Vintage Land Rovers as Lifestyle Statements; Muddy Chef Challenge 3 in Lakeville
Calling all Land Rover enthusiasts. Pack up your oriental rugs, leather chairs, Land Rover flags and signs, gourmet grub, camp grills and lots and lots of gusto and head up to Lime Rock Park for a weekend of off road adventure, fine food and drink and lots of camaraderie.
The Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge 3 is an adventurous weekend for Land Rover drivers who want to push their vehicle to the limits in rivers, over mountains and through woods, all under supervision, of course.
Planned for July 31 through Aug. 3, Land Rovers will descend upon Lime Rock Park and spend the weekend at area venues and proving what rugged, sturdy vehicles they really are built to be. Preregistration is required online.
Aside from a camping fee of $35 a night, the event is free. Proceeds from a weekend raffle will benefit Autism Speaks.
(Right, the 1982 Land Rover 109 Stage 1 owned by James Wollschlager of Mystic. Photo by Eric Archer of Warwick, R.I.)
“Land Rovers are your sort of rugged, safari, adventure-type vehicle,” says event creator Eric Yohe (below). As an owner of an unrestored, 1961 Land Rover Series IIA, the Madison resident is passionate about all things Land Rover and is a foodie.
Yohe arranged the first Muddy Chef in Stowe, Vermont, and went on to host last year’s event in Mystic. Bringing the road race/cook-off to Lime Rock was a natural progression and embraced by the park’s Director of Business Development Walter Irvine, another Land Rover enthusiast, and former owner of a Land Rover LR2, who enjoys the “culture.”
“Off-roaders (are) very adventurous, typically very philanthropic, really up to doing crazy stuff like off-roading all day and then coming back and putting on a blazer and making a gourmet meal AT their truck,” Irvine explains.
Cooking a gourmet repast is part of the challenge. Attendees may cook whatever they can transport in their Land Rover. The dishes are then judged by an esteemed panel of fellow epicureans. No one walks away hungry and everyone has lots of fun concocting what they think is the tops in haute cuisine.
“It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking and you have to adapt, but it’s tons of fun,” says Madison participant Kristen Feeney.
How do fresh Nantucket bay scallops on a bed of local roasted sweet corn sound? To Yohe it sounded like a winning entry last year. Alas, other venturesome gourmands apparently served entries better tasting, better presented and better liked by the judges.
Away from the rugged terrain, attendees will put on their best cocktail attire—blazers and shorts and Lilly Pulitzer shifts—and visit two local venues.
The Falls Village Inn, complete with a taproom designed to honor the Lime Rock legacy, is “intimate and comfortable…A feel that honors not only Falls Village, but also that of Lime Rock Park, our famous neighbor,” says the website.
Up the road in Dutchess County, New York, a long winding road will take guests to theMadava Farms where Crown Maple Syrup is tapped and refined to make a one of a kind maple syrup. While feeling like they have entered a Napa Valley winery, guests may partake in a maple syrup tasting in a finely appointed tasting room complete with a copper bar, website:
Some of the events sound outrageous: “For those of you who want super rock crawler, smashed body panel gnarly you have access to Old Florida Road and MaBelle in Western, MA,” according to muddychef.com. Yet Yohe stresses there is something for everyone.
“What I like about it the most is, despite the stressful things you have going in your life you really can’t think about anything else in your life except how am I going to get this vehicle and myself through these woods, over this obstacle,” Robert Wollschlager says. “It’s fantastic.”
Wollschlager, of Mystic, will join in on the fun with his dad, James. They will bring two of their four Land Rovers – a 1972 Land Rover Series 3 88 and 1982 Series 3 Stage- 1 V8 109.
Each morning there will be vehicle inspections and safety talks. The only prerequisite is that “your vehicle should be in good repair without any serious frame rust and able to handle basic off-road challenges.”
“The majority of our vehicles are the rare ones, the early ’60s ones, the ’70s … the classic Land Rovers,” Yohe says. In addition, the event draws drivers of “the Defender, which is what you see on safari…we get lots of those.”