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Hometown Homegrown Event Will Showcase Pittsburgh's Food Traditions

To celebrate Pittsburgh's rich history of rich foods, visitors to the first Hometown-Homegrown event will be treated to a taste of the city's culinary passion. Presented by the Heinz History Center and GoodTaste! Pittsburgh, the food expo will serve up samples from the best of the best in western Pennsylvania.

Andy Masich, CEO and president of the Heinz History Center, said local vendors will be representing the many diverse neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, with several from the Strip District.

"Our curators scoured the landscape in western Pennsylvania and found more than 50 restaurateurs and food companies that either began in western Pennsylvania or have made a mark here in western Pennsylvania over the last century or so," Masich said.

Local chefs, including Chris Fennimore of "QED Cooks" will be giving demonstrations throughout the day in the History Center's new Kitchen Classroom. They will be revealing and sharing some of their culinary secrets to aspiring chefs. WQED's Rick Sebak will join Fennimore and show visitors his favorite cookie recipe.

Docents will be positioned in the exhibition "Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation" and will discuss food preparation in the city's history from the French and Indian War to the post-World War II era.

In addition to the exhibits, there will be a virtual cookie table competition to highlight one of Pittsburgh's long-standing culinary traditions. Contestants submitted their recipes online and fans on Facebook have been able to "like" their favorites after they were posted on June 1. The top five finalists will have their recipes baked by The Common Plea restaurant and then judged by experts. The panel will be Fennimore, Sebak, and Table Magazine Executive Editor, Victoria Bradley.

Masich said this is sure to be the highlight of the day. "The bottom line is, if you have a wedding in western Pennsylvania, you have to have a cookie table. There have been near riots when there haven't been cookie tables, so you better get your act together."

The winner of the competition will be featured on a special episode of "QED Cooks" on October 13, which will focus on the cookie table phenomenon in western Pennsylvania.

Admission to the food portion of the event is included as part of the regularly priced History Center admission, which is $10 for adults, $9 for visitors ages 62+, and $5 for students and children ages 6-17. History Center members and children under age 5 will be admitted for free.