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31 Flavors

NACE Cork the Fork event features a culinary throwdown between the Magnolia's Rocky Rocha and Attitude on Food's Nathan Newhouse

Magnolia Hotel's Rocky Rocha celebrates his vittles victory as Attitudes on Food's Nathan Newhouse looks on.

Magnolia Hotel's Rocky Rocha celebrates his vittles victory as Attitudes on Food's Nathan Newhouse looks on.

Magnolia Hotel chef Rocky Rocha took home the Golden Fork Award at the June 14th Cork the Fork event.


The National Association of Catering Executives fundraiser supports the organization’s continuing education scholarships in culinary and hospitality studies at UNL and the Metro Community College Culinary Arts Institute. NACE is the oldest and largest professional society that addresses all aspects of the catering industry.


A tablescape competition also brought Golden Forks to a pair of local  services providers. United Rental took home the judge’s trophy awarded by Tweed Couch’s Dianne Flynn and Julia Russell of Julia Russell Designs. Florals Etcetera earned its honor by garnering the most fan votes among attendees.


Fountains Ballroom, Millard Plaza Ballroom and Embassy Suites La Vista also participated in the tablescapes competition.


KFAB’s Scott Voorhees and Upstream Brewery’s Carrie Dayton acted as emcees at the event chaired by Florals Etcetera’s Tracy Diehl, president of the Greater Omaha NACE chapter. Greg Casella, president of the national organization, visited from San Jose, California to speak at the Embassy Suites La Vista event that was co-sponsored by metroMAGAZINE.


Rocha went head-to-head against Attitude on Food’s Nathan Newhouse in a raucous three-course throwdown judged by Omaha Steaks’ Karl Marsh, Catering Creations’ Jeff Snow and Embassy Suites & Courtyard La Vista’s Stephanie Grade.


“This is a helluva nice early birthday present,” Rocha said in celebrating his second title in a row. “It was tough going up against Nathan because he’s a great chef.”


I managed to lose track of how many ingredients the chefs were allowed to dice, puree or sauté, but it’s a good bet that the judges found as many flavors in Rocha’s dishes as the number of candles that would soon adorn his birthday cake.


Rocky Rocha turned 31 the next day.


Savvy readers already know that metroMAGAZINE has a knack for finding the most interesting rooms in Omaha. Who knows where we'll pop up next? Visit often here at SpiritofOmaha.com to tag along.

 To view more photos from this event, click here.



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