By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A West Mifflin native, now living in Richmond, Virginia, is staging a gourmet “pop-up” dinner in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Tickets for the mystery dinner are going for $200 apiece!

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Micheal Sparks held his first Underground Kitchen dinner five years ago at his Design Studio in Richmond. Since then, dinners cooked by gourmet chefs have popped up in 28 cities. On Aug. 2, he’s coming home to Pittsburgh.

“Only those fixed seat ticket holders are allowed to come to the event,” he says. “They buy tickets not knowing where it is until the night before the event, when we let you know where it is. You don’t know the menu. You don’t know the chef. You get a hint of what we’re doing just from the invitation. And our theme for Pittsburgh, our first event in Pittsburgh, is ‘Air, Land and Sea.'”

But really, where is it?

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“Can’t tell you,” he insists. “My mother, I think, wants to break into my office to find out everything. Nobody knows, except for our staff.”

He did tell KDKA that the chef is J. Ponder, whose considerable culinary talents helped him win the cooking show “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Sparks says the idea is that strangers will make friends with strangers, over a menu of, well, whatever.

“We’re going to bleed black and gold, but we’re going to have good food around it.”

For information on tickets, visit

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