Report: March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction in Dallas

Nick and Sam's Steakhouse (Samir Dhurandhar). Cantonese Shrimp

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction is a major fundraiser for the organization each year. The event on Saturday night was a sell out and over 800 people filled the Fairmont Hotel’s Regency Ballroom to participate in a live and silent auction and enjoy food prepared by 17 talented and generous chefs led by Kent Rathbun of Abacus (and other concepts). The money raised (watch this space for a total when announced) will fund the March of Dimes work to end birth defects. A major focus for the charity at the present time is premature birth. It is a startling fact that, despite a quarter century of rising living standards and technological progress, the national premature birth rate has increased 36 percent. Premature birth is now the number one cause of death for newborns. March of Dimes funds research, education and community programs in Dallas and operates state wide on public policy issues that impinge on this situation. November 17th is World Prematurity Day. Attendees of Saturday’s event met the Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes, the Strauss Family, who have a son born prematurely. Fox 4 weeknight sports anchor Mike Doocy emceed the event and gently cajoled the responsive crowd to give. In addition to donors on the night, a long list of local companies sponsored at various levels, making a major difference to the total funds raised.

Attendees spent most of the evening savoring food from the chefs. Not only did those chefs provide their food and staff, many also donated to the live or silent auctions. Most had created elaborate special meals for groups of between 4 to 12 people, but there were several that offered ‘additions’ to the meal.

Jump for the deals and the meals.

• one chef was offering a hunting trip and accommodations in his lodge;
• one offered a brewery tour;
• three chefs offered upscale hotel accommodations in addition to the meal (nothing like walking upstairs to bed);
• one offered a cooking class;
• one offered a meeting with the winemaker at the meal;
• one offered the meal in a Lexus showroom and the dealer would provide the bidder with a week’s free use of a Lexus of their choice (tip: choose the LFA);
• one would host your New Year’s Eve Party;
• one offered a round of golf, a wine tasting and spa day;
• one would accompany the winner on an expenses paid trip to Napa for four days.

The pictures below give a sense of the specialties offered on the evening. I don’t usually detect trends at charity fundraisers but there seems to be a couple here. Asian influences abounded, whether they be subtle flavors like Gilbert Garza’s almost raw yellow fin tuna or full-on Asian food such as André Natera’s Thai pork dumplings or Richard Chamberlain’s Kobe beef potstickers. Also, a Latin American trend appears to be evident. Abraham Salum showcased Komali (rather than his eponymous restaurant) and Matt McCallister’s Campo (based on the food of Mendoza, Argentina) was serving too. Latin influences (like cilantro and jicama) cropped up elsewhere too.

Abacus (Kent Rathbun). Niman Ranch Chipotle "Bacon and Eggs"
Bijoux and Second Floor Bistro and Bar (Scott Gottlich). Duck Confit with Blue Cheese-Stuffed Dates
Campo Modern Country Bistro (Matthew McCallister). Tempura Morcilla with Tart Vanilla Apples and Bone Marrow Sabayon
Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House (Richard Chamberlain). Kobe Beef Potstickers with Mandarin Orange Ponzu and Wasabi Cream
Charlie Palmer at the Joule (Richard Blankenship). Ricotta Ravioli, Braised Pork, Fiore Sardo.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse (David Holben). Roasted Rack of Lamb, Herb Goat Cheese and Spiced Tomato Glaze
Komali Restaurant (Abraham Salum). Piloncillo and Ancho-Chile Braised Pork Jowl Tostada with Jicama Cilantro Salad
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Bruno Davaillon). Foie Gras Doughnut Hole, Smoked Sea Salt, Fig and Aged Balsamic
Mi Piaci (Ross Demers). Coriander Crusted Colorado Lamb with Caramelized Artichokes and Braised Kale
Nana at the Hilton Anatole (Anthony Bombaci). Scallop Ceviche with Cilantro Sorbet and Avocado
Nick and Sam's Steakhouse (Samir Dhurandhar). Cantonese Shrimp
Opio Restaurant at Hilton Park Cities (Billy Webb). Pot Roast with Winter Vegetables
Pyramid Restaurant and Bar (André Natera). Thai Pork Dumplings with Lemongrass and Thai Basil
Pyramid Restaurant and Bar (André Natera). Crème brûlée.
Sevy's Grill (Jim Severson). Seared Jumbo "Day Boat" Scallops, Creamy Leek Orzo and Truffle Lemon Butter
Shinsei (Jason Czaja). Honey Hoisin Steamed Buns
Suze (Gilbert Garza). Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Soy, Wasabi, Sesame and Jalapeno
Whiskey Cake (T.J. Lengnick). Bourbon-Glazed Pork Belly "BLT" on Brioche with Tomato-Chili Marmalade