The March of Dimes knows how to throw a party. Each year local organizers coordinate one of the most sought after events of the year, the Signature Chefs Auction. Money raised from the auction goes toward the March of Dimes overarching mission of improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The event is held in Greensboro and Winston-Salem on two separate dates and features some of the areas most popular chefs. The chefs and their restaurants each donate their time and a package that is auctioned off during the event.
Guests of the fundraiser also taste creations from the chefs and vote for their favorites. Judges choose Chef of the Year among a variety of criteria like presentation, taste and creativity. The People’s Choice is voted on by auction attendees.
Then the real fun begins as the auction itself is worth the price of admission. There’s just something about watching people spend money on a great cause and they get pretty competitive about it too. Nothing like tossing a few bids back and forth for a private wine dinner for 10 people in your home provided by the Village Tavern or a weekend getaway for 10 from Graze. Packages like that exceeded $2,000.
In Greensboro, about 330 people attended the event, which raised $150,000.
Chefs of the event included:
James Patterson, Sedgefield Country Club
Michael Harkenreader, Undercurrent Restaurant
Chris Russell, B. Christopher’s American Steakhouse
Brad Semon, The Painted Plate
Matt Kidd, 1618 Midtown
John Drees, Southern Lights Bistro
Derek Cress, Cristina Gray’s Restaurant
Eric Snow, GIA Drink Eat Listen
The panel of judges voted Semon as Chef of the Year, and Drees was voted People’s Choice.
In Winston-Salem, over 320 were in attendance raising over $105,000.
Chefs of the event included:
Mark Grohman, Meridian Restaurant
Shane Moore, Foothills Brewing
Opie Kirby, Finnigan’s Wake Pub
Richard Miller, Graze Restaurant
Claire Calvin, The Porch Kitchen & Cantina
Scott Crater, Village Tavern
Jon Rumery, Bleu Restaurant
The panel of judges voted Miller as Chef of the Year and Calvin as People’s Choice.
Statistics show that one in 10 parents are affected by some type of birth complication.Winston-Salem event chair, Terry Williams said the March of Dimes seeks to make an impact on that.
“This event is not only to have fun but to raise money for an excellent cause,” Williams said. “We’ve been touched over the years in a number of ways with our extended family who’ve had birth complications, plus being involved with children over the past decades, we’ve come to deeply care that we’re able to meet their needs in a professional and fundamental way. That’s really what the March of Dimes is all about.”
President Franklin Roosevelt’s struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Later known as the March of Dimes, the foundation provided research for vaccines that eventually eradicated the polio epidemic in this country. Since then, the March of Dimes has turned its focus to preventing birth defects and research to discover the genetic causes of birth defects with newborn screening, education, etc. Creating awareness of premature birth and its causes is another of the organization’s missions.
For more information on the March of Dimes and the Signature Chefs Auctions that happen around the area, state and nationwide, visit marchofdimes.org.
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.