Chefs cook up benefit for 8-year-old tumor patient

'Chefs for Chefs' brunch at Biga on the Banks helps one of their own

Author: Ursula Pari, Anchor,
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:58:51 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 14 2013 04:48:12 PM CST

When Biga on the Banks opens for business on Sunday, there will be chefs from all over the city cooking up supper and support for fellow chef Daniel Dirmeyer’s 8-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor last year.

Emma Dirmeyer is wrapping up months of radiation this week and is showing signs of improvement with her speech and mobility, but it’s been a long road of treatment paved with expensive bills that will be difficult to pay.

Biga on the Banks Chef Bruce Auden says when he learned his executive sous chef’s family was struggling with the news, he went into action, and asked fellow chefs of note in the city to step up to the plate.

Auden said, “When it hits home and it's happening in your restaurant like this, that can be devastating. I just knew we would do this." 

There are 13 chefs signed on for the “Chefs for Chefs-Team Emma” benefit brunch on Sunday, Jan. 20, at Biga on the Banks. 

It begins at noon and will feature food stations, as well as a Bloody Mary bar and entertainment by Henry Brun and the International Trio.

Among those agreeing to cook for Emma’s cause is Mark Bliss, Jason Dady, Chad Carey, Diana Barrios-Trevino, Andrew Weismann, Zackk Lutton, Gabriel Ibarra, Lisa Filip, Steven McHugh, Damian & Lisa Watel, Brian West and Luca de la Casa.

Emma’s mother, Lacie Dirmeyer, says the show of support has been remarkable, but so is Emma’s attitude through the ordeal. 

“She couldn't even walk a straight line when we took her to the emergency room. It just happened like that overnight,” she recalled. 

Today, Emma can walk, although her hearing and speech continue to show nerve damage. It’s a condition they hope will improve when the tumor further shrinks.

Chef Daniel Dirmeyer says their belief that something greater than themselves is at work has helped them deal with the stress Emma’s condition has placed on the close knit family of five children. 

"It took us off our seats for a few days until we could regroup and come together and come up with a game plan," he said.

Tickets for Chefs for Chefs – Team Emma Brunch are $125 per person.  Reservations for the event can be made at the Culinaria website, at  There is also a Team Emma Dirmeyer Facebook Page with more information.