Record Number of Congress Members Bring Their Best Bites to the March of Dimes 33rd Annual Gourmet Gala

| Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Media Contacts

save print

NBC’s ‘Weekend TODAY’ News Anchor Sheinelle Jones to emcee fundraiser that fights prematurity

Arlington, VA, April 15, 2015 —

Things are heating up in Washington as 50 Members of Congress will come together for a friendly competition at the 33rd Annual March of Dimes , a fundraising tasting event with a unique Capitol Hill flavor. Each participating Member of Congress will serve as a Celebrity Chef and compete for coveted bragging rights in a competitive cook-off to support the March of Dimes. Presented by United Technologies Corporation, this year’s Gourmet Gala will be held Wednesday, April 29, at the National Building Museum, 440 G St. NW, Washington, D.C., at 6:30 pm. All proceeds support March of Dimes programs and research aimed at preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Combining the best of collaboration, competition and entertainment, this year’s Gala will feature Sheinelle Jones, news anchor for the weekend edition of NBC’s TODAY, as mistress of ceremonies. Other distinguished guests include: Gourmet Gala co-chairs, Mrs. Dianne Isakson, wife of Senator Johnny Isakson (GA), and Dr. Carolina Reyes, wife of Representative Xavier Becerra (CA).

New to the event this year will be a singular focus on the tasting competition, allowing more time for exploring the distinctive flavors and ingredients of dishes presented by Members of Congress from across the country. Each participating Member of Congress will provide judges and guests with their hors d’oeuvre. Attendees will have the opportunity to donate to the cause and cast a vote for their favorite recipes. The event will conclude with the presentation of six coveted awards to winning chefs: Best Presentation, Health and Happiness, American Regional Cuisine, Easiest Preparation, Best in Show and the People’s Choice Award.

Celebrity Chefs include: U.S. Senators/Spouses: John Barrasso (WY); Richard Blumenthal (CT); Roy Blunt (MO); John Boozman (AR); Richard Burr (NC); Ben Cardin (MD); Bill Cassidy (LA); Dan Coats (IN); Susan Collins (ME); Chris Coons (DE); John Cornyn (TX); Mike Enzi (WY); Deb Fischer (NE); Al Franken (MN); Martin Heinrich (NM); John Hoevan (ND); Angus King (ME); Amy Klobuchar (MN); Ed Markey (MA); Lisa Murkowski (AL); Bill Nelson (FL); David Perdue (GA); Gary Peters (MI); Rob Portman (OH); Jim Risch (ID); Pat Roberts (KS); Tim Scott (SC); Thom Tillis (NC); Pat Toomey (PA); Tom Udall (NM); Mark Warner (VA); Roger Wicker (MS).

U.S. Representatives/Spouses: Robert Aderholt (AL); Rick Allen (GA); Sanford Bishop (GA); Tony Cárdenas (CA); Elijah Cummings (MD); Debbie Dingell (MI); Gene Green (TX); Rubén Hinojosa (TX); Doug Lamborn (CO); Dave Loebsack (IA); Billy Long (MO); Doris Matsui (CA); Bill Posey (FL); Tom Price (GA); David Scott (GA); Mike Thompson (CA); Lynn Westmoreland (GA).

Contributing their discerning palates as this year’s Gala celebrity judges are some of the D.C. area’s most recognized and locally acclaimed professional chefs: Celebrity judge chair is Ris Lacoste from Ris. She will be joined by Matt Parrilli, from the National Democratic Club; Jamie Leeds, of Hanks Oyster Bar; Passion Food Hospitality‘s Jeff Tunks; and Chef Spike Mendelsohn, of We the Pizza. The finance co-chairs are Kathy Didawick of BlueCross BlueShield Association and Gina Rigby of Aflac, Inc. Individual tickets are $1,500. For more information, visit

Sponsors of the 33rd Annual March of Dimes Gourmet Gala include the following:

Presenting sponsor: United Technologies Corporation

Regional sponsors: Aflac, American Chemistry Council, BlueCross BlueShield Association, BNSF Railway Company, General Motors, Koch Companies Public Sector, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Southern Company, The Home Depot and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Benefactor sponsors: AARP, Alticor, Anheuser-Busch, BP America, Inc., Chevron Corporation, Comcast NBCUniversal, CVS Caremark Corporation, Fluor, McGraw Hill Financial, Merck, Pfizer, Primerica, Sanofi-Aventis U.S., The Coca-Cola Company and United Parcel Service.

Media sponsors: National Journal, Smart CEO, The Hill, The Umbrella Syndicate, Washington Diplomat and Washington Life.

About the March of Dimes

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit or for more information. Visit for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.