"Top Chef" was cookin' in Roxbury

By Dorothy Jennings
Catskill residents experienced the first snowfall of the season Saturday evening coinciding with the inaugural “Top Chef” event to benefit the MARK Project with a contribution made to Community Christmas projects. For those hearty souls who braved the inclement weather and treacherous driving conditions, they were rewarded with a night to remember.
Trumpeted as the first-ever Haute Cuisine Cook-off, attendees were first hosted at the lovingly restored historic home of Bob and Jan Andersen on Roxbury’s Main Street where Team Fleischmanns consisting of “Captain” Elizabeth Morrel, Maritza and Mark Birman, Ben Fenton, Ed and Jean Kirstein, Dave Morell and Dave Smith, prepared sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and savories accompanied by an excellent selection of wines.
The competition continued two doors away at the magnificent home of Adam Cohen where Team Roxbury comprised of “Captain” Rich Ellsworth, John and Courtney Fairbairn, Patricia and Patrick Maloney, Andrew and Karina and Matthew Walker did themselves proud with delectables that made the voting process an extremely difficult one.
Both hosts epitomized the spirit of hospitality, fielding questions concerning their homes and the challenges involved in the renovations resulting in two remarkable homes gracing the Main Street of the town.
After indulging their palates insuring the ruination of any dietary discipline, the sated guests proceeded to The Roxbury Arts Group for champagne and the grand dessert buffet orchestrated by Bonnie Walker and Barbara Moses. Wallace Patterson served as barman and the festivities continued with Wendy Nief providing song and dance music.
Votes were cast for each offering based on creativity, service/presentation and taste. The ultimate winner was the community. The MARK Project came together in this labor of love as their board and staff members including Peg Ellsworth, executive director; Ernie Steiglehner, president; Iris Mead, event organizer and Brian Mulder, Wendy Buerge, Christine Dubois, Elaine Grandy, John Finn and Peg DiBenedetto joined with local businesses as well as many other sponsors to benefit those less fortunate in worthy community development products.
Though everyone has been impacted in this difficult economic climate, generosity is still in the hearts of our local people and a group of committed citizens made a difference in their community.