March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction — written by Wesley Suttle

Posted by on November 22, 2013

Written by Wesley Suttle:

The 8th Annual Winston Salem Signature Chefs Auction to benefit the March of Dimes was held last Friday, November 15that the Embassy Suites.  It was a fantastic night featuring local chefs and caterers, silent and live auctions, and music.  All proceeds from the event went toward the March of Dimes mission of making sure every baby is born healthy. 


The 2013 Event Chair was Sara-Peyton McCormick, who could not have put on a better fundraiser.  The 2013 Honorary Chairs were Jimmy and Juliana Strickland, two amazing people dedicated to many philanthropic efforts in Winston-Salem.  I know them from my Krispy Kreme days – but, in a nutshell, these two get the job done – if you need something to happen in this town, a good place to start is with the Stricklands. 

The 2013 Ambassador Family was the Elrods – Maureen, Tommy, Tommy, Annie, and Byron.  They were the reason I attended this event for the first time.  There is not much I would not do for my dear friend, Mo.  Attending this great event was without hesitation; blogging for Christine was pushing it.  I apologize for this amateur-hour post on Christine’s blog.


My first picture of the night is below – I am warming up on the job with a great one of Mo and Tommy.



Here is how the night went down.  The room is massive so you are assigned to tables, but they go basically vacant for the first half of the night.  You cruise to the bar for a drink, and then decide whether to preview the silent auction items or go taste the chef’s food.  I chose to hit the food tables first, but little Tommy Elrod went straight for the auctions – he is SO proud of his hockey stick win!



Each chef had their own station and offered you a feature dish or dishes.  High tops were near those stations so you could easily go to all in a short period of time.  Score!  Participating restaurants included 1703, The Porch, Finnigan’s Wake, Meridian, Noble’s Grille, Milner’s, and Village Tavern, among others. 


Check out what we tasted.  First up, Milner’s.  Gumbo and tuna lettuce wraps.  By many, this was their favorite table.

Next up, The Porch with Claire Calvin.  Claire decorated her table with lights, and served small cups of Shiners beer.  Not sure how she kept the beer ice cold on the serving station, but it was delicious with the Frito Pie, which was creatively served in a Frito bag.   Yummy!



Noble’s offerings were elegant and creative – no shock there.  Lots of sauces, designs, beautiful plating, and delicious flavors.




The best part of this culinary happy hour was catching up with friends!  A fun Friday night in Winston-Salem supporting the March of Dimes.

Molly Iauco, Mo Elrod, and Wesley Suttle
Stacy Petronzio, Shelley Holden, Shannon Wilson, Megan Martin-Wall, Katy Fisher

I finally caught up with Coach Elrod and got a picture of him with Annie.  Take note of Tommy in a suit – it’s like spotting a rare bird in an aviary. 


The silent auction then closed, and everyone headed to the tables for the live auction.  Sara-Peyton kicked off the event (revealing a super new hairstyle), and the Stricklands followed.


 Sara-Peyton McCormick
Julianna and Jimmy Strickland

After the chefs were introduced and applauded for the food they had served, the live auction began. 


This auction requires a nicely-sized wallet, or a small wallet, but a massive amount of drinks.  The items up for bid are excellent and unique – no weekend at the beach in February!  Items up for auction were sponsored by each chef/restaurant, and included evenings catered in your home, parties at their restaurant, meals planned to your specifics, etc.  They averaged $1,000 and up to start.  It was excellent to see the bidding process – wives pressuring husbands, husbands hiding under tables, people stepping up for a great cause and winning fantastic future culinary events.


The event of the night for me, and many, was when the Elrods took the stage.  Tommy spoke and Maureen held Annie and little Tommy’s hands.  Tommy shared their story of baby Byron’s brief stay in this world July 12-20, 2012 due to an incurable brain tumor that grew undetected during Maureen’s third trimester of pregnancy.  Tommy is a great public speaker and, despite Mo’s urges to plan out what he was going to say, spoke off the cuff about his family and their experiences after the birth of Byron.  I wonder if he makes his players cry.  Mo is exceptional.  Tommy is no sloucher.  Their story testified to the power of faith, family, and community, of nurses and doctors that help so many families everyday at Baptist Hospital, and the importance of the work being done by the March of Dimes so that more families can leave the labor and delivery floor of their local hospital with the dream they expected.  A video of the Elrods was shown to all, which was uniquely different than the previous ones done, and possibly my favorite (pup Bogey made the cut for this one).  Byron’s short life has made such an impact in this community and beyond, and last Friday was no exception.  The item up for auction after the Elrods spoke was a direct donation to the March of Dimes, and little Tommy started it off by donating the $20 in his Blessings Jar.  Then the paddles went nuts – $25,000 was raised for this item alone.   The total amount raised from Friday night was approximately $139,000.



The Signature Chefs Auction is truly a worthwhile event and fundraiser.  If you did not get the chance to go this year, please consider going next year.  You will NOT be disappointed, and you may just raise a paddle and win a fantastic party at your house, or walk away with a hockey stick.  As the auctioneer said to a hesitant bidder, can you think of a better cause than this – ensuring the birth of healthy babies – to put an extra $100?  For those of us that are parents, you know the answer and it consumes you.


***  Wesley Suttle, was kind enough to write this post about the important work that the March of Dimes does and the amazing Elrod Family.  Wesley is a wordsmith and captured the night magnificently. Many thanks to Wesley!!  Many Many Thanks to Mo and the Elrod family for graciously letting us post about their amazing family and the great work of March of Dimes. **

** If you would like to donate to March of Dimes click here **
Dashing – xoxo


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