Dallas Celebrates March of Dimes with Epic Fundraiser

More than $700,000 was raised at the Dallas Signature Chef Auction
Jenny Block

Chefs prepared signature dishes at stations all around the well-appointed ballroom.

March of Dimes Dallas, led by event chairs Laura and Ian MacNeil, put on one heck of a splash on Thursday, October 30 at the Omni Dallas Hotel for their Dallas Signature Chef Auction.

An impressive selection of some of Dallas’ top chefs was on hand, with Kent Rathbun of Kent Rathbun Concepts as head chef for the evening. Later in the night, Rathbun was honored with the Dr. Leonard and Pauline Graivier Award for helping to “further the mission of the March of Dimes for the past 19 years, including 17 years as Signature Chefs Auction lead chef.

“We’ll be the number one Signature Chefs Auction site in the country for March of Dimes [once again this year], and we raised more than $700,000,” Carmen Branch, Communications Coordinator for the March of Dimes in Dallas, told us following the event. The 2013 event raised $733,000, which set the record as the highest overall total in the Dallas auction’s history, making it the number-one Signature Chefs Auction site in the country last year.

The event is presented in a dine-around style with chefs preparing signature dishes at stations all around the well-appointed ballroom. A selection of high-end wines, as well as a signature “Hope” martini and other bar creations, were served alongside the culinary creations.

Some of the tastiest bites of the evening included Abraham Salum’s Yucatan panuchos with cochinita pibil, pickled red onions, and xnipec (habanero salsa); Kent Rathbun’s pan-fried Manchester Farms quail breast, jalapeño cream gravy, and cilantro-charred cornbread; Richard Chamberlain’s pecan wood-smoked pork loin with bacon waffles and cherry thyme syrup; Dwight Harvey’s pecan-smoked baby back ribs; T.J. Lengnick’s five-spice braised short ribs with Japanese pumpkin kabocha dumplings; Jim Severson’s duck confit; and Matt McCallister’s sprouted grain porridge with Manchego.

The impressive bites looked as good as they tasted, making it very difficult to pace oneself and make it all the way around the room. Some events leave you hungry, the expression “heavy apps” a complete misnomer. But this was more food than any three-course formal dinner even if you didn’t hit every stop on the dine-around.

Following the tastings, guests were seated at formal tables filling the ballroom and enjoyed decadent cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes, as glamorous packages were auctioned off including private dinners, exotic trips, and glass art by Dale Chihuly.

Surely it has been said before that raising money never tasted so good. But that was certainly true last week in Dallas, as the March of Dimes and a ballroom full of guests joined together to celebrate chefs and make sure every baby born has a chance. They did it up big.  They did it up right. They did it up Dallas. 

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