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Top chef auctions off gourmet dining

Paulie Hooton has auctioned his culinary skills to help an eight-year-old girl with an aggressive brain tumour.

The Group Executive Chef for The Trusts joined forces with a silent auction raising funds for the Waiheke Island youngster, Frankie, and her family.

Paulie auctioned his services to cook a private four-course dinner for eight on Waiheke Island. High-end food and wine, including beautiful Te Matuku oysters and bubbly, are being donated by local businesses with friends helping to serve and do the dishes. He will plan the rest of the menu with the winning bidder.

His auction on March 11 raised $2000 to support Frankie’s treatment and her family’s living costs. It was among 100 items that went under the hammer, netting a total of $110,000, he says. The funds raised will help Frankie’s parents pay for her treatment, physiotherapy or whatever she may need.

A former Waiheke Island resident, Paulie heard about the auction, A Bid For Frankie, through close friends. “In the past, I’ve donated my time to different charities on the island and people have jumped at the idea of having a private chef," he says. "Although we as The Trusts look after The West, I wanted to reach out and share the love further. I see it as a good opportunity to raise some money that helps make the family’s life a little bit easier. It’s easy for me to turn up and cook. That’s the least I can do for these people.”

Paulie’s role with The Trusts sees him creating culinary delights at Mr.Illingsworth in Te Atatū Peninsula.

“One of the reasons I cook is to make people happy and excited about food. Dining out should be about bringing people together to have a good time and create memories.”

He hopes to inspire other chefs to follow in his volunteering footsteps.