Party Line: March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction attracts top chefs, big crowd

Cailin Brown (from left), Beryl and Shannon Brown, Cecelia Payne Wright, Patricia Watson and Gwen Seaton were at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction.
Photos by Michael Donahue The Commercial Appeal

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Cailin Brown (from left), Beryl and Shannon Brown, Cecelia Payne Wright, Patricia Watson and Gwen Seaton were at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Photos by Michael Donahue The Commercial Appeal

More than 20 chefs headed up the 18th annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction held recently at the Hilton Memphis.

The party began with hors d'oeuvres, a wine tasting and silent auction and continued with chef tastings and a live auction.

More than 500 people attended, said Beth Washington, who co-chaired the event with Christy Correa.

"We had a big sellout," said Beth, who didn't know how much was raised, but did know the party was a success. "My goal this year was to beat what we raised last year."

She wants next year's chairperson to beat her goal. "We want to grow every year."

Mary Washington, Beth's daughter, and Mary's 15-month-old daughter, McKenzie Elizabeth, were this year's Ambassador Family. McKenzie was born with a soft cleft palate, which was repaired when she was 9 months old by Dr. Robert Wallace at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

Beth's sister, Sandra Jones, and her husband, Jack, were the honorary chairmen. "It was a true family event this year," said Beth, who attended with her husband, Jack; their daughter, Leigh Washington; and Leigh's mother-in-law Patsy Clark.

A portion of the event's proceeds will go to the neonatal intensive care unit at the Regional Medical Center of Memphis.

Among those attending were Irene Smith, March of Dimes executive director, and Kim House, special events director.

Art Guitar Party

Several 20-by-40-foot paintings by the late LeRoy Neiman adorn sides of Gibson Guitar Factory. The paintings, which depict Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, B.B. King and Al Green, are among the decorations for Friday night's Blues Ball.

The paintings were done over the years for Pat Kerr Tigrett, the party's founder and general chairman.

"He was such a great friend of ours, a longtime personal friend ... He has been our official Blues Ball artist since we started," said Pat, who hosted Tuesday's Gibson Art Guitar Party in the Westin Hotel lobby bar, which overlooks Gibson Guitar. The Gibson Art Guitar Party is an annual preview party showcasing donated Gibson guitars designed by artists for the Blues Ball silent auction.

Among the guests were Erling Jensen, chef/owner of Erling Jensen: The Restaurant, and his fiancée, Jaquila Foster, who wore a round solitaire on her finger. Erling said he popped the question after a catfish and yams dinner prepared by Jaquila. They're planning to marry May 4 at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art with Wally Joe from the Brushmark and Acre restaurants doing the food.

Winter Arts

Winter Arts, the annual sale of works by regional artists, opened with a preview party Friday night at 2055 West St. in the Shops of Saddle Creek, South, in Germantown.

More than 30 artists, including Ron Olson, Katie Dann and Virginia Nuckolls, are included in this year's show.

Winter Arts runs through Christmas Eve.

Cover photo: Mark Briones and Erika Kirksey at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction.

donahue@commercialappeal.com; 901-529-2797

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