Brooke Siem is a "categorically homeless" speaker, writer, and chef. After graduating from Middlebury College in 2008 and The Institute of Culinary Education in 2009, Brooke spent a eight years in the New York City food and wine industry before an opportunity to travel around the world for a year fell into her lap. Despite a career that included honors such as being named one of Zagat's 30 Under 30, becoming a Food Network "Chopped" champion, and of course, co-founding Prohibition Bakery and authoring the book of the same name, Brooke's "successful" Manhattan life also fueled a lifelong battle with depression. Prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs at 15 years old after her father's sudden death, the opportunity for a life abroad sparked the realization that she had been heavily medicated for half of her life. She decided to make a massive change.
First, she booked a one way ticket to Malaysia.
Then, she got off all the prescription drugs.
Two years and 17 countries later, Brooke's primary focus is on advocating for mental health and wellness without the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Though she believes that these sorts of drugs can have their place on the road to healing, her own experience has taught her that these medications are often poorly monitored by doctors, prescribed without thought of the long term consequences, and prioritize the notion of "existing" versus thriving. Brooke's goal is to show that it is possible to live a joyful, centered life without the use of antidepressants, no matter how far down the rabbit hole we once were.
As of May of 2017, Brooke sold her half of Prohibition Bakery in order to continue working and writing remotely. She is currently working on her second book, a memoir, and is currently based in Vancouver, BC. She is always looking for creative collaboration and speaking opportunities, so if you think that her brand of quirk is a good fit for your professional endeavors, please reach out. You can also say hi on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Though most of Brooke's recent press has centered around her focus on mental health and living a life free of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs (check out her latest feature on Life-Changing Resolutions by ravishly.com.) She has been featured across a wide variety of mediums including Food Network, Travel Channel, Tasting Table, and The Institute of Culinary Education.
Featured speaker: The Legacy of you
"Chopped" Champion, Season 32 Ep. 6
Brooke gave up on the notion of a traditional career years ago, and instead focuses her energy on anything that allows her to create. Whether speaking and writing about mental health, developing recipes, or working both behind and in front of a camera, as long as she's using creative energy, she's happy. But getting money to eat food and buy things is a nice perk, too.
Though Brooke's primary writing focus is on her second book, her writing can be found across a variety of platforms including food and travel writing through Tasting Table, musings on life and life-hacks through On Your Terms, fitness-focused pieces on BarBend.com, and the occasional viral post on Medium.com.
With a degree from the Institute of Culinary education and a resume that includes tenures at Bar Boulud, WD~50, Bedell Cellars, and six years as the co-owner of Prohibition Bakery, Brooke now freelances as a guest chef for corporations like Thermador and develops recipes for individual clients.
Brooke has used photography not only as a way to enhance her professional career, but to create ongoing personal projects that capture a specific sense of place and movement. Her latest series, Jump, pushes Brooke's creative and physical limits to integrate her body into landscapes around the world.