Video Tale

Watch Eric Sandler — the Perez Hilton of Houston's food scene — get his comeuppance in a dunk tank

Watch Eric Sandler — the Perez Hilton of food — get dunked by chefs

At the Ghetto Dinner fundraiser, a who's who of Houston's restaurant community turned out to help raise funds for Gracie Nguyen, the pastry chef who was seriously injured at South by Southwest when a suspected drunk driver plowed into a crowd of people while fleeing from the Austin police. At Big Star Bar in the Heights on Sunday, friends indulged in a variety of food and drinks while hanging out and listening to a series of local bands. 

Event organizers Adam Dorris and Brad Moore arranged for a variety of ways to separate attendees from their cash, including heaping plates of pig and crawfish from Dorris and The Modular chef Mark Parmley, a bake sale organized by Fluff Bake Bar's Rebecca Masson (aka the Sugar Hooker) and a silent auction that included private tasting dinners.

While all of those things were sufficient to attract people to the fundraiser, organizers added a twist in the form of a dunk tank populated by media members. Houstonia editor Katharine Shilcutt, KTRK's Pooja Lodhia, Houston Press food critic Kaitlin Steinberg and I all took half hour turns in the tank. Tickets for the three woman went for $10 per ball, but dunking me cost $20 a throw.

 Tickets for the three woman went for $10 per ball, but dunking me cost $20 a throw. 

Fish & the Knife owner Tony "Sake" Zheng kicked off the effort with a $1,000 ticket split between Steinberg and me, which he gleefully distributed to attendees.

Who had the privilege of putting me in first? None other than Ghetto Dinner co-conspirator Will Walsh's 6-year-old daughter. Who did it best? Credit to Dorris for a no-doubt fastball that sent me into the tank.

Organizers are still compiling totals from the auction items but are optimistic the total approached $10,000. No separate numbers are available for the dunk tank, but I feel like I did my part for the cause (watch the video above for proof).

Eric Sandler dunked
Ghetto dinner co-conspirator Will Walsh's 6-year old daughter was the first one to put Sandler in the tank. Courtesy photo