March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction a gourmet delight

Guests were treated to culinary delights from 20 of the area’s top restaurants and specialty shops at the inaugural March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction and Wine Extravaganza, held at The Moorings.  Event Chair Nicki Kent, Chef Chair David Rodriguez of Costa d’Este, Host Chef Michael Lander of The Moorings and their committees of volunteers created wine and dine affair that had gourmet foodies swooning with pleasure. A cocktail hour allowed for a perusal of numerous silent and live auction items, and a chance to bid on a glamorous necklace donated by W.M. Dori Jewelers.

But the evening’s highlight came as guests entered into the large dining room, and began to sample the chefs’ sumptuous masterpieces.  At each of two large stations, on either end of the room, eight chefs and their assistants plated up little dishes of mouth watering specialties.  Between the two main stations, four specialty shops offered delectable morsels for dessert and a wine bar provided a variety of wines to go with every dish.  With such a rich assortment of goodies, the expression of the evening seemed to be, “Ooh did you try this?”.

In addition to Chefs Rodriguez and Lander, the other participants included Baker Debi Adkins, Classy Cupcakes; Chef Mario Amelio, Pomodoro Grill; Chocolatier Gina Battle, Faith, Hope and Chocolate; Chef Mitch Dembrowski, Regency Park; Chef Kevin Downing, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort; Chef Felix Fajardo, Felix’s Place Restaurant; Chef Patrick Festa, Chelsea’s on Cardinal;  Chef Daniel Frechette, Pearl; Chef Michele Hennessey, River Grille; Chef Leanne Kelleher, The Tides; Chef Andrew Keller, The Club at Pointe West; Chef Jeff McKinney, Bodega Blue; Chef Mark Muller, Harborage Yacht Club & Marina; Chef Chet Perrotti, Amalfi Grille; Chef Lisa Perucchini, Ti Amo Sempre; Pastry Chef Mercedes Tamayo, The Cake Studio; Chef Bradley Willits, Cobalt at Vero Beach Hotel & Spa and Chefs Ashlee & Ryan Wykoff, Frostings.

County Commissioner Wesley Davis was the auctioneer for bidding on items such as artwork by artists Romero Britto and Barbara Sharp , a mountain golf getaway, culinary experiences with Chef David Rodriguez and Chef Felix Fajardo and Christmas with Mickey.  The evening was rounded out by dancing to the always entertaining sounds of Bobby and the Blisters.

Although this is the first time for the event in Indian River County, Pam Crowley, Treasure Coast Division Director noted that it is a nation-wide March of Dimes signature event and they decided it was time to introduce this upscale fundraiser to Vero Beach.

Funds raised support the mission of the March of Dimes to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  The event’s presenting sponsors were Costa d’Este and the George E. Warren Corporation. {igallery 64}

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