By Amanda Renkiewicz / Photos by March of Dimes Michigan
Raising $56,000 for an amazing cause in just one evening? This incredible feat was accomplished at the 2019 March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction, all with the goal to help save babies. The March of Dimes is a renowned charity that was founded in 1938 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. What began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led to the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which transitioned into today’s March of Dimes. The organization pioneered the vaccine research leading to the eradication of polio in the United States. They then shifted focus to address some of the biggest health threats to moms and babies with innovations like folic acid, newborn screening, and surfactant therapy. With a mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality, and premature birth, the March of Dimes shines a spotlight on maternal and infant health crises to give every child a healthy start.
Taking place at the beautiful waterfront Hagerty event center, the Signature Chefs Auction combined fabulous food with an evening of style and support. The event program began at 5:30pm, with a silent auction featuring unique gifts, collectibles, and experiences. Guests mingled through the strolling dinner, where wine and food samples abounded. The Signatures Chefs represented the culinary delights of Northern Michigan and showcase their prodigious skills. Participating chefs were:● Chef Myles Anton, Trattoria Stella● Chef Henry Bisson, Smoke and Porter● Chef Erikk Malstrom, Sauce at Incredible Mo’s● Chef Gary Bradt, Reflect at Cambria● Chef James Broome, Bourbons 72 @ Turtle Creek● Chef Adam Kline, Pigs Eating Ribs● Chef Josh Vincour, Harrington’s By the Bay● Chef Bill Given, Hotel Indigo● Chef John Piombo, Homestead Resort
Each restaurant provided exceptional food, setting the bar high for the evening. The small plates included chicken lettuce wraps, seasonal soups, and more. The tapas style allowed for multiple returns for favorites, while the many wine providers gave insight into the brands of wines and styles that they proudly offered. Nothing could disappoint! The dessert bar alone (with spiced apple cupcakes frosted with buttercream and topped with candied pecans) was worth the price of admission, especially knowing that the ticket cost supports the March of Dimes!
This year’s Signature Chefs Auction was chaired by Dr. Matthew Arnold and his wife Diane Arnold. “Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, March of Dimes empowers every mom and every family,” Dr. Arnold explained. The event emcee was Lauren Scafidi, a bubbly and delightful anchor from 9&10 News. The event program moved into a live auction, where second generation auctioneer Grant Cole led the charge and competition between bidders for the diverse event packages. With birthday parties, weekend getaways, private dinners, and a Hog Wild party for up to 75 guests, there was a fantastic range of fun for any occasion. One package also included an opportunity to be a chef at a top Traverse City restaurant. “Wearing your own chef’s coat, you will help design and prepare each course. Then enjoy your food creations paired with wine with seven of your friends,” Harrington’s By the Bay detailed. Each package was fought over and won with a great round of applause for the lucky top bidder.
By the end of the evening, an astounding $56,000 had been raised to fund the March of Dimes mission. Just locally, Munson Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit cares for approximately 400 premature or ill babies every year. The Signature Chefs Auction demonstrated that our community is fully committed to giving all children a healthy start. The fortunate attendees experienced delicious foods, fine wines, great company, and left with a warm feeling that they had truly made a difference.
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