Chef Dyani cooks with Holly

Tracy Haun OwensWest Knoxville

For one special day last spring, Chef Holly Hambright’s kitchen became Chef Dyani’s, as a 6-year-old East Tennessee girl who has leukemia became “chef for a day” at Holly’s Gourmets Market in Bearden. It was a wish granted by the not-for-profit Make-A-Wish East Tennessee. Last week, Dyani and Holly and crew were at it again as the organization reprised the visit for video footage.

Knoxville-based production firm South Made Marketing donated video services. The reel will be shown at the organization’s Grandstand Classic fundraiser, where Dyani, now 7, will be a highlighted “wish child.” The gala takes place May 5 at the Knoxville Museum of Art and will be catered by Hambright.

The not-for-profit Make-A-Wish grants wished-for experiences to children with critical illnesses. Wish coordinator Devin Schiesser says when she started looking for a Knoxville chef to grant Dyani’s wish last year, Hambright’s name came up immediately.

“She was my first call, and I knew it felt right,” Schiesser says. “There was a connection.”

Chef Dyani and Holly Hambright recreate Dyani’s “wish” day last week in a highlight reel for Make-A-Wish East Tennessee’s upcoming Grandstand Classic.

Holly’s events manager Lisa Lawson says Dyani and her family have become part of the restaurant’s family. They love making the young chef special pancakes when she is in the Bearden area.

“Having her in the kitchen this week was so special,” Lawson says. “She lights up the whole building and always gives Holly a run for her money.”

Make-A-Wish East Tennessee has also become a favorite cause for Hambright and her staff.

“We love these people and this amazing organization,” Lawson says.

Dyani’s wish donor, Blount County businessman Randy Carson, was on hand for the original visit and for the recent filming. He recently became a board member of Make-A-Wish East Tennessee.

For more information about the upcoming gala, or about how you can help with the Make-A-Wish mission, visit


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