March of Dimes

Four generations of healthy babies: event patron co-chair Cheri Fromm with her mother Dolores Eskau, grandson Tanner Gilbertson and daughter Dawn Gilbertson. photo by Jason Mueller

For 70 years, the March of Dimes has been saving the lives of babies, and it continues that mission today by promoting healthy births. “Mothers want to do the best for their children, but they can only do so when they’re educated and given the support they need, that’s what the March of Dimes does,” says Cheri Fromm, sponsorship co-chair, along with her husband Ron, of this year’s Signature Chefs Gourmet Dinner Auction.

While strides have been taken to decrease the number of premature babies or infants born with low birth weight or birth defects, she says there is much work to do. “Premature births in St. Louis and Missouri are still over the national average. We still need plenty of education and awareness,” Fromm says, noting that money raised here stays here. “The March of Dimes does such an important job by educating and supporting mothers, testing, and giving research funds to institutions like Washington and Saint Louis universities.”

Fromm notes the 16th annual Signature Chefs Gourmet Dinner Auction to be held Sept. 3 at The Ritz-Carlton is the sixth largest in the nation, raising almost $300,000 last year. “The chefs do such an excellent job. Not only do they volunteer their food and time at the event, but they also donate some of the wonderful auction items,” she says. Premier dining and entertainment packages are up for bid, like having a chef prepare a gourmet dinner at your home or at his or her restaurant.

“I’ve bid on some of these and have had the chefs come to my home,” Fromm says. “My guests say that those meals were among the best dinners they’ve ever had.” In addition to her kudos for the food, Fromm also credits the chefs for making the event a success year after year. “Honorary event chairs Thom Sehnert (of Annie Gunn’s) and Vince Bommarito Jr. (of Tony’s) have been behind this event over the years, and it’s that kind of support that makes such a difference,” she says.

In all, more than two dozen chefs from local eateries will participate in this fall’s event, reports co-chair Vince Bommarito. “Many of these chefs are good friends of mine, so we love to hang out during and after the event,” he says. Last year, Bommarito served a much-lauded antipasto assortment with grilled calamari and scallops. Other popular dishes he’s featured over the years include scallop bisque and crème brûlée. “You always want to make sure you have good food,” he says, adding that he’s not the only one who rises to the occasion. “All the restaurants and clubs do their very best to bring great food to the table that night.”