Moussaka Takes First Place In MGM Meeting Planner Recipe Showdown

MGM Grand Meeting Planner Recipe Showdown, meetings, corporate event planning
From left: Winner Melissa Moskal; Rushion McDonald of the Steve Harvey Show; runners up Lynn Kennedy and Susan Lane

Melissa Moskal turned a moussaka recipe she was given 20 years ago by an old friend into an award winner Monday, when she took first place in the first-ever MGM Meeting Planner Recipe Showdown. The ingredient that might have taken her to the top was the eggplant, which she used to replace the zucchini in the original recipe.

Moskal, CMP, CMM who is communications and creative manager at Prime in Vancouver, was one of 12 planners chosen to compete in the Showdown after winning cooking competitions held across the country in August and September. The event, held at MGM Grand Arena, was conceived by MGM to be a showcase for its clients’ favorite family recipes.

Moskal heard about it from an e-mail from her sales rep. “The first question I asked was how long would I have to prepare the dish, and they told me 50 minutes. That narrowed my choice down from two other recipes I had been thinking of.”

After winning in Vancouver, she was invited to Las Vegas, where, coincidentally, she had planned a vacation with friends the same week. “So I just extended it,” she says.

The 12 chefs prepared their dishes in the MGM kitchens with the help of a dozen chefs. Superstar chefs Julian Serrano, whose restaurant bearing his name is located at ARIA; Royden Ellamar, executive chef at Sensi at Bellagio; and Sean DiCicco, MGM vice president of food and beverage, were the judges. Susan Lane of Susan Lane Events in Boston won second runner up for her Asian tuna, and independent meeting planner Lynn Kennedy of San Francisco was named first runner up for her “Birthday Chicken.” A digital cookbook with all the recipes from participating meeting planners will be available soon.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.