Taking care of their own: Cle food community gathers to support chef’s daughter

Cleveland’s culinary community gathered at Rood Food and Pie in Lakewood last Monday, Aug. 7 for a decadent five-course dinner called Midwest Summer’s Bounty. The event was a fundraiser for Hannah Doty, 17, the daughter of Allysun and John Selick IV, director of culinary management at Metz Culinary Management.

Proceeds from the dinner contributed to Doty’s ongoing care and recuperation from an extremely rare variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome known as AMSAN (Acute Motor Sensory Axonal Neuropathy), which attacks nerves throughout the body. Particularly unusual in the United States, AMSAN GBS makes up about 5% of all Guillain-Barré cases, which affect just one to two people per 100,000 people.

At the event, Rood executive chef and partner Rachelle Murphy showcased produce and edible flowers from The Chef’s Garden in Huron—a local farm recognized globally by renowned chefs for its artisan, picked-to-order products.

Farmer Lee Jones attended with his wife, Mary, and Jamie Simpson, the chef Llaison at the Culinary Vegetable Institute.

Jones was overcome with emotion when speaking about his longtime friend Doty.

“It was an honor to support Hannah tonight,” he said. “John has been such a champion for the community and our farm, and we’ve watched his daughter grow up as they’ve visited us over the years. When Rachelle suggested this dinner, I was so glad to be able to participate and give a little back to his family.”

selick_family_fundraiser_01a.jpgselick_family_fundraiser_01a.jpgMarch 21 should have been a typical school day for Doty, a vivacious Avon Lake High School junior who, as Selick IV recounts, woke up feeling unwell and later asked to be excused from classes.

What began as a morning headache warranted a trip to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital’s ER by evening. A series of seizures preceded a 10-day coma, brain surgery, and 28 days in the intensive care unit.

After waking nearly completely paralyzed, Doty began three months of rehabilitation before being discharged on July 17.

Doty’s care team reports that it will take 18 months of rehabilitation for an 85% chance of full recovery. In the meantime, the Selicks have pivoted to adapt their lives and home to accommodate their new reality.

Over dinner at Rood, Selick shared his appreciation for the GoFundMe campaign­­—which has surpassed its $33,000 goal by $665— in facilitating the purchase of the costly, yet necessary equipment to care for Doty.

“So many people have stepped up, most notably my wife, who walked away from her career to be by Hannah’s side this entire time,” he said. “This is the story of the year, how generous Cleveland chefs have been to my family, even ones who don’t personally know me.”

Murphy echoed Selick’s sentiments. “When I heard what happened, I wanted to help,” she said of hosting the event. “The food community in Cleveland really takes care of their own.”

Chef Ky-wai Wong, Cuyahoga Community College assistant professor in hospitality management is organizing another fundraiser on Monday, September 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Tri-C Hospitality Management Center on Public Square, 180 Euclid Ave.

The Selick Family Fundraiser costs $75 per ticket and includes two wine tickets and more than 30 chef stations. There will be a 50/50 raffle, raffle baskets, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Selick family. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to the Cleveland chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

Tricia Chaves
Tricia Chaves

About the Author: Tricia Chaves

Tricia Chaves is a 'hair raising reporter' who splits her time between writing and and her Thousand Locks Charity project to increase awareness about hair donation among stylists and improve the availability of free wigs for women and kids with cancer. A former style and beauty editor, these days she's more likely to be wearing her toddler on her back than makeup on her face. You can follow the adventures of her foodie family at Planes, Trains and All of Our Meals.