Competition is Heating Up for House of Hope’s 2023 Top Chef Event

Posted on April 17, 2023

STUART, Fla. – Defending champ Katie Ertz, the Top Chef of 2022, returns to the House of Hope Top Chef competition on May 8 to take on five new challengers for the coveted title of Top Chef of 2023.

The District Table & Bar in Stuart is once again hosting the competition, turning over their food preparation facilities and restaurant seating for the evening to support the mission of House of Hope.

Jessica Bohner, Paula Hundt, Kelly Johnson, JD Lewis IV, and Jeanne Schmelzenbach will join Katie Ertz at the District as they test their culinary talents against this year’s challenge: in just 45 minutes, transform ingredients from a surprise pantry of items commonly found in House of Hope’s Client Choice pantries and nutrition gardens into a dish that will wow the judges.

“This is a really fun and lively event,” said House of Hope Chief Executive Officer Rob Ranieri. “Our volunteer chefs, none of whom are actually professional chefs, always surprise and impress us with the dishes they prepare.”

The event also has a serious side. House of Hope is seeing an ever-increasing number of Martin County residents who are food insecure and need the services of the organization to feed their families. Funds raised from this fun, food event will go directly to feeding hungry neighbors.

A panel of volunteer judges, made up of local notables and professional chefs, will critique the cuisine presented to them. They will award prizes to the Top Dish and to the Top Fundraiser, with the Overall designation of Top Chef going to the chef who excels in a combination of both categories.

New this year is the chance for guests to purchase a raffle ticket and win the opportunity to sample a dish or two as the chefs are preparing their prize-winning entries.

The event begins at 7 p.m. at the District and promises, as always, to be a sold-out event. Sponsors to date include Andy & Lorraine Popky, R.V. Johnson Insurance/Auto Owners Insurance, Stifel Investment Services, Culver’s of Stuart and Jensen, Byers Auto Group, HBKS Wealth Advisors, Russell & Dianne Weller, Lotus Loft, Deborah Lovequist, Diane Warren, and the Wong Family Foundation.

There are still sponsorship opportunities available, and each chef is still busily raising funds. To support a favorite chef or sponsor the event, contact House of Hope at or (772) 286-4673 ext. 1031.