Shortly before Steve McHugh and his wife moved to San Antonio in 2010, the rising star chef was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and spent a year undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy. During treatment, he was in the middle of moving to San Antonio and helping to open a new restaurant. Between managing construction, organizing food vendors and working with the kitchen designer, he was able to find some time to go home and rest.
While going through chemotherapy, he read the pamphlets made available by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in his doctor’s office. When his doctor told him that he was going to be put on the R-CHOP regimen, he had no idea what that meant. The resources helped him understand the therapies. “One of the drugs was rituximab, and I later found out that LLS funds dedicated to research were critical in advancing this therapy. That’s when I knew I had to get involved.”
Today, he is in remission and back in the kitchen. In 2013, he opened his first restaurant, Cured. The name has a meaning that is both medical and culinary – it serves as a reminder of his experience with blood cancer and his restaurant is known for savory charcuterie plates and cured meats. For two years, he volunteered with Light The Night Walk, LLS’s evening fundraising walks, and now he is a board member of LLS’s South Central Texas Chapter.
In September 2017, Steve will host his third annual “Cured for a Cure Dinner,” which features five-course meals prepared by renowned chefs from across the globe. The dinner benefits LLS and has raised $120,000 to fund life-saving research.