March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

Cooking for a Cause

By SWM staff | Photos provided by March of Dimes

Having a sick child is never easy. Premature birth — the No. 1 cause of infant mortality in the United States — is terrifying. March of Dimes’ mission is to prevent that.

The local branch of the organization is hosting its annual Signature Chefs Auction on Monday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the Oncenter, 800 S. State St., Syracuse. This year’s theme brings together local chefs and farmers, with the very fitting theme, “The Farmer & the Chef.”

Last year’s sold out event — also titled “The Farmer & the Chef” — raised $120,000 for the organization, bringing 450 guests together to sample local cuisine. This year, it’s aiming to reach $130,000.

With a wide variety of chefs, the March of Dimes hopes to expose guests to local restaurants they might not be familiar with.

“We try to change it up year to year, so anyone who doesn’t go out and eat at those restaurants gets to sample them, and then have something new to try the next time they want to go out to dinner,” said March of Dimes Central New York market development manager Julianne Allman.

This year’s event starts out with food and beverage samplings from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. The program kicks off with the board chair and mission family, a local family affected by premature birth, and recognition of Welch Allyn. Then, guests are encouraged to participate in eight silent auctions, as well as Fund the Mission, another chance to support the March of Dimes. The night concludes with a wrap-up and dessert.

Along with raising funds for research, the March of Dimes hopes the event will raise awareness and bring people together. Chefs and guests have a chance to open up about their own experiences with premature birth, Julianne explained.

“You never would have guessed. Most people don’t come out and talk about their stories unless it’s that type of setting,” Julianne said. “So it’s cool to have that mission connection with the chefs and the restaurants.”

This year’s participants:
Chef Matt Riddett, Empire Brewing Company
Chef Chris Kuhns, Sky Armory
Chef Dennis Sick, Mohegan Manor
Chef DeAnna Germano, Chef4Rent
Chef John Vigliotti, Peppino’s Restaurant & Catering Company
Chef Dan Hudson, Sherwood Inn
Chef Tyler Dunlap, The Lodge at Welch Allyn
Chef Michael Sheets, The Gould Hotel
Chef Michael Brown, Redfield’s at Crowne Plaza Syracuse
Chef Chance Bear, Lincklaen House
Chef Flip, The Copper Pig BBQ & Taproom Colgate Inn Cathy’s
Cookie Kitchen
Cooperstown Distillery
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Heaven Hill Distillery
Owera Vineyards
Owner, Jeff Steigerwald, Liehs & Steigerwald
Willow Rock Brewing Company

For more information and to buy tickets for the Signature Chefs Auction, visit