If you weren't at Eat, Drink, Watch Movies on Sunday night, you missed quite a party. Time to thank the people who made it possible.

Counting Blessings

My particular job comes with plenty of perks, but the best one by far is being able to pick up the telephone and put together an event like the Eat, Drink, Watch Movies benefit at the Barr Mansion this past Sunday honoring Roger Mollett. If you weren't with us on Sunday, you missed an incredible party. I'm going to take the time to brag about it, because all I really did was make some phone calls: The folks who did all the heavy lifting deserve all the credit. Even though she was swamped promoting both The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival and the paper's sponsorship of the Austin City Limits Festival, Chronicle marketing manager Erin Collier saw to it we got premium media coverage – especially the three TV segments. The event committee, made up of Roger's dear friends – Cathy Cochran-Lewis, Jane King, Sahar Arafat-Ray, Quincy Erickson, Karen Farnsworth, and Ellen Cartsonis – did publicity; got the mayor's office to declare Sunday "Chef Roger Mollett Day," complete with a proclamation; solicited donations and auction items; set up the bank account for donations; invited everyone they knew; brought food; set up; cleaned up; and enlisted their spouses and children to attend and help out. After a weekend of hosting weddings, Barr Mansion owners Melanie and Mark McAfee made us right at home in their lovely facility, putting their ballroom, grounds, tables, linens, dishes, silver, and glassware at our disposal with such grace. The chefs who prepared the food sacrificed their Sunday off to work magic (there's no better way to put it). Erickson and Farnsworth of Amuse Bouche, Eric and Martine Pellegrin of La Marseillaise, Larry Perdido of the Moonshine, Terri Wilson and Robert Brady of Aquarelle, Ike Johnson of Grape Vine Market, Marta Guzman of Marta's Flan, and Aimee Olson and her students from the Texas Culinary Academy created a stellar meal, worthy of Vatel himself. Fall Creek Vineyards and Spicewood Vineyards made sure we had wonderful Texas wines to pair with the excellent food. We were amazed when our good friends at Project Transitions stepped up and offered to run the silent auction. Their expertise in that area assured it made plenty of money. Donations ranged from cookbooks to knives to wine-tasting packages to antique china, and we were grateful for every one, especially the souvenir aprons with art by Sam Armstrong. It's entirely possible that Alamo Drafthouse owners Tim and Karrie League are the nicest young people in town, and working with them and their staff on this project was delightful, as usual. The evening would never have gone as smoothly as it did without the volunteer participation of the hardworking and cheerful culinary students from TCA and second-generation hands like Alice King and David Guzman. They set up, bused tables, washed dishes, and cleaned up the hall while learning an invaluable lesson about how to be part of a caring culinary community. One of the best things that can be said about Austin is that so many talented, generous people came together to support a dear friend. If you were unable to attend this remarkable event but would still like to make a donation toward Roger Mollett's medical expenses, please send a check to PO Box 5065, Austin, TX 78763.

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