Philadelphia’s best chefs team up for collaborative dinners in April

Philadelphia chefs collab
Pictured are Chef Sonny Ingui and Pastaia Janine Bruno.
Urban Farmer / Punch Media

If the idea of chefs from different restaurants with varying flavors working together is your idea of a great night, April is for you. Lovers of the chef collaborative supper, or lunch, have many dynamic options coming up this month.

The Fiorella x Lita collaboration dinner is April 11, and Chef Matt Rodrigue of Fiorella Pasta and Chef David Viana of Lita team up for an Italy-meets-Iberia masterpiece. Then, on April 13 at noon, a family style lunch menu collaboration between Co-Op Restaurant and Dakar Nola finds chefs Josh Quintana and Serigne Mbaye in the kitchen.

The Chef Conference will run April 12 to 15 at venues throughout the city, and welcomes marquee culinary names including Top Chef judges and producers Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio, and ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ host and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ creator Phil Rosenthal. There will also be chef collaborations with Philly’s Palizzi Social Club and New York’s Don Angie and San Sabino, as well as The Sisterly Love Collective – including Philly’s Jennifers Carroll and Zavala – gathering for a multi-chef collab brunch and book fair at the Independence Beer Garden on April 14.

Urban Farmer/ Punch Media

“When hosting a collaboration dinner, it’s important to listen to what the other chef is telling you,” said Urban Farmer Philadelphia’s Executive Chef and Butcher Sonny Ingui who, this Thursday, April 4, teams up with Pastaia Janine Bruno of Homemade by Bruno for seven courses of an “intersectional menu merging elevated steakhouse and Sicilian cuisines.”

With that, Ingui and Bruno are turning their protein and carb collaboration into something that is more of a conversation than a feast. Especially when you consider that Ingui began talking to Bruno several years ago when he recognized that her gelato business and its designer popsicles would be perfect for his Urban Farmer’s sister space, the Assembly Rooftop Lounge.

“We started talking about flavors, figured out some great ideas together and that began a great partnership,” said Ingui.

Gelato is one thing. Then there is Bruno’s pasta dishes, such as her homemade melanzane and Spaghetti alla Gricia, that Ingui will pair, respectively, with pork polpetti and house cured guanciale. That spaghetti dish happens to be both Bruno and Ingui’s favorite.

“Growing up, food and cooking were what all of our family traditions were built around,” said Bruno. “Everything was homemade and made with passion and care. It was instilled in me at a young age the importance of eating fresh whole ingredients and making everything from scratch. It didn’t have to be fancy. In fact, there is a saying in Italian, “cucina povera,” which actually translates to “poor kitchen.” However, it more-so means that our meals are made from easily accessible, locally sourced ingredients.”

As the host of a dinner at Urban Farmer, Ingui’s goal is to make sure that all of her ingredients, as well as his, are to the exact specifications that she is used to.

“With rest of it, we make decisions together,” he said of Thursday night’s chef collab. “We have both come up with this menu and that’s the most important part. And we’ll also have a good supply of Sicilian wine, so that can’t hurt.”

For a complete list of The Chef Conference’s collaborations, visit