Meet the chef: Curtis Gamble of Station | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Meet the chef: Curtis Gamble of Station

click to enlarge Station chef Curtis Gamble - PHOTO: DAVE BRYCE
Photo: Dave Bryce
Station chef Curtis Gamble
Years before opening Bloomfield's hip modern gastropub Station, Curtis Gamble created the dessert "popcorn panna cotta" as executive chef at Bread & Wine restaurant in Chicago. The dessert — crunchy caramel corn and salted caramel paired with the classic Italian pudding — earned the title "Best Thing We Ate" on Zagat's popular restaurant guide. "It’s a gourmet interpretation of a wholesome flavor that we devoured," wrote the review. "This is one dessert that we do not recommend sharing."

To Gamble, this recognition meant that he had "joined the untouchable ranks of some of the city's top classics."


Today, Pittsburgh diners also have the opportunity to try Gamble's much-loved dessert on Station's menu, alongside a wide range of items from beef tartare to roasted octopus, plus a nice selection of vegetarian options, including a vegan sloppy joe.


The popcorn panna cotta is also available as a dessert option throughout the month of March on Station's $39 three-course Taste 30 menu, alongside a lavender pound cake. Other highlights on the tasting menu include a chicken liver mousse and a carrot bolognese.

Lest you question the worth, keep in mind that Gamble's food is so well-liked that he was featured in a very sexy reader-submitted short story for Pittsburgh City Paper's 2019 Pittsburgh Fan Fiction issue. It involves Gamble wrapping the writer in honey-baked ... (just read it, trust us.)

click to enlarge A tray full of delights from Station chef Curtis Gamble - PHOTO: CURTIS GAMBLE
Photo: Curtis Gamble
A tray full of delights from Station chef Curtis Gamble
City Paper talked to Gamble, who luckily has a sense of humor, calling himself "The Rodney Dangerfield of the Pittsburgh food scene" in his Instagram bio, about his Taste 30 menu and his favorite guilty pleasure. 

How long have you been a chef?
I have been a cook since about 14, running kitchens since I was about 25.

Where were you trained?
The trailer parks of northwestern Ohio. [Laughs] I went to culinary school at PICA (Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts).


How would you describe your cuisine for first-time visitors?
Something familiar, but more thoughtful. Simple things with a unique pantry.

What’s your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Doritos with our chicken liver mousse.

What’s your favorite local product used in your cooking?
Any magic veggie from Jen over at Root and Heart Farm.

What food trend do you wish would come to Pittsburgh?
I think we are good on trends, Pittsburgh dining at the moment feels quite trendy.

What inspired you when creating your Taste 30 menu?
We wanted to showcase some classics, if a 5-year-old restaurant can have classics [Laughs].


What drink would you suggest diners pair with the meal?
With our modern American menu leaning heavy on the Mediterranean, any of the wines we source from the great people over at the Allora Wine Group.

What’s your favorite item on your Taste 30 menu?
Chicken liver mousse. A nice refined spin on an organ I spent a lot of time eating as a kid whose mom was trying to stretch a buck.

How do you want diners to feel after eating your meal?
Satiated but not bloated and maybe a little challenged.

What might diners be surprised to know about you?
I'm actually a doting father and incredibly laid back human who no longer drinks and enjoys coffee and sunshine.
Experience Pittsburgh's food evolution all month long with Taste30, featuring 30 days of tasting menus for $30-39. For more info on all participating Taste30 restaurants, visit taste30pgh.com.

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