2019 Muddy Chef Challenge Competition Highlights from Drive the Globe

 

 

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2020 Muddy Chef Challenge

Due to the global virus emergency, I’ve decided to cancel the 2020 Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge.  I know this will disappoint many of you and derail your summer plans.  However, with the current global state of unrest and confusion, it’s better to put it off this year and look forward to 2021.  We will, however, come up with a virtual Muddy Chef Challenge and offer you the ability to compete against each other from the safety of your home.  Look for a registration e-mail in the next week.  We’re hard at work designing 2020 MCC the event stickers and shirts, and as always Muddy Chef Challenge winners will receive a coveted Muddy Chef Challenge engraved mug.  

Stay safe, have fun, and remember to take care of each other!

Eric and the entire Muddy Chef Challenge event staff. 

 

The Muddy Chef Challenge Competition

Mike Ladden of Drive the Globe shot this awesome video!

Land Rover – TITLE SPONSOR OF THE 2018 Muddy Chef Challenge

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ROVERS MAGAZINE – covers the Muddy Chef

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

 

On a damp July morning, a large convoy of Ferraris drove slowly in a circle around an encampment of Land Rovers. As Green Oval enthusiasts ogled the Ferraris, Prancing Horse aficionados stared at the Land Rovers. Weirder things have happened, but not many.

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

At first I attributed this alternative universe moment to the presence of the free beer from the Branford, CT, Stony Creek Brewery, free rum from the Newport, RI, Thomas Tew Distillery and free cocktails from the 13th St. Cocktail Catering. Even the restorative powers of the free Cide Road Switchel didn’t change the oddity of this moment.

This added to the sounds, sights and smells provided by the Muddy Chef Challenge, held July 28-31, in Lakeville, CT, the home of the famous Lime Rock sports car race track. Nestled in the stunning countryside of the state’s northwest corner, the track hosted the Ferrari Challenge race series that weekend. The howl of tightly wound-up engines mixed with the growl of Land Rover’s pushrod V-8’s and ticking pushrods of the venerable 2.25 L four cylinder to provide an aural symphony every morning; the noise also helped shake off the effects of the free drinks.

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Eric Yohe created this unique experience eight years ago, a heady cocktail mixing Land Rover models of all vintages with foodies, extreme grillers, campers and off-roaders. Eric and his team also brought in vendors with enticing products and services, and not surprisingly, you find something to please most everyone. A terrific group of volunteers, including Kristen Feeney, Gene Schubert and Peter Batenaro, among others, helped smooth out the bumps resulting from the rainy weather and large turnout. Raffle income would go to the designated charity, Autism Speaks.

Most everyone in attendance had come from CT or bordering states like NY and MA—and there were a lot of them. Registrations ran well over 100 and hundreds more enthusiasts formed some 90 culinary teams. Rovers North’s Rob Smith drove down from VT in his’ ‘94 Defender and enjoyed “the sports cars racing, meeting Rovers North customers, meeting new enthusiasts and the mix of vehicles.” Michael Ladden, Hampden, MA and Carrie Touchette erected a tent large enough for a circus and for unfurling an old “West Connecticut Land Rover Club” banner (with a Yorkie for a guard dog). John Vallerand, Greene, ME, made another one of his epic drives in his Series II-A 88”. This time he packed the Rover with the largest teepee tent I’d ever seen, as well as his mother and sister. Somehow he found room for his signature cooling utensil, a round griddle the size of a manhole cover.

In comparison, my tent was the size of a beach towel which barely covered my sleeping bag and slender air mattress, but only if I lay them out diagonally. My drive from my island town in Maine totaled 7.5 hours, which included a 1.5 hour ferry trip and the muggiest, hottest, most congested drive imaginable along the interstates in Massachusetts (#nomoresummertravel).

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

I arrived at the fabled race track on a Thursday night, found my assigned camp spot and erected my tiny L.L. Bean tent. I also set up my tiny, two burner camp stove, small cooler bag and diminutive water jug, my one fork and spoon, ready to show off my culinary talents. By that evening a steady stream of Range Rovers, Discoverys and Defenders had emptied out their contents of Tent Mahals, grills the size of kitchen stoves, coolers that rivaled dumpsters in size—and an assortment of tables, chairs, vases, cutlery and linens that accompanied their equipment. All this glamping made me feel like a desert nomad marveling at the encampment of a sheik and his entourage.

Mike Chioffe, Stamford, CT works in IT for a hedge fund, but his escape comes in the form of a ‘95 Range Rover Classic, into which he’s put a considerable amount of sweat equity and overseen some restorative work. Mike’s tent and camp kitchen made mine look like pet’s quarters, but could barely compare with the Big Box Store footprint of Keri and Kieran Dunn from Norwalk, CT. Keri, who works for Vineyard Vines, and Kieran, who works for Pitney-Bowes, have owned their ‘02 P38 Range Rover for just a year; Keri calls it “one classy car.” The daily driver disgorged a tent so large you could stand up in it, complete with an inflatable, full sized double bed. A folding table enabled them to set up their propane-fueled baking oven as well as serve drinks in a refined manner. Durbin Hunter and Haleigh Lipnick, also from Stamford, brought an enormous tent, several propane tanks to fuel their cookstove and with cookware of restaurant quality. For grins they brought along a Golden Retriever with a proper name of Wellington—but who only answered to Mr. Pickles—that entertained every kid in the encampment. Adam and Rebecca Check, Bolton, MA, former winners at the event, created a movie set field kitchen behind their Range Rover that simply dazzled; I slid over every so often to see if I could mooch additional samples of their cooking.

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

You could off-road during the day, with extreme trails a long ride away in MA. Across the hills lay Dutchess County, NY, with its own quaint villages, hillside gentleman farms and country roads. It’s also the home of the Orvis Sandanona Shooting School with its own off-road trails, and Crown Maple Farms, on whose property you could also go off-roading on forest trails. Both required about a 45-minute drive and some long waits on the trails, but in the beautiful landscape, whining about it seemed ridiculous. Besides, the Orvis lodge combined stunning rifles and gear with private club levels of leather chairs, drink and food, which Tim Smith, Norwalk, CT and I enjoyed enormously. Crown Maple Farms’ buildings hid their production inside handsome barns featuring tours, free samples and outdoor dining. Each day’s off-roading also featured an “Iron Chef” competition for those challenged to cook on the fly.

If you tired of the culinary world you could enjoy the Land Rovers surrounding you. Manny Backman, Warrington, PA, and his son, Kevin, Titusville, NJ, arrived in their ‘04 Discovery II. Kevin works for Major League Baseball and takes his ‘67 Series II-A to the train station. Nancy and Vincent Chong, Chappaqua, NY, found their ‘85 Land Rover 110 on Ebay and had it shipped from Florida to New York. They painted it themselves using a roller brush and treated it to a personalized plate that reads “CLIFF4D,” as in Big Red Dog. Professional race car driver Mark Hamilton Peters, Lakeville, CT and Sophie Purdy, Sharon, MA, enjoyed the day in a ‘64 Series II-A 109”, a former NATO Belgian military vehicle with a glorious patina. Bill Schimkowski, Westborough, MA, brought his restored Sage Green ‘61 Series II-A 88”; it reminded me how nice mine would look if I would stop using it for work. Bill let me drive his and demonstrate some of its off-road capabilities.

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Pediatrician Lin-Lin Remenar, her husband, David, and children Van, Jude and Sydney, arrived in their ’88 and ‘95 Range Rovers. She noted that the Land Rover people they’ve met come from “all walks of life.” “Land Rover owners love leads to passion, which we need more of!” She admitted to some nerves when first off-roading, but said it had become “amazingly addictive!”

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

During one afternoon event Will Hedrick gave a presentation on his efforts to help enthusiasts hold onto their imported Defenders. Throughout the event the UK firm Arkonik presented their refurbished Defenders to excite the gathering. Founder Andy Hayes has spent several years searching out 25-year-old Land Rovers for importation to the US. He calls them “pieces of history, designed brilliantly and refurbished as such.” He seeks to have them leave his shop “better than they were in the day.” Most are from Continental countries so they can be LHD for the American market. For legal importation, the 90/110’s and Defenders must leave with their original engines; for now, that means 3.5 V-8’s or 2.5 L petrol or diesels. The handsome paint jobs and custom seats (one of which would not lift to access the underseat battery) made them look even more striking and certainly added to the joy of the test drives/rides offered generously throughout the event. Client Communications Manager Jasmin Clinton spoke of the many efforts made to educate Americans unfamiliar with these models—and also enjoyed her first ever trip to the US. Prestige Motors of New Jersey works with Arkonik on US sales and became a sponsor of the event.

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

Muddy Chef Challenge 2016

The “Challenge” part of the Muddy Chef Challenge kept the judges exhausted. Jim and Robert Wollschlager, of Mystic, CT and Omaha, NE, respectively, won the Team Spirit Award with their twin Series Land Rovers. Lars Vigen, Madison, CT, won the Best Campsite award due to the weekend edition of a stuffed coyote [don’t ask]. The culinary competition categories included dessert, appetizers and entrees. You earned extra points for using locally-sourced ingredients (I learned that purchases made at a nearby grocery store didn’t count), in addition to numerous other considerations. Terry Jackson, Lewiston, ME, brought his winning ingredients in his ‘11 LR4. They combined to create “sashimi tuna with a soy, sesame oil and Hillrock Distillery Bourbon glaze, on a mango and roasted corn salsa bed.” Oh—no wonder my stuffed mushrooms failed to garner an award.

By Jeffrey Aronson
Photography: Jeffrey Aronson, Aimee Almstead

Photos from the 2016 Muddy Chef Challenge | By Aimee Almstead

CLICK HERE!  For a full set of photos from the Muddy Chef Challenge!

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PROFILE / John Almstead

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If Land Rover made an aircraft would you fly in it? Why/Why Not?

Hmmm…. Depends how high are we flying. No, just no.

 

 

 

Tell us a little about your background, your career, and where you live.

By day I am an Industrial Designer working for Unilever, and night I am a father/husband/Cub Scout leader/Rescue Diver for Newtown and surrounding areas/Adjunct Professor at Bridgeport University and Rover want-a-be mechanic (not that good at it yet)

How many Land Rovers have you owned and which was your favorite?

My first is my current 1982 Series III 109 wagon which I have had for 3 years. So this is my favorite at the moment. My father works for Land Rover in Darien CT. and I have had the opportunity in helping out during the summers. I was fortunate in running swaps from dealer to dealer in the tri-state area. Also was able to take part in the off-roading events when they used to have Defenders in their line-up.

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What’s the best thing about owning a Land Rover?

Defiantly the community of Rover owners. The people that I have met these past years are great people.

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What’s the worst thing about owning a Land Rover?

Winters, I would have to say New England winters. Since I drive my series as my primary vehicle the heat isn’t the best, and the salt has eaten my frame. But I do enjoy driving in the snow and knowing I am going to get were I need to go when heading out in the storm.

Been on an adventure?

Last year I took a road trip up to Rovers North in VT. I was delivering a bad gearbox that had been recently been swapped out. I took the long way up Rt7 through CT, MA and VT The ride up was fantastic. Having a Rover your forced to slow down and enjoy the journey and not the destination.

How do you plan to beat the competition this year at the Muddy Chef Challenge?

Seafari Rovers has some new tricks for this year. It will involve custom tableware and one of a kind take aways for the judges. Stay Tuned…

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PHOTO: Seafari was serious about incorporating local ingredients to their creations at the Muddy Challenge.  That’s a receipt from the nearby Sharon Farm Market

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If you could ask Land Rover for a particular type of vehicle what would it be?

Rover Boat… doesn’t have to be fast

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What upgrades/modifications does your Land Rover have?

The engine was recently upgraded to a 200 Tdi from a 2.25 Huge difference. Thanks to Rover Resources and North American Overland for this! You can see the video on Mike Sandones Face Book page North American Overland Tdi conversion. Here is the link to the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mks-6mxi65Y

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If you were on safari which three (living or dead or fictional) people would you pick to bring along?

This is hard… many names come to mind. But I would have to say my wife, Aimee and my two boys Ben and James. I would want to share that experience with them, as it was the main reason for getting the 109 5 door for adventures and fun.

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Here’s to good times.

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Visit http://www.rowdygentleman.com/

 

WE JOINED! Tread Lightly!

The Muddy Chef Challenge is for Land Rover owners.  Land Rovers work best where they were intended – in the wild!  We give owners the opportunity to drive vintage and modern Rovers in challenging real-world settings.  As such, we take off-road trail use seriously.  Our events do not destroy ancient town roads.  We don’t pull down trees, or drive off predetermined trail routes.  At every opportunity we collect trash and litter.

As a Tread Lightly! member we strive to promote responsible off-road trail usage.  We hope everyone who joins our events will consider becoming a Tread Trainer to help spread the word!  For more information about becoming a Trainer, click HERE. 

 

Tread Lightly!: What We Do Infographic

Muddy Chef Challenge / Pre-Running the Madava Trail

The Muddy Chef (www.muddychef.com) staff and a select few volunteers recently visited Crown Maple/Madava Estate. We spent the day pre-running the trails and moving a log or two.  Lunch was served in the parking lot and everyone had a great time.  Video provided by Brad Andrews.

 

 

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PROFILE / Max Simmons

THE LAND ROVER MUDDY CHEF CHALLENGE

This week we interview attorney, new father, style icon and sunroof-less Discovery owner Max Simmons.

Proust/Solihull Questionnaire


 

1. If Land Rover made an aircraft would you fly in it? Why/Why Not?

 

I’d always trust a Land Rover to get me to the remotest location. I’d want an aircraft carrier there waiting for me in the event that it assumed the British position when I went to start it the next morning.

 

2. Tell us a little about your background, your career and where you live.

 

Blue-eyed blond welfare baby born to a teen single-mother in small-town central Illinois. After working my way through college (and I do mean working — ask me sometime about some of those jobs!) I spent nearly a decade working for non-profits and politicians in Wisconsin till opting for law-school. I now live in New Haven with my perfect wife, Abigail, and our perfect children, Emma-Marguerite and Francesco. My eyes are still blue but the hair is gray.

 

3. How many Land Rovers have you owned and which was your favorite?

 

My ’97 Discovery is my first. It’s perfect for me. Stepped roof, alpine windows, and super-robust frame and drivetrain echo the original safari-mobiles while the ABS, airbags, A/C and side-impact beams update it just enough (my friends say it’s perfect for me because it’s a little bit redneck and a little bit elitist). After a long region-wide search (I wanted one without sunroofs) I found it hibernating mostly rust-free in an East Haven garage. The owner bought it as a project that he never got around to starting.

 

4. What’s the best thing about owning a Land Rover?

 

Two things: (1) Seeing it waiting for me in the parking lot: It promises adventure and escape, even if only once in a while, and (2) the friendship with my mechanic.


5. What’s the worst thing about owning a Land Rover?

 

The friendship with my mechanic.

 

6. Been on an adventure? – tell us about it

 

Besides the Muddy Chef? So far the adventures have been the steep learning curve in roadside repairs using bubblegum and duct tape.

 

7. How do you plan to beat the competition this year at the Muddy Chef Challenge?

Lock Eric Archer and Chris Copeland in the basement till August 3rd.


 


8. If you could ask Land Rover for a particular type of vehicle what would it be?

 

An updated NAS Defender 110 (or a 130!). I’m a family guy, and I’d love to have a suitably sized Rover for hauling the whole herd into some more remote locations.

 

9.    What upgrades/modifications does your Land Rover have?

TrueTrac diffs, front diff guard, JATE rings, and . . . new headliner!


 


10. If you were on safari what three people (living or dead) would you pick to bring along?

I probably should say Selous, Stanley and Schweitzer, but more likely I’d prefer Groucho Marx, Julia Child and Ansel Adams.



WINNING! / CHECK YOUR MAILBOX!

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If you have registered for the Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge be sure to check your mailbox this week for a surprise!  What better way to get psyched for the event than with a surprise.  We are working on adding additional challenges to the event.  These might include equestrian, water, mud (lots and lots of mud) and field engineering.

NEW EVENT LOCATION AND ADDITIONAL DAY!

 

The seven wonders of the world - Muddy Chef Style

The seven wonders of the world – Muddy Chef Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO: Seven Wonders of The World

What is the 8th Wonder of The World?

THE NEW SITE LOCATION OF THE MUDDY CHEF CHALLENGE.

IT’S SO BIG WE ADDED ANOTHER DAY TO THE EVENT.  NOW – JULY 31, AUGUST 1,2,3 2014.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR UPDATES – COMING SOON!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO – Muddy Chef 1 Awards Ceremony

 

Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge

Fred at The Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge

 

Video Credit: Calef @ RoversNorth

 

 

 

More from 2008 Muddy Chef Challenge

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Default The Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge – June 6,7,8 2008 – Stowe, VT

Join MuddyOval for a weekend!

Hosted by The Mountain Road Resort in Stowe, Vermont. We’ll be meeting for a weekend of Rovers, food, entertainment and trail runs Friday June 6th through Sunday the 8th.

 

All participants are encouraged to bring their “A” game when it comes to camp cooking. Using only equipment you brought in your Rover, let’s see if you can put together a culinary treat. Whether your specialty is simple meat on a stick or something exotic, bring it on and compete for the title of Birmabright Chef.

 

A private screening of several episodes of the upcoming TV Series ODYSSEY, where you’ll see a devoted group drive literally around the world in Land Rover Discovery II’s. Also a short documentary of the original first year MuddyOval North Maine Expedition will be premiered. 
Local “secret” trails will be available to test your skill and certified Land Rover driving instructors will be on hand to help you fine tune your skills at NO extra charge!

 

If any of your party do not desire to spend some time on the trails, we will have a vehicle available for groups to head to the shopping district in Stowe.

 

DAP will be represented with specials on all kinds of Land Rover goodies, door prizes and free gifts! Order ahead for delivery at the event and get a special discount- a great chance to get some recovery gear!
The Mountain Road Resort is offering a special rate for this weekend, although you absolutely need to book as soon as possible. This is a small luxury resort and space is limited! Check out their web site for details about the indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs and other amenities.

 

The Mountain Road Resort Reservation Hotline is open to book this event. The rate is $99.00 per night (not including tax). That includes continental breakfast, resort fees, welcome reception – wine and cheese – or beer if you are so inclined.

 

The reservation phone number is 800.367.6873 The reservation discount code is “MUDDY OVAL”.


Please feel free to check out the threads on the forum where this trip is being discussed. If you have any questions at all, please emailand we’ll get them answered. 

This is a kid friendly family event. 

If you wish to attend, but not stay at the resort- please call the reservation line and let them know you will attend and what your plans are. Small fees may apply for those who are not staying at the resort for the use of the resort provided amenities.

 

 

 

 

Land Rover Muddy Chef Challenge 2013

 

The 2013 Muddy Chef Challenge

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PREMIER SPONSOR / GSPS

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