Chefs Create One-of-a-Kind Pies to Raise Scholarship Funds

Press Release Highlights

  • Top Austin Chef and bakers will create one-of-a-kind pies for online auction
  • The online auction runs from October 17-27
  • Piehole Project pie auction will feature unique pies prepared by 17 chefs and bakers including Aurora Torrado of Emmer and Rye Hospitality Group, Philip Speer of Comedor, and Amanda Turner of Olamaie
  • Piehole Project was created in Dallas in 2020 to raise funds for hospitality industry workforce development and scholarships for culinary students
  • The Austin and Dallas auctions are expected to raise a total of $40,000 for scholarships at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, Dallas College, Johnson & Wales and others
  • FestEvents Foundation is led by Alison Matis and Chery Weis, co-founders of FestEvents Group, an event production company specializing in festivals, galas, and food-centric special events. 

AUSTIN, TX (DATE) – The most pie-ous fundraiser of the year is happening October 17-27 when the Piehole Project’s pie auction comes to Austin. The auction, established in Dallas in 2020, raises funds for students seeking education in the culinary arts and hospitality. In its inaugural year, the Austin Piehole Project will feature 17 Austin chefs and bakers who will create and donate pies that will be auctioned during a week-long online auction.

The Piehole Project was created by Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis, hospitality industry veterans, to expect the event, which includes 39 Dallas area chefs, to raise $40,000 for students.

The auction will take place online at and starts at 8 am October 17, concluding at 8 pm October 27.  Winning bidders will be contacted by Piehole Project representatives to arrange delivery of the pies. 

The Piehole Project’s 2022 Austin Chefs

Mary Catherine CurrenCookbook Cafe
Jakub CzyszczonGarrison
Sarah HeardCommerce Cafe
Abby LoveAbby Jane Bakeshop
Andre Natera
David NormanEasy Tiger
Lindsay O’RourkeBetter Half Coffee & Cocktails
Augusta PassowBarley Swine/ Odd Duck
Amanda Rockman & Chelsea SmithManana
Laura SawickiIndependent / Gitel’s Delicatessen
Philip SpeerComedor
Callie Speer
Jules StoddartHardware Pastries
Fiore Tedesco IIIL’Oca d’Oro
Pamela ThibodeauxSour Duck
Aurora TorradoEmmer and Rye Hospitality Group
Amanda TurnerOlamaie

Several participating chefs have themselves received scholarship earlier in their careers which made participating in this fundraiser a compelling proposition.

Aurora Torrado from the Emmer and Rye Hospitality Group is one such recipient. “I received two scholarships that made a lot of opportunities available to me that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.” Ms. Torrado said. “As a full-time student and a pastry cook, I had a very limited income. These scholarships not only gave me financial assistance, but they also gave me a lot of confidence. I was chosen for the scholarships by chefs who I admired, chefs who I wanted to be in the same room with. Receiving scholarships from revered organizations in this industry, validates your passion, the sacrifices you’ve made, and pushes you to work even harder to succeed.”

Another participating chef, Jules Stoddart from Hardware Pastries said, “To have impactful change and growth in our hospitality industry, it is important to make investments in people. I received a couple of scholarships for continued learning opportunities and it has been extraordinarily important to the longevity of my career. To have an organization demonstrate its belief in you and your career by giving a scholarship is a great feeling.”

This year’s Piehole Project theme is “Celebrate the 80s,” which is carried through in the pie flavors and photos. In the 1980s, culinary trends included blackened redfish, New Coke, and Vol au Vents. Culinary schools and programs in the United States were few and very expensive. Workforce development in the restaurant industry meant getting your foot in the door at a 

restaurant and working for next to nothing. Matis and Weis chose this theme as a fun way to celebrate the progress made in workforce development, and fashion, since then.

To apply for a FestEvents Foundation Piehole Project scholarship, visit URL. To learn more about FestEvents, visit

About FestEvents Group and FestEvents Foundation 

FestEvents Group is Dallas’ premier event production company that specializes in food-centric festivals, galas, fundraisers, and public and private events. Founded in 2017 by Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis, FestEvents has planned and executed some of the most successful events in Dallas, including Taste of Dallas, Dallas Arboretum Food & Wine Festival, Chefs for Farmers, and Go Oak Cliff’s Mardi Gras parade. 
FestEvents Foundation is a 501c3 organization that supports workforce development in the restaurant and hospitality industries in North Texas.  Founded by Alison Matis and Cheryl Weis in 2019, FestEvents Foundation engages in strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations in the Food & Beverage industry to provide scholarships, professional development, and assistance to those looking to make a career in the restaurant industry.