PrimeWOMAN Winter 2007 - features Asbury Park's Market in the Middle owner Marilyn Schlossbach

PrimeWoman celebrates today’s woman by offering a fresh approach to the current local media, appealing to the upscale wants, tastes, and needs of every woman. Fashion, home décor, travel and more, we entertain the empowered woman.
Dec. 9, 2007 - PRLog -- ]An Urban Ocean Treasure        By Fran Goldenberg
    Children learn what they live. So it is not surprising that Marilyn Schlossbach took more than the love of the beach from her less than traditional childhood growing up in Belmar. She is determined, hard working, and compassionate. Her parents set the example. They were supportive, encouraging, and exceptionally open minded, in a home with an open door policy as well, always feeding and entertaining people without places to go or stay.
       “My mother was a model when she was younger, and my father was an avid race track enthusiast,” explains Marilyn. “They did not live a glamorous life, but were out in the public eye which made for a sort of Hollywood-esque surrounding my family.” Her father, who was 65 when she was born and her mother in her forties, both had a strong work ethic. Not wealthy by any means, working together in a local real estate business, they liked to entertain and always had big backyard parties with fire pits, clambakes, and lobster. Their illnesses when Marilyn was quite young had a tremendous impact on her life, causing her to mature quickly through her teens. It seems a natural progression of her upbringing for her to be working at the core of a challenging urban area, providing much more than fine meals at Market in the Middle.  
         “When my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1983, it in effect brought a lot of goodness into all of our lives. That’s when we all became very influenced by food and its healing properties.” The journey began with a small cash investment from her Mom, to take a healthy approach to battle the illness. Marilyn and her brother Richard opened Oshin, a French Japanese restaurant in Avon, aimed at healing her mother through macrobiotics. Oshin, ahead of its time in blending French and Asian cooking, offered theme nights such as macro-Mondays and within 3 months, her Mom’s cancer was in remission. Marilyn and the Schlossbach family in bold pioneering style set the standard rather than following it.
   Stepping up to the plate to fill in for her brother, Marilyn went from server to chef at Oshin and the rest is culinary history. “That’s when I found my talent, it was nothing I planned,” says Marilyn. She had her real estate license before her driver’s license, was going to school in New York for marketing, and had always wanted to be a veterinarian. However, her first kitchen experiences drew her in. “My mother had always told me - be educated, work hard and be kind, and everything else will find its place,” explains Marilyn.
    Lucky for Asbury Park, Marilyn has found her place. She has been the creative force behind many culinary ventures over the past 20 years such as Café LaPlaya in Mantoloking and Rosalie’s Kitchen in Bay Head. Today with  her husband, Scott, they run Labrador Lounge, vacation cuisine, and Pop’s Garage, authentic Mexican food, both in Normandy Beach, in addition to Market in the Middle. Marilyn, the self-taught chef and businesswoman, has had a remarkable impact on every partnership she enters, not solely because of her gastronomic finesse but her philosophy of life.
      “You don’t get anything for free in life as far as money or value, you need to prove yourself,” Marilyn explains. Her father in his real estate world, would extend mortgages to people otherwise unqualified, but there were no handouts. Mortgage repayments might have come in the form of mowing lawns or doing yard work, but every debt was repaid and everyone was treated with dignity and respect. “It was a lot of pressure as a child but as I’ve grown up I see these are wonderful qualities in me that I got from my parents.”
    Another person of great influence on Marilyn is celebrity Thai chef, Tommy Tang, considered the "GODFATHER" of the immensely popular Thai cuisine. She has known Tommy for thirty years and describes him as very passionate about, food, life, the environment, and helping people. “I’ve traveled with him and he has opened my mind to how much you can do all over the world if you reach out and help people,” explains Marilyn. She has appeared with Tommy on his newest Public Television series Let’s Get Cooking, a travel/cooking series of 30 minute programs aired on over 100 local PBS channels.  
   In her endless efforts to make the world a more enjoyable place, Marilyn is actively involved in community work such as Clean Ocean Action, The Food Bank,  Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, board meetings, recognizing her ability to turn people on  to their ability to make a difference. When she interviews potential employees, she looks for their commitment to the world to be consistent with her own. People who do not prescribe to her philosophies in life tend to weed themselves out, there is little fulfillment for them at Market in the Middle.
     “Its real grassroots but we have the ability to turn people on to a lot of things. Whether it is a staff member learning to recycle or clean a beach, or a customer connecting with something in the world that can help them. It is a way for me
to make a difference.” Everything Marilyn does is about making a difference, not merely giving back.
    Working with an organization called Feeding Frendz, raising money for pediatric aids awareness, Market in the Middle offered several soup kitchen events this past year, for anyone needing support and community around the holidays. The Market opened to give people more than a meal. “We provide a full restaurant experience, the opportunity to enjoy the holiday with others, without having to be in some basement feeling inadequate and sad,” says Marilyn. People come, make friends, and take away the gift of kindness that Marilyn has shared.  
      During one soup kitchen event there was an art show called Tips for Life, exhibiting the restaurant photographs of Alison Berman. The Market attempted to deliver meals to a nearby needy family, finding in their place a different but equally needy family, with little furniture or food. Deciding to bring some more food for them for the week and dessert, they returned to the residence and a little girl answered the door. “Mommy the angels are here - they brought us dessert.” Since Market in the Middle opened, the angels have been at work in Asbury Park.            
    This was Marilyn’s inspiration to start a perpetual For Life series – arranging artists with community projects and charities on a monthly basis to inspire people. Each month she pairs a charity with an art form, inviting the local Asbury Park community to join in the special events, such as Light For Life: The Art of Remembrance, a commemorative candle lighting ceremony affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Market in the Middle will again be hosting holiday dinners, helping others feel the warmth of the holidays.


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About PrimeWOMAN -       PrimeWoman celebrates today’s woman by offering a fresh approach to the current local media,  appealing to the upscale wants, tastes, and needs of every woman. Our mission is to enlighten, encourage, and entertain with local features relevant to today’s discerning women. From women’s health issues, saving the environment and volunteerism to fashion, home décor, and travel, PrimeWoman entertains the empowered woman.

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