Virginia B. Wood discusses the untimely death of her friend and Austin "pioneer" Patrick Knight in this week's "Food-o-File."
When I returned home a couple of weeks ago to the news that Patrick Knight had died of gunshot wounds in (as yet) unexplained circumstances in the far-west Texas town of Marathon, it was impossible to grasp. He takes a job as catering director at the legendary Gage Hotel there and now he's never coming back? Pat had been a fixture on the Austin restaurant/bar/music scene since the early Seventies, and many of my visual memories feature his smiling face among the grainy mental images: At the 606, he was one of the pioneers of the Sixth Street "entertainment district" and the first restaurant manager in that area to purchase desserts from my fledgling dessert company in the early Eighties; he always put on a stellar performance at the annual SPAMARAMAs, trailing lovely SPAMettes in his wake; and every doorman from all the Soap Creek Saloon incarnations to the Armadillo World HQ to the One Night to the Continental Club, Stubb's, and the Austin Music Hall knew him by name and welcomed him to enjoy the music he so dearly loved. Pat's wake, hosted by Rob and Cathy Lippincott on a rainy October afternoon in the bar at Güero's was a remarkable gathering: Bartenders, doormen, bouncers, cooks, waiters, cocktail waitresses, musicians -- just about every restaurant/ bar/music venue hippie from the age of 45-60 still alive in Austin -- everybody from Johnny Guffey, Max Nofzinger, and Kerry Awn to Alan Lazarus and Hoover Alexander, plus Pat's ex-wife Toni House and many alumni of the SPAMette sorority, crowded around a photo collage of Pat, swapping stories and raising glasses in his honor. Pat is survived by House, his father and brother, and his beloved 10-year-old son, Sam. Goodbye, old friend.
The news just keeps on coming! Drop into Artz Rib House (2330 S. Lamar, 442-8283) during the month of November and help owner Art Blondon celebrate 10 successful years in the barbecue business... Sysco Foods of Austin teams up with the Texas Culinary Academy (1140 Burnet Rd. #2100, 837-2665, www.txca.com) to present four $1,500 scholarships to current culinary students at an awards ceremony at 2:30pm today, Thursday, Nov. 7, at the school facility... The Culinary Arts Program at Austin Community College recently received accreditation by the American Culinary Federation, which means that any student who graduates from the two-year associate of applied sciences program and joins the ACF is automatically a certified culinarian, the first level of chef... Tea really is the hottest new trend. If you're interested in the finer points of brewing tea, Garden's (1818 W. 35th, 451-5490) hosts a Chinese tea expert this Saturday afternoon, Nov. 9, from 4-7pm, in the shop, and owner James David will also give a winter gardening seminar outdoors that day... If tea is your new passion, drop in to Now and Zen (3801 Capital of TX Hwy. N. Ste. H-140, 996-9927) in tony Davenport Village, where owners Bob Eix and Jeremy Mariage combine a selection of elegant and eclectic home accessories and tableware with a distinctive tea shop featuring organic, loose-leaf teas... New York restaurant chef turned gonzo food journalist Anthony Bourdain makes an appearance at BookPeople this Monday evening, Nov. 11, at 7pm, reading from the newly released paperback edition of A Cook's Tour (Ecco Press, $14.95), the chronicle of Bourdain's travels around the world in search of extreme cuisine experiences that is the companion to the TVFN series of the same name... This year's Eat, Drink, Watch Movies food film series culminates on Monday evening, Nov. 11, at 7pm with a screening of Babette's Feast featuring fine wines and an elegant French meal prepared by chef Jean-Luc Salles and students from the Texas Culinary Academy. Tickets are $75 and proceeds benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Make reservations online at www.drafthouse.com.