‘CHOPeration’ pairs doctors, chefs to create liver-healthy cuisine
Paul Morrison, culinary consultant for Sysco Foods Pittsburgh, was all set to cook a beautiful dish at last year’s “CHOPeration” fundraiser, where doctors are paired up with local chefs in a competition style after Food Network’s popular “Chopped” series.
But when Dr. Amit Tevar of the Starzl Transplantation Institute arrived 30 minutes before the competition, things took a drastic turn.
“I found out he was a vegan,” Morrison said, with a laugh. “That certainly changed things.”
This year, The Kitchen by Vangura in North Huntingdon and Excela Health will host the April 25 competition which will feature Morrison as well as chefs from Vallozzi’s in Hempfield, Major Stokes in Greensburg, Eighty Acres in Plum and Chef Mark’s Palate Catering in Latrobe, raising money for the Community Liver Alliance.
“We want to make this a showcase for the local culinary scene and also for liver health awareness,” said Molly Sweet, spokeswoman for the alliance. “It’s also a lot of fun for a doctor’s staff and patients to see their doctor in an unfamiliar situation.”
WPXI’s Aaron Martin will host the event, and attendees do not have to stand stove-side to appreciate the cooking talent.
“We have a bunch of overhead cameras and people will be able to watch the cooking in real time,” said Vangura Customer Relations Director Krystal Vangura. “Aaron will go to each station and talk with the chefs during the competition.”
Each chef/doctor team will have access to a community pantry as well as a “recipe box,” full of ingredients geared toward liver health.
“We’ll have black garlic, micro fennel, sweet potatoes, walnuts, Brussels sprouts, ruby red grapefruit, pea tendrils, ground coffee and sous-vide yellow beets,” Morrison said.
The evening will also include drinks, interactive activities and an auction to raise additional funds for the Community Liver Alliance.
Morrison said his favorite part is seeing people in attendance who are former patients of the participating doctors.
“Last year, every once in a while, Dr. Tevar would point to someone and go, ‘See that person? Saved their life,’” Morrison said. “It was really great to see transplant patients six months from their transplant able to come to a party and have a good time.”
Tickets are $45 and are available at CommunityLiverAlliance.org.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .