Margie Roman loves to cook.

She’s been at it professionally now for going on three years at Chelsea Place Assisted Living in Charlotte Harbor. One day she may be cooking breakfast and lunch for the residents; another, she puts dinner on the table for them.

“She gives her all to our residents,” said Samantha Reyes, the facility’s executive director. “They all love when Margie cooks for them.”

Others will have an opportunity to see and taste what Roman conjures up for the residents during the first Charlotte Senior Living Top Chefs, a fundraiser for the Friendship Centers’ senior dining program in Charlotte County. The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center in Punta Gorda.

Roman became one of several chefs at senior facilities to volunteer their time when she was approached by owner Kris Chana.

“At first, I was kind of scared about it,” she said. “But then I said to him. ‘This sounds like fun. Let’s do it.’”

Here’s how the competition works: Chefs from Charlotte County assisted living communities will prepare and serve their signature dishes in three categories: cold appetizers, hot appetizers and desserts. Their entries will be juried by celebrity judges Sue Randall of Village Fish Market and La Fiorentina, Keith Farlow of Farlow’s on the Water in Englewood, and Jason Osborne of Charlotte Technical Center.

Participants will get to sample all the entries and vote for a People’s Choice Award winner.

“A similar event was conducted in Sarasota County a couple years ago,” said Kathy Silverberg, event organizer and a former board member of Friendship Centers. “It was very successful. We thought it would be a good thing for Charlotte County.”

Friendship Centers offers several programs for seniors in a five-county service area that includes Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto. The nonprofit provides meals at dining sites and delvers to home-bound seniors. The Friendship Center of Charlotte County is on Voyageur Drive in Harbour Heights.

Roman, a former 911 dispatcher for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, is entering the dessert competition with her tropical banana pudding. It’s a recipe passed down from her late step-mother.

“I’ve added some pineapple and coconut,” Roman said. “It’s really pretty good.”

Amie Conti, senior resource specialist for Chelsea Place Senior Care — which includes Chelsea Place Adult Day Care in Port Charlotte — called the fundraiser a wonderful event.

“We’re grateful we’re able to support our community,” she said. “We’re delighted to have Margie share her talent.”

Tickets are $25 and cash bar will be available. To purchase tickets, call 941-566-3205. For more information, call 941-586-7164.




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