Martin County Top Chef Cooks Up Success for House of Hope

Posted on April 15, 2024

STUART, Fla. – Over blazing stoves, with a roomful of people watching their every move, five Martin County residents turned into professional chefs for an evening to compete in House of Hope’s Top Chef competition for 2024.


Jennifer Atkisson-Lovett, Sonita Farr, Wendy Kohler, Niki Norton, and Katy O'Neil all donned their aprons and created original dishes at District Table and Bar in Stuart.


This annual event is always a sell-out. This year, the 200 attendees and the Top Chef contestants  raised over $80,000 for the essential programs and transformative services for Martin County residents facing food insecurity and financial hardships.


Jennifer Atkisson-Lovett, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX of Stuart, won the overall Top Chef title with her tuna tartare, voted “Top Dish,” and her energetic fundraising. “I was honored and shocked to win Top Chef!” Jennifer said. “I had such a blast participating in the fundraising aspect leading up to the event.  Of course, meeting the other contestants and cooking with them on night of the event was just amazing!  House of Hope does so much in our community and it truly was my honor to help raise awareness of their efforts.”


Sonita Farr was honored as Top Fundraiser. Ed Ciampi, Martin County Commissioner, once again served as emcee. The judges were Taylor Mohlmann, Chef District Table & Bar; Carra Crehan, Owner/Operator of Chefs Table & Fruits and Roots; and Jessica Bohner, 2023 Top Chef & Top Dish Winner.


“The competition was really fierce this year,” House of Hope Rob Ranieri said. “We’re grateful to everyone who competed and contributed to make this a fun evening. Their efforts will have a huge impact on House of Hope and the thousands of Martin County residents that we assist throughout the year.”


House of Hope extended a special thanks to Jason Stocks, Chef and Owner of District Table and Bar and Colab Kitchen FL. He hosts this annual event year after year, closing his own operations for the evening to support House of Hope.


Sponsors for the event include District Table and Bar, Stifel Investment Services, RE/MAX of Stuart, The Hawkins Family, Treasure Coast Legal, HBKS Wealth Advisors, Molly K. O'Neil Esq., n2 Architecture + Design, Russell & Dianne Weller, Century 21 Move with Us, Crabby's Port Salerno, Deborah Lovequist, Girls Scout Troop 71734, Jim & Elaine Matts, Johnson Honda of Stuart, Justice for Kaitlyn Kohler, Manchester Insurance, Mann's Education Consulting, Stuart Financial, Treasure Coast Accounting Inc.,  and the Wong Family Foundation. These local restaurants provided delicious bits for the attendees:  Chef's Table, Colab Kitchen, District Table & Bar, Fruits & Roots, Guanabanas, Salerno Pizza, Sunset Sliders, The Grove, Tide House,  and Unique Sweets Supply.


About House of Hope

Founded in 1984, House of Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers Martin County residents to overcome hunger and hardship. House of Hope touches the lives of more than 8,000 people each month helping with basic needs such as food, clothing, furniture, financial assistance, as well as longer-term case management services that help build life skills for a more self-sufficient future. 


The organization has service centers in Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, and Jensen Beach, with thrift stores in Stuart, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown. House of Hope’s Centers for Enrichment at Golden Gate in Stuart, in Jensen Beach, and now at KinDoo Family Center in Indiantown offer free programs, technology, and workshops designed to enhance life skills, earning potential, health, and overall well-being.


House of Hope also operates the Growing Hope Farm in Palm City and several nutrition gardens that provide sustainable sources of fresh produce for clients as well as nutrition education and vocational opportunities to the community. For more information, visit or call 772-286-4673. Updates and announcements can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and X.


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