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Last Monday evening, I attended the 2009 Columbus Signature Chefs Auction which benefited the March of Dimes.

The shrine's a big old banquet hall, but that night it'd been given a sparkly makeover that lent it the feel of a real "gala" (Alive's Courtney Kidd must have some tiramisu on her thumb)

The Hocking College School of Culinary Arts was one of several delicious food providers for this event, and their station did not disappoint with HCSCA's rendition of cioppino and a pork with cabbage in mustard cream sauce (it must be Euro week in classes; I'd give this team an "A" for their very tender proteins).

McCormick & Schmick's made some fine sushi (also on the plate is the HCSCA's pork dish--I was multi-tasking)

Latitude 41 made a perfectly timed, mildly pumpkin-spiced squash soup with local veggies and Snowville Creamery cream plus a supermoist, rockin' nut bar tart

Z Cucina represented themselves terrifically with this braised pork and tomato dish that cleverly used crispy polenta cubes like gnocchi

It was a fun night filled with rivers of wine and mountains of food, but I never lost sight of the real meaning of the evening-- the supreme importance of prenatal care. In fact walking past a lonely, unbidden-on teddy bear dressed up in a little chef's outfit filled me with such a stark and empty sadness that I bid on it and eventually won it. That turned out to be a pretty effective cure for my "melancholia Ursa."