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.