June 6, 2016, Adrian, Michigan – Does the thought of a newly created dish, a Spicy Chicken Breast with Pumpkin Seeds and Vegetable Medley, make you want to head immediately for your kitchen or a restaurant to sample this dish?
Well, it will take Chef Maureen (Moe) Brooker and her supervisor, Susan Kremski, even further – to Washington, DC. They will be attending Foodservice Forum at an annual conference sponsored by Premier Purchasing and scheduled for June 21-24, 2016. Even more important, they will attend the Culinary Creation Dinner, during which the entrees of the top four finalists will be prepared and served by hotel chefs and judged by other food service participants of the conference – such as chefs, dietitians, and food service directors. The winner receives the Culinary Cup.
“This is a real honor,” Susan said. “We’re really proud of her.”
Susan explained that the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse campus purchases much of their goods through Premier Purchasing, which serves businesses in a number of fields. Premier’s food service clients include universities, elementary and high schools, health care systems, and prisons.
This is the second year that Chef Moe has entered the Culinary Creation Contest. Laster year, the contest focused on desserts, and her entry came in eighth place.
To enter this year’s competition, chefs had to follow very specific requirements, Maureen said. “One portion, including one side, should have no more than 500 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 1,600 grams of sodium,” as well as be original and creative. She calculated that one portion of her dish carries 354 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 580 grams of sodium.
Maureen said that her creation is similar to what she serves her family sometimes. “I just tweaked it to fit into the parameters.” Some of the ingredients – Brussel sprouts and pumpkin seeds – are popular these days, and even trendy. Most important, Maureen said, her daughter likes this dish. “It can’t be that bad if a 14-year-old eats it!”
Maureen came to the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus with a great deal of experience. After graduating from Culinary school in 1991, Maureen said, she worked for seven years at Oakwood Common, a senior community in Dearborn, Michigan. She worked her way up from pastry chef to executive chef. Her career has also included serving as chef at Host Marriott and, for 11 years, as a chef at St. George Village Retirement Community, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Atlanta. “I’ve had my own restaurant,” she said. “I’ve had my own catering business. I’ve worked for bars and grills. I’ve had a litany of different places I’ve worked, and I enjoy it.”
Feature photo: Susan Kremski (left), Director of the Food Services Department, and Chef Maureen Brooker in the Motherhouse kitchen.