Brookfield Chef Takes Home One of Connecticut’s Top Culinary Awards

The Village at Brookfield Common’s Gourmet Dining Program Recognized with Connecticut Assisted Living Association (CALA) Chef Challenge Win

Chef preparing food

The Village at Brookfield Common’s chef Tom Sharkis has proven what residents of Brookfield Common have known for years: outstanding dining is always on the menu at the Brookfield assisted living and Mind & Memory Care community. Last week, Sharkis took home one of Connecticut’s top culinary awards for the senior living industry, the Connecticut Assisted Living Association’s (CALA) Chef Challenge Seafood award, beating out chefs from other senior living communities throughout the state.

Sharkis’ winning dish took the judges on a trip to the Middle East with Za’atar Crusted Arctic Char with Saffron Couscous, Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower and Sumac Yogurt.

“Most people don’t think of assisted living communities as being a thriving culinary scene, but our dining experiences at Brookfield Common rival top restaurants,” said Sharkis, who lives in Danbury. “We get to know what types of cuisine and ingredients our residents like and design our menus around that. Our residents are used to having the very best and always like trying new things, so that’s what we aim to give them. It’s a lot of fun!”

It’s no surprise that Sharkis strives for excellence. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and launched his culinary career at several private Fairfield County clubs. At the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, he focused on fine dining and special events like weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

“Tom has incredible energy and commitment to bringing diversity to our residents’ palates,” said Joanne Elser, executive director of Brookfield Common. “He brings so much creativity to our dining program, which our residents love.”

At Brookfield Common, Sharkis also leads a monthly Adventurous Eaters cooking demonstration where residents can see and taste unique ingredients and international cuisines.

Each day, residents enjoy homemade meals conceived by Sharkis that are served restaurant-style either in their formal dining room or more casual bistro. Fresh mussels marinara with garlic bread followed by homemade red velvet cake for dessert, Latin pork pita, bananas Foster and even sushi are favorites among residents.

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About Benchmark Senior Living
Benchmark is New England’s largest senior living provider with 63 independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care communities and over 5,000 dedicated associates providing compassionate care and outstanding experiences throughout the Northeast. The Waltham, Mass.-based company was founded over 25 years ago by Tom Grape with the purpose of Transforming Lives Through Human Connection. Since then, Benchmark has continued to set the industry standard, having won over a hundred local, regional and national awards for its care, programs and as a top workplace. Benchmark has been named one of the Top Places to Work for 14 straight years in The Boston Globe’s annual employee-based survey and received repeated recognition in FORTUNE’s Best Workplaces for Aging Services list. For more information, visit

The Village at Brookfield Common