 People's Best New Chef for the mid-Atlantic region, and he gave credit to the community that's let him live his dream.

“I'm honored to be selected as People's Best New Chef,” Severino said, “And I have to thank the wonderful community we have in Pittsburgh. They made it happen.”

Known for his commitment to Mediterranean-inspired seasonal cooking and sustainable sourcing that showcases Western Pennsylvania's best ingredients, Severino received the honor “because he closed a successful butcher shop in California to open a meat-centric restaurant in Pittsburgh where he butchers and cures everything himself and educates eaters about the provenance of their food,” according to the magazine's website.

Severino spent six years in the kitchens of California chefs before opening his own butcher shop in Santa Cruz. He and wife Hilary came back to Pittsburgh in 2007, and Severino worked as sous chef at Eleven and executive chef at Elements before opening Cure, where he buys as much locally grown and raised produce and meats as possible.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:

David Cross, because he's almost as handsome as I am. I've been mistaken for him a lot.

Childhood hero:

My grandfather, Eugene Sandella, because he is such a sweet, compassionate man

The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:

My powder-blue, chromed-out Suzuki Samurai

The superpower I wish I had in real life:

X-ray vision. I think you know why.

I can't live without my iPod, cellphone, DVR or laptop:


My favorite reality show:

I don't own a TV.

App I wish I could invent:

An app just like Yelp! But it's for restaurateurs to post comments about customers' behavior.

Favorite brunch food:

Oysters with brut rose Champagne

Favorite guilty pleasure:

Chicken wings, extra crispy, buffalo-style with blue cheese with six beers

Best mistake I've ever made:

Going to culinary school

Pick one:

A. Pirates

B. Penguins

C. Steelers

D. Other

E. I hate sports

D. Other. I love traveling to cycling events.

My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:

Troy Polamalu. My wife thinks he's handsome. (My wife answered this question.)

Favorite lunchtime spot:


Star I'd like to dance with on “Dancing With the Stars”:

Alyssa Milano. I've had the hots for her since Tony Danza was the boss. One word my mother would use to describe me:

Weird Celebrity crush:

Betty White

In five years, I'd like to:

Be doing exactly what I'm doing right now.

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:

The pride in the people of Pittsburgh

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:

North Park

The oldest thing in my refrigerator:

18-month-old Porchetta Seca

Exercise I hate most:


Three people I'd love to have dinner with:

Anthony Bourdain, Harold McGee, Peter Kaminsky

My most memorable fashion mistake:

Bib overalls, one side attached, somewhere around 1988. I was ahead of my time.

Top thing on my bucket list to do before I'm gone:

Travel to every part of the world possible.

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

Steak sandwich on rosemary focaccia with smoked blue cheese, chipotle aioli, carmelized onion, arugula

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

An architect

I'm deathly afraid of:

Italian women

If I was auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:

“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus

The most famous person I ever became friends with:

Chef David Kinch

The first band I saw in concert:

Violent Femmes, 1995, Mt. Union, Ohio

The best concert I've ever seen:

Oysterhead at Greek Theatre, Berkeley, Calif., on Halloween 2003

TV marathon I could watch all day:

It would be a tossup: “Golden Girls” vs. “Gilligan's Island”

Saturday mornings, you'll find me:

At Espresso a Mano before getting ready to spend a long day in the kitchen

Best new gadget I've tried recently:

Unox Combination Ovens, from outer space

In high school, I was:

An athlete

The movie that always makes me cry:

Documentary “Our Daily Bread”

If I wasn't a restaurant owner and chef, I'd be:

Living in an RV full of bicycles down by any river in America

The person I'm most often mistaken for:

Kevin Sousa

What you'll always find in my glove compartment:

Granola bars and hairspray

My most treasured fashion accessory:

My black and gold Cure T-shirt

The last book I read:

“Roberta's Cookbook”

My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:


Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

“The Cannonball Run”

My first job:

Pouring concrete with my dad. I was 11.

My worst job:

Pouring concrete with my dad. I was 11.

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Anthony Bourdain

My most embarrassing junk food:

Cool Ranch Doritos

My favorite “bad” movie is:

“I'm Gonna Git You Sucka”

If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:

The Flaming Lips and The Black Keys

The song that always gets me out on the dance floor:

Anything by Jamiroquai

My childhood nickname:

Rino or Sav

Life would be better without:


I never travel without my:

Cycle-cross bike and my wife

People would be surprised to know that I:

Am a Gemini, my favorite color is brown and I love long walks on the beach

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