Notre Dame Food Service Religious Houses Culinary Battle

Author: Lisa Wenzel


Early this fall Notre Dame’s Religious House Chefs squared off in a culinary battle.  The four houses, Moreau Seminary, Corby Hall, Fatima, and Holy Cross House, sent in their Chef Managers to create their best.  Each team was led by their Chef Manager: Moreau Seminary by Ralph Pieniazkiewicz, Corby Hall by Alan Seidler, Fatima by Phillip Wenzel, and Holy Cross House by Jackie Ridges. 

Like many culinary competitions, each team was given a market basket with identical items.  The teams utilized some of each ingredient in the market basket such as mussels, chicken, and pears to create their dishes along with a pantry of available items.  Another major challenge in the competition was the time window.  Each team had a four hour window to create their meals from concept to completion. 

These teams were judged by American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Chefs based on taste, presentation, appearance, and culinary fundamentals.  These criteria were based on ACF competition guidelines.  The judges included Chef Donald Miller, CEC, AAC, CCE, Chef Giuseppe Macerata, CEC, Chef Laura Strunk, CEC, and Chef Greg Larson, CEC. 

While the rivalry between houses was intense among residents, staff, and the competitors, teamwork was the result.  Each competitive team grew to work as a unit.  All the houses were united to create this battle and evolved into a better team as a result. 

The competition was hosted at Moreau Seminary. 


In the end, our champions reigned from Holy Cross House, Jackie Coleman and Bradley Crise, creating this winning menu:

Fishermen Soup
seared Trout and Mussels with Collard Greens in smoky Fish Broth

Apple Fennel Chicken
roasted Chicken served over Ricotta Polenta with a side of Apple Fennel Slaw and braised thigh Phyllo purse

Finished with the judges favorite
Poppyseed Pear Cake
Poppyseed Pound Cake with Pears and Brandy Caramel Sauce

Look for this success to expand on campus.