Verona-based chef Hegarty makes Zagat's 30 under 30 list
A 27-year-old Pittsburgh-area farmer and chef is on the list of Zagat's first 30 Under 30 list honoring young, exceptional hospitality professionals nationwide.
Becca Hegarty, chef/owner of Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette, is one of four Keystone state nominees landing on the list, and the only one from its western end. The other three are based in Philadelphia.
A half-acre organic farm in Verona, the Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette grows specialty heirloom vegetables utilizing best practices in organic management, according to its website.
From May through October, Hegarty, a designated Zagat “rock star,” and her team take their edible show on the road to farmers markets in Bloomfield and pop-up events throughout Pittsburgh.
“We use produce from our farm to prepare sandwiches, salads and a variety of desserts. We bake naturally leavened bread fresh each day,” the website states.
According to a Zagat release, Hegarty's earliest culinary influence was her grandmother, a baker, who would make her a cake (with a flavor of her choosing) every birthday. She studied pastry arts at L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Md., and discovered during an externship at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore that though she loved baking, she was more passionate about the story of the ingredients. She worked with Sonja Finn at Dinette in East Liberty and The Café Carnegie at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland, then, realizing her aspirations were not to run or own a large restaurant, decided to start a small farm in Verona with her partner.
“It's always been my dream to eliminate any holes in the process of food, from the beginning of its life to the end when we serve it to people,” Hegarty says in the release.
She is in the process of expanding the luncheonette beyond the farmer's market, revamping a nearby diner that she recently acquired into a breakfast and lunch counter.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401, email@example.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.