On April 29th, The March of Dimes Foundation hosted it’s 33rd Annual Signature Gourmet Gala, a highly-anticipated fundraiser just marinating with DC Flavor. Our nation’s top politicians moonlighted as the evening’s Celebrity Chefs to raise proceeds and awareness for the prevention of premature births in the United States.
Congressmen and Senators alike engaged in friendly culinary competition, challenging each other for the win with their own signature dish. Senator Al Franken baked pumpkin cornbread from a secret family recipe, while Senator Lisa Murkowski impressed the crowd with her Alaskan salmon cakes. Not to be outdone, Virginia Senator Mark Warner was on hand to delight us with his deviled eggs. Other savory dishes included hot crawfish dip, petite beef wellingtons, and Bavarian apple tart.
Lawmakers had their dishes judged by local celebrity chefs like Spike Mendelhson, who rated their epicurean talents with awards in six categories: Best Presentation, Health & Happiness, American Regional Cuisine, Easiest Preparation, Best in Show and People’s Choice.
The evening’s real star was 2015 March of Dimes Ambassador Elijah Jackson. Elijah was born prematurely at 25 weeks and weighed just over one pound. After spending over 7 months in a newborn intensive care unit, Elijah’s medical bills totaled over $1.2M. Though he still works to overcome his challenges, the inspiring 12 year old radiates with an infectious inner joy that touched each person he happily greeted. As the 2015 National Ambassador, Elijah and his parents will travel the country to raise awareness for premature birth and undoubtedly inspire countless others as he shares his story.
The fundraiser was a huge success due in large part to the participation of our gracious Politico-Chefs, friends, and MOD supporters. The evening’s net proceeds totaled over $850,000, which will directly fund March of Dimes continued mission to help struggling newborns and provide overall care to children facing the developmental challenges caused by premature birth. May they share the same bright spirit that makes Elijah shine from within like a beacon of hope.
2015 Award Recipients
Best Presentation: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland
Health & Happiness: Rep. Sanford Bishop
American Regional Cuisine: Senator Lisa Murkowski
Easiest Preparation: Rep. Doris Matsui
Best in Show: Senator Chris Coons
People’s Choice: Senator Pat Roberts
About The March of Dimes
The MOD Foundation was founded in 1938 by the shared mission of individuals dedicated to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. They have supported research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies. Since 2003, MOD fight to save babies has been strongly characterized by their Prematurity Campaign. The rising incidence of premature birth has demanded action, and the March of Dimes has responded by initiating an intensive, multi-year campaign to raise awareness and find the causes of premature birth. Visit them on the web at http://www.marchofdimes.org to learn about their life-saving mission and how you can help.