Delicious Philanthropy

Austin's top chefs unite for Lone Star Paralysis Foundation benefit

Austin's top chefs unite for Lone Star Paralysis Foundation benefit

Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4559
Chef Josh Watkins hugs Daniel Curtis before the live auction. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3783
Congress chef de cuisine Jason Stude prepares a chicken liver mousse. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 5116
Guests tore up the dance floor at the third annual Pay it Forward with Daniel Curtis benefit. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3766
Participating chefs and Daniel Curtis pose for a portrait. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4072
Susan Parthasarathy, Roger Parthasarathy, Tom Lange, Victoria Enos Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3872
Summer sausage and aged cheddar from Noble Sandwiches. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3903
Foie gras parfait from Foreign & Domestic. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3924
Chicken liver profiteroles from Salty Sow. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3956
Claire English, Doug English Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4057
Riddlore, Corina Valdez, Charles Harner, Cindy Morgan, Elliot Morgan Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4063
Julianne Six, Gabriel Garcia, Emily Bogan Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3855
Brian Curtis, Alex, Stacey, Colin, Megan and David Hatcher, Holly Nastasi Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4106
Trent Tunks looks through the silent auction items. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4126
Hector Mucala suffered a spinal cord injury six weeks ago. The Pay It Forward benefit was his first time out of the hospital. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4145
Troy Taylor, Dorie Ball, Kim Fowler, Doug English, Laura Peck, Mike Haynes Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4344
Daniel Curtis talks about the mission of the organization. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4494
Heather Hampton, Leslee Massey, Eric Massey, Anne Kelley Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4592
Chef David Bull, who also served as auctioneer. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4689
Dr. Mary Anne Gonzales, Crystal Theriault, Javier Corona, Ron Spell, Peggy Barrett, Dianne Crawley Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4876
Rotel & the Hot Tomatoes performed. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 5018
Ian Cheever of La Condesa prepares tortita de helado. Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 5072
Vickie Johnson, Debi Cox, Wallace Johnson, Kyle Dealing, Ron Spell, Diane Crawley, Mike Shapito Photo by Jon Shapley
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4559
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3783
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 5116
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3766
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4072
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3872
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3903
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3924
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3956
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4057
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4063
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 3855
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4106
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4126
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4145
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4344
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4494
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4592
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4689
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 4876
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 5018
Daniel Curtis Benefit in Austin 5072

When former Carillon food and beverage director Daniel Curtis suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident over Memorial Day weekend two years ago, he probably didn't realize that his moment of tragedy would inspire Austin's culinary elite to take action.

But take action they did Thursday night at the third annual Pay it Forward with Daniel Curtis, a benefit for the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation. Held in a ballroom at the AT&T Conference Center, the event featured small plates from such superstar chefs as David Bull (Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen), Josh Watkins (The Carillon), Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbeque), Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki (Sway, La Condesa), and Philip Speer (Uchi, Uchiko). The Tipsy Texan himself, David Alan, was shaking cocktails and stirring drinks for thirsty attendees.

Before kicking off a raucous live auction hosted by Bull and Watkins, Curtis spoke to guests — including Lone Star Paralysis Foundation board president Doug English and wife Claire, Mike Haynes, Susan and Roger Parthasarathy, Tom Lange, Victoria Enos, Heather Hampton, Leslee and Eric Massey, and Anne Kelley — about the realities of living with a spinal cord injury.

"This time last year, I was optimistic I would be walking right now," said Curtis. "But you can only go so far. I've come to embrace this chair. It's my new norm."

After an emotional tribute to two friends who passed away over the past year due to complications from spinal cord injuries, Curtis kicked off the fundraising portion of the evening with a "reverse auction" to benefit the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation. In less than three minutes, the crowd contributed more than $5,000, helped in part by a $1,000 donation from Richardson Farms.

In addition to the live auction — which included packages for private dinners with chefs from Uchi and the Carillon — foodie philanthropists bid on dozens of silent auctions items, including a dinner for four at hot new restaurant Qui.

Bellies full and wallets empty, guests danced the rest of the night away to songs courtesy of Rotel & the Hot Tomatoes.