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Bay Weekly Spotlight on Business: Rogue Pierogies

In creating her business, Krista ­Sermon broke more than one ­tradition

Krista Sermon’s desire to cook simmered all through law school and beyond. She wanted to further her culinary skills, but she felt pressured to practice law. So for three years she kept at it, working one year in debt collection, a second in family law and a third in social services in Baltimore.
    During her first pregnancy, she decided to listen to her heart.
    “I saw that life was short and that I should spend mine in a way that I enjoyed, not just watching the clock,” Sermon said.
    She tried working in a restaurant, but that was not her solution. When everyone else was at home with their families, she was at work. Especially on holidays.
    With one baby in diapers and the second on the way, she faced a second career decision. Staring into the frozen food cases in a grocery, Sermon had an epiphany: Somebody has to make all of this stuff!

Dissatisfied practicing law, Krista Sermon followed her heart, adapting her grandmother’s recipe for pierogies into a business of her own. Her pierogies have been so popular that she moved the operation to a new and bigger facility in Annapolis.

    With her love of cooking, she could do it, too — and better.
    She had learned to make pierogies from her Pennsylvania grandmother, as that grandmother had learned from her mother. Pierogies are an Eastern European dumpling, a small pocket of dough stuffed with potatoes, cheese and onions.
    A modern woman, Sermon challenged tradition to create Rogue ­Pierogies.
    Sermon’s Gandolfini pierogi adds tomatoes to the dough, giving it a red color. The filling is roasted red pepper, mozzarella, sausage, basil, and garlic. Another innovation, spinach and feta, proves that people will eat green food if it tastes good: It’s a best-seller. Closer to tradition — and perfect for Sunday afternoons watching football — is sharp cheddar, bacon and potato.
    Family and friends love her variations, but some traditionalists have likened her rogue-ness to a revolt and shamed her for going against custom. But, she says, even they are won over on tasting to the new wave of pierogies.
    Her pierogies have also satisfied governors of both parties. Invited to the 2014 Annual Governors Buy Local Challenge Cook-Off showcasing original recipes using Maryland products, she created a creamy crabmeat pierogi to present to Gov. Martin O’Malley and his guests. Invited again in 2015, she created a three-meat pierogi, (pork, beef and lamb) on a chickpea salad for Gov. Larry Hogan.
    Sermon did not compete in the 2016 cook-off as she was finishing her commercial kitchen space and training new staff. This enormous year-long project was a huge step. Her pierogies are now created by many hands at the new space at 1825 George Avenue, off Chinquapin Round Road in Annapolis.
    You’ll find innovation but no artificial ingredients in Sermon’s pieogies. All ingredients are fresh and purchased locally, most from local farms.
    As she uses the fresh and local perspective in making and marketing her product, she sells at five farmers markets around Maryland, including the Sunday Anne Arundel County Farmers Market on Truman Parkway at Riva Road, open all year long. Rogue Pierogies are also in the freezer case at both Annapolis Graul’s Markets. Find the weekly market menu — including Gandolfinis and Kaczenskys — online.
    Upcoming plans include transforming soup and dumpling recipes such as Vietnamese Pho Soup (changing the spelling to Phaux), using a thin noodle, brisket, jalapeno, cilantro and bean sprout.
    She looks forward to catering and to setting up concession stands at more high-profile events, as she did in August at the Kegs and Corks Beer and Wine Festival at the Anne Arundel County Fairground.
    Rogue Pierogies is an adventure made with love. You’ll taste it in Krista Sermon’s pierogies.;