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.
1/12: Jennifer Becker, food and beverage director at Rochester Golf and Country Club serves Bob House of Stewartville during the Tasting Experience. Bob liked the event for its social aspects and sampling local cuisine. RGCC Executive Chef Bill Eisenmann prepared Pheasant Confit, Minnesota sweet corn strudel, Lingonberry gastrique for an appetizer and baby beef wellington with truffled duxelles, foie gras, bordeaux demi glace, micro salad and roasted tomato. Dessert was Bruleed pumpkin creme caramel, black walnut creme, homemade graham cracker and caramel grid.
2/12: Event chair Julie Domaille center surrounded by left to right, Mary Lieser committee member, Amber Ziebarth committe member, Amy Ransom March of Dimes community director, June Howard March of Dimes division director, and Sarah Suhr March of Dimes community director.
3/12: Mike Glasrud of Somerby's tells Chris and Jessica Ward about their dishes during the Tasting Experience. The Rochester couple were first time attendees and like the event for its originality.
4/12: Auctioneer Col. Dave Thompson of Kurt Johnson Auctioneering, Inc. instructs volunteers about how the live auction will run and what they can do to help keep the event moving along.
5/12: Mike Glasrud of Somerby's helps Corie and Brian Hartman during the Tasting Experience. The Hartmans were first time attendees to the event and liked the Tasting Experience and helping support a good cause.
6/12: Teasure Island Executive Chef James Powers serves bacon wrapped shrimp, pork tender oscar and a piece of apple cider poiund cake with a caramel sauce and chefs ice cream during the Tasting Experience.
7/12: Juan Victoriano of Chester's with a fresh batch of Asian pork tenderloin from some eager diners during the Tasting Experience. Chester's Executive Chef Derek Jensen also offered a salmon cake pan seared, watercress salad, and for dessert apple raisin spice cake.
8/12: The event is a great place to catch up with old friends. Karen and Jeff Lansing with Lynn and Mike Korte. Mike is former March of Dimes board member.
9/12: Event Center Executive Chef Chris Hodapp serves Kathy and John Eischen of Rochester during the Tasting Experience. The Hodapp's were invited by friends and impressed with the event. Hodapp prepared a Chesapeak style crab cake, fresh charred corn salsa, avacado cream, micro arugula with chive oil and reduced balsamic and for his entree Pinot noir braised beef short rib, roasted butternut squash and garlic mashed potato. for dessert Fennel scented pomegranate seed gelato on a lightly grilled pound cake with candied kumquats in syrup.
10/12: Rory and Sherie Lenton are served by Twigs Tavern and Grille's Liz Hanson during the Tasting Experience. The Lenton's of Rochester enjoyed the event and supporting the March of Dimes.
11/12: Sandy and David Senst of Rochester return to the event each year. Sandy is a former chair for the event and is currently involved in the upcoming Eagles Cancer Telethon.
12/12: Diners line up at the Twigs Tavern and Grille table during the Tasting Experience. Twigs Executive Chef Uber Morales offered a gluten free menu for the Tasting Experience with shrimp corn pudding, Barramundi Paleo wrap and for dessert panna cotta trio with chocolate panna cotta with raspberry liqueur, vanilla panna cotta with mandarin liqueur, and maple panna cotta with sea salt.