By Andrea Bosco + Benjamin Laun
Photography: Ben Petchel

How do you cook to impress one of the world’s most revered chefs? Four of Pittsburgh’s foremost restaurant stars, leading a team of 40 chefs across four satellite kitchens, demonstrated that such a herculean task was possible. Keith Coughenour, executive chef of the Duquesne Club; Justin Severino, executive chef of Cure; Tim Fetter, executive chef of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group; and Derek Stevens, executive chef of Eleven, prepared a modern, French-inspired tasting menu comprised of fresh summer ingredients for Chef Thomas Keller and 360 guests. The exclusive evening, held at the Duquesne Club, raised more than $300,000 to benefit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Before the tribute to Keller, he and his distinguished dinnermates dined on foie gras torchon with toppings ranging from cocoa nibs with cherry gel, to pickled strawberries and creamsicle viola. The main course consisted of a roasted rack of lamb from Elysian Fields Farm, of which Keller is a business partner; ramp persillade; and sweetbread crepinette of lamb loin. Duquesne Club Head Pastry Chef Will Racin and April Simpson of Vanilla Pastry Studio teamed up to provide an incredible dessert buffet, which included fresh donuts dunked in espresso. Says Event Producer Nancy Byrnes, “Thomas Keller was a very gracious guest of honor. He truly helped the garden grow with his generous disposition and the time he spent visiting with everyone. Our region can be proud of its affiliations with him, and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden was so proud to be his host.”

Event photos are available for purchase in the WHIRL Photo Vault:

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