Main Event: Chefs' delicious dishes help advance March of Dimes

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Amanda and Brian Schulz of Austin, Minn. browse the silent auction items in the Event Center lobby before the Tasting Experience. The Schulz's like the opportunity to support the March of Dimes a good cause.

Take pheasant confit, crab cakes, Greek goddess salad, Asian pork tenderloin, mint chocolate chip cream puffs, bruleed pumpkin caramel and about 20 more delicacies, and you have a recipe for successful fundraiser for the March of Dimes.

The 22nd annual Signature Chefs Auction was held Nov. 7, when 10 of the area's most proficient chefs entered examples of their best appetizers, entrees and desserts, hoping to win the "Best in Category."

According to event chairwoman Julie Domaille, a record-breaking $254,150 was raised by the sold-out crowd of 450.

"We have a tremendous amount that is donated to us, and we are so grateful to our community for their donations," she said. "I couldn't be more touched by Rochester and the surrounding communities for their support."

"This has been amazing. From tickets being sold out in August, to the incredible live auction items, the response is just wonderful," said June Howard, Southeast Minnesota division director for March of Dimes. "We also have the Diamond Dazzler, which is something new. In honor of our 75th anniversary, 75 guests can purchase a chance for $75 to win a one-carat diamond from Rochester Lapidary Jewelers."


Mike Enke, representing Rochester Motor Cars, was the presenting sponsor. Also a member of the board of directors, Enke said, "So many go above and beyond for this event. It's heartwarming."

"We are working to save babies together," said one of the chefs, James Powersof Treasure Island. "This is our 10th year here, and we are so happy to be a part of this and do what we can for March of Dimes."

Jessica Wardand Chris Wardwere attending for the first time. "Our company, Image Splash, was honored to produce and donate the booklet for tonight. We're having a great time, tasting so many good things; it's difficult to decide who to vote for for the People's Award."

Three-year-old toddlers Sam and Sophia Beuchlerwere the March of Dimes Ambassadors whose inspirational stories were told. Parents Tamara and Eric were quoted as saying, "Watching Sam and Sophia in gymnastics together, you would never know they had a rough start in life. They love to read, ride bikes, color and play dress up — just like any other 3-year-old."

Many people who had been impacted by March of Dimes volunteer, attend the event and expressed gratitude to have the opportunity to benefit from the organization. One guest who asked to remain nameless said, "I come every year. It's my favorite event for my favorite cause. I know I speak for many, many people here tonight. I'm so thankful for the March of Dimes."

The March of Dimes initially was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the polio epidemic. The mission today is to combat premature birth, which helps prevent birth defects and infant mortality. Thousands of babies have been saved by research discoveries since 1938.

For more information or to donate, go to .

Up next: On Feb. 18, we'll feature Reach for the Stars, a fundraiser for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.


Debi Neville is a Rochester freelance writer.

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