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It’s Emma’s Day at Biga on the Banks

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Chefs for Chefs, on behalf of Emma Dirmeyer, attracts about 340 people.

Eight-year-old Emma Dirmeyer has hundreds of friends she didn’t know she had.

Emma Dirmeyer

She met quite a few of them Sunday at Biga on the Banks, which staged a huge party in her honor.

Emma is the daughter of Biga’s sous chef, Daniel Dirmeyer, and she has a brain tumor that is forcing her to undergo radiation five days a week.

Steven McHugh’s roe-topped eggs.

To help her family with the cost of the medical bills, a number of her father’s associates in the city’s’ culinary community joined together for a fundraiser that featured fine food, wines and cocktails, and an overwhelming sense of generosity.

Chefs for Chefs drew about 340 people to the event. They went from food station to food station in order to sample the likes of Damien and Lisa Watel’s Venison Bourguignon or Diana Barrios Treviño’s mini churrasco steaks in chimichurri sauce. Gabriel Ibarra from Cappy’s offered ropa vieja sandwiches, while Chad Carey of the Monterey plated pulled pork on grits.

A few chefs who worked their way through Biga owner Bruce Auden’s kitchens through the years were on hand, including Mark Bliss of Bliss, who was serving up Nancy Fitch’s French toast with duck sausage and berries, and Zach Lutton of Zedric’s Healthy Gourmet to Go! with his seafood tamales, which he promised were lard-free despite their rich flavor.

Mark Bliss enjoys a glass of sparkling wine.

Of course, with so many chefs in one restaurant, some shop talk was inevitable. Jesse Perez offered Aurelia’s Chorizo hash while telling inquiring patrons that his Arcade Midtown Kitchen should be open by the second week of February.  Andrew Weissman served up a Thai Laab Salad and mentioned that Minnie’s Tavern, his new place in the Josephine Street space that once house Liberty Bar, would be open around the same time.

Other participants include Blanca Aldaco, Jason Dady, Luca della Casa, Lisa Filip and Steven McHugh.

A perfect day for the patio.

From the home team of Biga and sister restaurant, Auden’s Kitchen came everything from fried chicken to a series of salads, spreads and charcuterie. Meanwhile, Biga’s pastry chef Lilla Bernal offered a dessert area that had everything from personal creme brulees to cookies left everyone, including Emma, with a smile.

The Monterey’s pork and grits.

Emotions ran high for the entire Dirmeyer family, all of whom were on hand for the event. The same was true for the Biga family, including Perny Shea and Auden, whose voice broke as he thanked everyone for helping to make a different in Emma’s life.

All of the proceeds from the event will go to support Emma. Beyond the chefs and restaurants donating time and food for the event, a great many organizations donated items for a silent auction as well as food, wine and spirits. A few even held their own fundraisers; one was Groomer’s Seafood, which donated 10 percent of its sales Friday to Team Emma. The final amount from the event won’t be known for several days, but donations are still being accepted through Culinaria, which can be reached by clicking here.

Biga chef Bruce Auden (right) talks with former employee Zach Lutton, now owner of Zedric’s Fresh Gourmet to Go!


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