Adrian Dominicans – Motherhouse Chef Maureen Brooker Wins Culinary Creation Contest

Susan Kremski (left), Director of the Food Services Department, and Chef Maureen Brooker pose in the Motherhouse kitchen.
Susan Kremski (left), Director of the Food Services Department, and Chef Maureen Brooker pose in the Motherhouse kitchen.

June 27, 2016, Washington, DC – Chef Maureen (Moe) Brooker, chef of the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse, took first place in the Culinary Creation Contest for her creation, Spicy Chicken Breast with Pumpkin Seeds and Vegetable Medley. Her award-winning entrée earned her the Culinary Cup.

Maureen’s dish was voted Number One by 450 of her peers at a special dinner, during which the entrees created by four finalists in the competition were prepared by the hotel chefs. The dinner took place in the midst of the Foodservice Forum – part of an annual conference sponsored by Premier Purchasing and held June 21-24, 2016, in Washington, DC. Maureen and her supervisor, Susan Kremski, attended the conference.

“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. Last 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.”